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Gamma Ray - To The Metal

Gamma Ray
To The Metal
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 20 February 2010, 5:02 PM

There is absolutely no space for doubt that GAMMA RAY are a solid monolith in the German Metal scene having created more branches in the power Metal genre. The story is well known about Hansen’s noisy departure from HELLOWEEN but after 10 full length albums there are not that many talking about that time period. GAMMA RAY have managed to create a chapter of their own producing albums that many consider as gems in their collections. And why should they? "Land Of The Free" brought many reference to the prime HELLOWEEN works (you just have to observe the artwork) bringing GAMMA RAY on top of the Metal acts. In this rising course Kai Hansen has the lion’s share since he has been working hard evolving his vocals and hitting hard on the guitar work. So, here we are talking about the latest GAMMA RAY album with a title that some may consider cliche…

The "Land Of The Free II" release faced many raised eyebrows (including mine) due to the overwhelming references to the band’s influences. Now, this is not 100% bad; but having all these years on your back as an artist you raise the expectations for something more original. Nevertheless, the German machine returns with a new album and a brand new record deal. The title represents the musical content of the album leaving on the side the long in time duration songs keeping a more simple structure. This is not a bad thing to say and it actually represents the band’s intention to take a step backwards and dig out all the Metal foundations we all love. Take for example "To The Metal" and the striking JUDAS PRIEST groove that will join all the fans voices in the upcoming live dates. In fact this is one of GAMMA RAY strongest elements; to lift your mood up and enjoy yourself with all the sing along choruses and share the band’s on-stage energy. Almost all the songs in this album work in this direction. The fast "Rise", the heavy "Deadlands" (I love the "Ram It Down" keyboards) and of course "All You Need To Know" where the single guest appearance can bring tears to the die-hard fans. Michael Kiske lends some vocal lines during the chorus and reminds us that this great voice is consumed in AOR / Hard Rock releases. I believe I speak on behalf of the majority of the metalheads who will give an arm and a leg to watch/listen Kiske and Hansen on stage and -why not- in the context of a new album release…

As always the guitars are in the firing position highlighting GAMMA RAY bedrock in the German legendary power Metal sound where the twin MAIDEN-esque riffs joining the galloping rhythm and Kai’s high pitched and trademark voice. "No Need To Cry" is a nice surprise and an almost power ballad with clean guitar power chords that welcome distortion and the yet again to some sing-along melodies. Last but not least is "Breaking Away" where I found some underling QUEEN finishing touches mainly on the keyboards and banged my hand against the guitar solo and killer bridge making it ideal to include during a concert climax.

In conclusion "To The Metal" is an album that meets the GAMMA RAY standards set by the band itself some years ago. On the other hand, there is no killer song that could be missed on a future best-of compilation or in a live setlist some years from now. What the heck, I am sure we all gonna enjoy GAMMA RAY on stage and once again join voices with Kai!

P.S.: The vinyl edition kicks major arse…

3 Star Rating

  1. Rise
  2. Deadlands
  3. Mother Angel
  4. No Need To Cry
  5. Empathy
  6. To The Metal
  7. All You Need To Know
  8. Time To Live
  9. Shine Forever
  10. Breaking Away
Kai Hansen - Guitars, Vocals
Henjo Richter - Guitars
Dirk Schlachter - Bass
Daniel Zimmerman - Drums
Record Label: earMUSIC/Edel Germany


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Edited 04 February 2023

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