• 9/10
    MASTERSTROKE - Sleep - 9/10


Dynamic Arts Records
Release date: November 28, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Finnish band Masterstroke was formed back in 2002, and after a few typical personnel changes they managed to finish recording their debut album, Apocalypse, in 2005. The band also found a record company, which was supposed to release the album worldwide. Unfortunately, the company was unable to carry out these intentions, and in the end the album was only released in Japan and Russia, making it very difficult to find. Not willing to fall victim to the industry, the band continued to play more gigs and write new songs; this time the songs contained a slight bit more aggression. The band started to prepare for a new album, even though they didn’t know who would release it and when. The pre-production began in the autumn of 2006, and in early 2007 Masterstroke sent the pre-production CD to several record companies. A couple of them were seriously interested, but the band ended up landing with Finnish record company Dynamic Arts Records. So in some aspects, Sleep is something akin to a “debut” release to a majority of the world.

Thank goodness for the band’s tenacity because Sleep is nothing short of a Melodic Heavy Power Metal gem! A lot of drumming, bass pedal thumping, buzz saw guitars, non-intrusive keyboards, a dash of melody, and vocals that have a small touch of Graham Bonnet are all qualities that characterize the music on Sleep. All ten tracks rock with only “The Circle” coming anywhere close to being a ballad. “The Circle” is a track worth mentioning in itself as the track highlights the band’s maturity in the songwriting department. The track is mid-tempo, catchy and Rauhala puts in a Dickinson-sized vocal performance. The track “Being Me” stands out for being one example of a track full of aggressive guitar, a Thrash-able rhythm, a nice keyboard lead and some balls-grabbing lead guitar work. The only downside to this release is that it’s only ten tracks in length and ends up feeling like it ends oh too soon.

Bottom line, fans of Melodic Power Metal should fall head over heels for this release, especially if you’re a fan of music like Enlighten The Darkness-era Angel Dust! Dynamic Arts Records shows several signs of having a keen ear for talent and Masterstroke is no exception. It’s probably been said already but Sleep is a pure “stroke of genius,” a masterful stroke of genius if you will, one of 2007’s Top Ten releases!

For a taste of the band watch their video for the album’s first single “Turn Away”:


Niko Rauhala -Vocals & Guitar
Janne Juutinen – Drums
Markus Kekoni – Guitar
Jussi Kulomaa – Keyboards
Marko Kolehmainen – Bass


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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