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Gamma Ray: To The Metal

Gamma Ray have some glorious releases to their name, and this new one, To The Metal, is also a very good additiion to their discography. There are the usual Gamma Ray style scintillating power/speed metal tracks and some slower heavy numbers like "Empathy" and "To The Metal", a song that could have been released by Judas Priest or Dream Evil. Those good songs are in fact fantastically good, but I am a bit puzzled by comments that the second part of this album is average. Sure, the first half is so strong, but the remainder of To The Metal is also enjoyable, and many bands would be proud to call the songs their own. A DVD is included with the special version of To The Metal, which is worth getting to see the band go into detail about this new album.

There is an absence of speed to start To The Metal, instead the very impressive and super groovy metal track "Empathy" kicks the album off. Next, the tempo climbs and European power metal fans will soon recognize the extra vocals on "All You Need To Know", as it is none other than Kai's former band mate Michael Kiske who still seems to appear on various metal albums.

To the catchy riffs of "To The Metal", this one is hard not to like, and should still make for a fun sing along for fans at live performances screaming "Hail to the metal, hail, hail heavy metal, hail". One of the best songs is "Rise", as there's a lighter Maiden style guitar/bass feel that quickly builds to become a traditional Gamma style racer. Drummer Dan Zimmermann who also wrote "Rise" puts in a very energetic performance, joined by the fiery guitars of Kai Hansen and Henjo Richter.

To The Metal wont change the world of metal, what you do get is a varied album from the band doing what they have always done so well, so all hail to Gamma Ray.

Track Listing
1. Empathy
2. All You Need to Know
3. Time to Live
4. To the Metal
5. Rise
6. Mother Angel
7. Shine Forever
8. Deadlands
9. Chasing Shadows
10. No Need to Cry

Added: March 20th 2010
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2671
Language: english

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Gamma Ray: To The Metal
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-03-20 23:01:35
My Score:

The veteran German power metal band are back with their tenth release, the aptly titled To The Metal!. I must confess this is the first Gamma Ray CD I have heard, although I have been curious about the band for quite some time. This might be a good thing as I have no preconceptions of what this album should sound like. I also admit to not listening to a lot of power metal, although I do like the genre as a whole.

From other reviews I have read it seems that this is far from the band's best offering. If this is the case, I need to hear their earlier albums as I quite like To The Metal!. For those of you who are new to the band you can expect lots of powerful guitar riffs, pounding double bass drums and big anthem-like choruses. Keyboards are also used effectively, adding that much more drama to the band's sound. What I like best about To The Metal! are the catchiness of the songs and I hear a strong resemblance to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I like how the band mixes power metal and classic heavy metal giving the album that much more variety.

It all starts with the melodic "Empathy" with its slow somber beginning leading to powerful riffs and the strong vocals of Kai Hansen. He has a versatile voice, able to reach high piercing screams but just as proficient in the lower registers. The metal amps up with "All You Need To Know" complete with a ripping guitar solo and crushing guitar riffs. Keyboards are used to good effect and the additional vocals of guest Michael Kiske of Halloween fame are a nice touch. The band continues in the heavy metal vein with the highly melodic "Time To Live" with its huge catchy chorus and tight riffs. The band's tribute to the genre is the anthemic title track that goes for a classic metal sound and just may become a live favourite. Other noteworthy tracks include the power metal of "Shine Forever" with one of the coolest bass intros I have heard in a while and the Maiden-like "Deadlands" with excellent drum work and shredding lead guitar.

The album ends with the power ballad "No Need To Cry" showcasing a pretty nice piano melody, making this a fine ending to a very good album.

For those of you already familiar with the band you probably know what to expect. If not, you might be surprised just how catchy power metal can be. Rock on Gamma Ray!

Gamma Ray: To The Metal
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-03-10 18:15:40
My Score:

For some reason, and I'm sure I'm in the minority here, I've never fully embraced the music of Gamma Ray. Their last few releases have started to win me over, but with the overabundance of power metal bands around these days, I tend to go elsewhere when I have that itch that needs scratching. That being said, their latest To the Metal is a pretty tasty metal treat, and a lot of fun to listen to. Perhaps it's the fact that To the Metal is much more varied than many of their earlier releases, and relies less on speed and more on traditional metal styles. Or, maybe the charm of Kai Hansen on crew are finally starting to work their magic on me.

Opening cut "Empathy" is a great melodic & emotional rocker, and "All You Need to Know" combines speed with melody and some symphonic elements, not to mention a guest vocal from Michael Kiske, Hanson's former bandmate in Helloween. The title track, "To the Metal", is a song that, in a perfect world, could and should be the metal anthem of the year. Quite frankly, if this song was written and recorded by Judas Priest, it would help revive their career after the embarassing Nostradamus flop. This is classic metal folks, a fist pumping anthem for the ages, with killer riffs and an effective vocal from Hansen as he does his best Halford impression.

Elsewhere, there's the progressive pieces "Rise" and "Mother Angel", the raging "Shine Forever", and the emotional "No Need to Cry", which shows a tender side to the band. There's a little bit for everybody on To the Metal, an enjoyable power metal release that thankfully leaves the cheese at home and delivers potent tunes that are well played and memorable.

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