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These long running power metallers have released a series of albums during the last decade, which all I think haven't really hit the high standards that this unit set earlier with timeless and awesome efforts like No World Order! and Powerplant, to mention a few. With this new deal, Empire Of The Undead, Gamma Ray has decidedly taken a few steps back in time with the songwriting and have probably looked at better days for inspiration. It seems like they've undergone a slight rejuvenation and approached a more youthful sound, while still retaining strength.
It's a clear variety in the material presented, yet within the evident power metal vein. The direction should hardly be notable, when viewing main man Kai Hansen's past catalogue though. Furious monsters like Hellbent and faster ones such as Seven and I Will Return mix well together with the epic opener Avalon, the ballad Time For Deliverance, Pale Rider with its heaviness and with all catchy and arresting stuff that fills this release to the brim.
Two tracks were released last year on the Master Of Confusion EP. The title track from that album stands out as one of the very best here as well. It has a catchy go and funny lyrics that refer to the band's true nature. Empire Of The Undead feels like it's partially reincarnated from Hansen's period with early Helloween. Actually also in the production sonically and even the orientation of his voice has similarities that hail back to those times.
Schlächter's bass play is as usual distinct and an important factor of the band's ongoing fluent sound. It's a monumental support to the guitarist's heavy riffing and their stunning and glorious harmonies and licks. Although Hansen doesn't have metal's most outstanding vocal range, he still manage to get things going and completes the arrangements and the whole picture.
Empire Of The Undead feels like a complete reshuffle and it seems like Gamma Ray is something to reckon with again. The Germans have pulled themselves together and created their best album in several years. They seem hungry for recognition again and by that delivers what once was expected. An alignment I truly welcome and it's rather safe to say that most of the fans will agree to this matter. It's recharged and it's refueled and I really dig this blasting piece of power metal. This is an awesome outcome from a band I thought had passed its better days over a decade ago.
also review of: Heading
For Tomorrow (Anniversary Edition) , The
Best (Of) , Skeletons
& Majesties Live , To
The Metal , Land
Of The Free II , Majestic
, No World Order