Ear Music/Edel [Release date 10.09.21]
In 2020, it looked like this could become the new normal. A live gig without an audience. Kai Hansen’s Gamma Ray know what it is to play live…they’ve been doing it for 30 years. It becomes a state of mind.
Last year, in the face of Pandemic restrictions, they set up on a huge stage in an empty arena – the ISS Dome in Dusseldorf. They knew their audience was out there, and that was enough. Now we and their fans worldwide can hear just what that live concert sounds like.
The massive scale and intensity of the 58 second Wagnerian opener, ‘Induction’ seems an appropriate beginning. This brief but emotional clarion call is just the opening gambit in a series of handpicked songs that aim to say something… about the human condition, about a world in turmoil, about unseen hands on the levers of power.
The titles of the songs chosen for the set are something of a clue: almost at random, ‘New World Order’, ‘Land Of The Free’, ‘Dethrone Tyranny’ are stomping, stadium-filling anthems that scream defiance in a glorious rush of amplitude, speed and complexity.
Whether it’s baroque, teutonic metal monsters like the hugely ambitious ‘Heading For Tomorrow’, or the 9 minute ‘Armageddon’ on which Hansen rediscovered a need for speed, the set has an unstoppable rolling momentum.
Original vocalist and human siren, Ralf Scheepers joins the band for ‘Lust For Life’ and ‘The Silence’, key tracks from the band’s debut.
Among the set’s highlights, and there are many, ‘Avalon’ ‘Empathy’ and ‘Master Of Confusion’ harness all that is best in symphonic and power metal, providing full on sonic engagement, testament to Hansen’s vision and his leadership of Gamma Ray over quarter of a century.
This might not be Bach, Brahms or Beethoven, but that rich, German power metal heritage that we know and love lives on. ****1/2
Review by Brian McGowan
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Power Plays w/c 27 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
REVIVAL BLACK Broken Home (TMR Records)
FLOYA Epiphany (indie)
TWISTER Own Worst Enemy (indie)
MODERN MIMES Down And Dead (Curtain Call Records)
TUNGSTEN Northern Lights (Arising Empire)
THE GREAT LESLIE Feel Alive (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 27 June (Mon-Fri)
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