Sound — 9
German metal band Gamma Ray is back with a brand new pure metal album to blast through the stereos of any metal fan in the world. After gaining great success with Land of the Free II, Gamma Ray comes back to the classic heavy power metal created so long ago. The band has come back stronger than ever with the album To The Metal. The music put into this creation is very admirable with catchy melodies and even catchier riffs. Every chord change was thought of with great accuracy as to what sounds the best, rather than just making a song for a song. The keyboard lines were put to great use in the song Deadlands, which then turns into a very remarkable song with head-banging drum beats that bring the listener awe-struck immediately. The keyboards also allow for a great use of melodies to be further established into the song. Enough with the catchy melodies though, and take it to songs such as Time To Live, or Shine Forever. These songs are purely riff driven with heavy distortion and fast riffs that make any guitar player want to pick up the guitar automatically. Their even appear to be softer songs in this album, these include Empathy and No Need To Cry, which both sound very ballad like.
Hansen and Richter combine their ideas perfectly yet again, like every album. They play in sync perfectly, like any other great guitar duo, but better. They even play two different riffs altogether as seen on Shine Forever, where one guitar is playing the main and lead riff, while the other is playing a more simplified version of it. This give the listener a more interesting appeal and this is why Gamma Ray has to be the catchiest, if not best Power Metal band on the scene today. Solos are extensive and perfectly executed, as seen in probably the best solo on the album, Mother Angel.
Lyrics — 8
Vocals are done to a great extent by Kai Hansen, with many different styles thrown into the album. No Need To Cry reminded me of a better Axl Rose in the song Don't Cry. Certain vocal styles remind the listener of King Diamond and his ecstatic vocal abilities. Sometimes Hansen even sounds like Stratovarius lead singer Timo Kotipelto. Lyrically all songs are beautiful with songs of regret, the angels, and overall a happier tone to the lyrics then the past couple albums. To The Metal is a song about the genre of metal, as the title of the album and song hint at.
Overall Impression — 8
Gamma Ray has been critically acclaimed around the world, and now the praise is just about to contort to higher levels than before. Every song on To The Metal is a creation that emancipates itself from any other song on the album. The flow from song to song is perfect, and the listener never gets bored of any song, no matter when or what time it is. 2010 has started with a hopeful look into the this year's metal with Gamma Ray already soaring above expectations, and straight to the metal.