» Cdreviews  
« back

Gamma Ray - Land Of The Free II

Published January 19 2008

=Staff's pick

Into The Storm*
From The Ashes
Rising Again
To Mother Earth*
Leaving Hell*
When the World*
Real World*
Hear Me Calling*
Blood Religion - Live in Montreal (Japanese Bonus Track)

Genre Power Metal
Kai Hansen
Tracks 12
Kai Hansen
Runningtime 65 Min.
Henjo Richter
Label SPV
Dirk Schlächter
Release 19 Nov. 2007
Daniel Zimmermann
Country Germany
Similar artists Iron Maiden, Helloween, Queen

Rising again from the ashes of absolute necessity, Gamma Ray return with another majestic reign. Proving again they are the Masters of The Power Metal Insurrection, Kai, Dirk, Henjo, and Danny deliver the goods with a true lust for life. When the world of cliche' make metal bands becomes absorbed in cotton candy ass repetition, Kai and his cohorts remain one with the strange world, and enforce the changes.

They decided to call this release Land Of The Free II; as the predecessor is considered by most Gamma Ray enthusiasts, myself included, their crowning achievement. Perhaps, this was a response to Helloween's - Legacy, an excellent composition, that pales in comparison to the first two Keepers! Here Gamma Ray is not so much creating the obligatory sequel, as they are personifying the essence and the spirit of the Land Of The Free theme of harmony, peace, and compassion.

Gamma Ray wear their influences on their sleeve as allusions to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Queen and early Kai written Helloween era anecdotes are quite prevalent, and heavily pronounced all throughout the CD. Kai and company even remonstrate in favour of the much honoured Thin Lizzy, as evidenced by Leaving Hell. With the epic closer Insurrection, Gamma Ray have essentially come full circle with the direction they projected on the first Land Of The Free album. These gods of deliverance have been hammering out true power metal anthems for nigh two decades, and yet they have still maintained their integrity and novel soundscape from paradise.

There are plenty of Power Metal acts over-saturating the already prolific scene. Some bands like Freedom Call, Gaia Epicus, Armory, and Olympos Mons may not be too original, but they still have such jovial and infectious melodies which put a smile an my otherwise gloomy countenance. Other bands like Cage from San Diego, or Lord (formerly Dungeon) from Australia play exceptional, traditional metal with power metal overtones. Gamma Ray manage to balance the razor blades' sigh, standing, not somewhere out in space; but right in the middle, meandering with intense riffage, melodic intonation, and mind elevating harmonies and choruses.

Consider the song Real World, my personal favourite; this very may well be the follow up to Future World, with a chorus so catchy, and yet so profound. Myself and Kai Hansen have gained heartfelt wisdom, over the many years, yet the one constant which matters is the mettle. This is exactly what Gamma Ray do, they create the alchemical romance by changing lead(s) into pure gold. This is their Blood Religion: their pact. This is the true Insanity & Genius for the Guardians of Mankind, heading for a better tomorrow.

Concerning the songs, themselves, there are no disappointments, as every track is ample opportunity for soul searching semblance. From the hammer raging opener Into The Storm, to the heavily Maidenesque From The Ashes, Gamma Ray gun with blazing glory. The power of the evocative - To Mother Earth plants the seeds which will prosper from the downpour of Rain. As one continues his rebellion in dreamland, he instantly becomes lured into the Accept dance of Empress, which like Majestic's Blood Religion, exemplifies why the restless and wild Udo has a metal heart which beats for all.

As the wings of destiny expand, the "True Gods of Metal" soar in the winds of the wistful - When The World - spins. The eagle flies free above the Maiden calling for the Priest and Queen, with a mimetic harmony. Opportunity has a little modern flavour similar to Damn The Machine from No World Order. The production element is top notch, as Dirk Schlächter's bass is so properly punctuated. There are solos a plenty, as to be expected.

This is definitely not Land Of The Free '95, just as Mindcrime II by Queensrÿche paled in comparison to the best concept album of all time. Helloween may be determined to keep re-inventing themselves as Gambling With The Devil advocated, but Gamma Ray are forever content to shine on as men on a mission in this heavy metal universe!

See also review of: Heading For Tomorrow (Anniversary Edition) , The Best (Of) , Empire Of The Undead , Skeletons & Majesties Live , To The Metal , Majestic , No World Order








8,5 chalices of 10 - Michael The MettleAngel

Related links: