Sound — 10
When I heard Land Of The Free 2, it was quite possibly the best album I have ever heard. Which is saying alot, as cliche as it may sound. Amazing melody, hard and heavy riffing, soloing that is second to none and a Huge feeling of heart and soul. When creating a master piece such as this, I was intrigued to see what these guys put in front of us. I was not disappointed. This album has everything any metal fan could want, melodic genius, epic vocal lines, prominent in verses, pre choruses and choruses. Not to mention the guitar... Some of Gamma Ray's finest and well structured songs to date. For lack of a better English word... The solos are insane! I mean I've always known that Kai and Henjo are really great shredders, but I've found that they (mainly Kai) tends to focus more on writing Good solos instead of fast ones. This record has both of those qualities. Empathy: A typical Gamma Ray opener. Fast double bass, hard riffing and great vocal lines. The chorus, however is not typical GR. If you listen very closely you can hear the heavy, almost death metal like over dubs. A very good song. 5/5 All You Need To Know: Epic intro, verse is heavy and powerful as hell. The chorus, the first time I heard it, I thought to myself "Ah, what an anti climax" as it's so happy and joyful... BUT after about two or three listens to the song, it grew on me, and with Michael Kiske's voice it only adds to the whole point. 5/5 Time To Live: This is Gamma Ray at it's finest. Totally mind blowing intro, the verse is also heavy and kicks your ass, the chorus blows you away, with pure genius melodic lines. Solos are excellent and and the drumming is technical as hell. 5/5 To The Metal: A hard, "I'll kick your ass" metal anthem. The riff may be seen as a little predictable, but it sure gets the point across! Lightning solos from Kai and Henjo. 5/5 Rise: Genius intro, clean guitar into the hard distortion sound. The verse is fast and has double bass that'll make a guitarist play Air Drums... I did. Great chorus, great solos very fast and a killer track. 5/5 Mother Angel: You must be getting pissed off here, but I gotta say it... EPIC intro. Very 80's style. The song is slower and has an eerie, melancholic sound to it which is really cool. These guys know how to mix up the happy, uplifting songs with the lower sadder ones. Solo is outstanding. 4/5 Shine Forever: This is my least favorite song on the album. The verses have those Primal Fear/Priest style high screeching. Don't get me wrong, I love that kinda thing, but I don't think it's very Gamma Ray... The chorus is a little too corny for my taste. Once again, don't misunderstand me I know it's a great song, but the happy tune and the lyrics are too much. 4/5 Deadlands: Great song. Very good chorus, and even better verses. Solos are second to none. 5/5 Chasing Shaddows: Okay, solos: Amazing. The guitar work is great, and the vocals are perfect, and you hear the emotion and Kai's voice and playing. 5/5 No Need To Cry: This is the ballad of the album written by Dirk in memory of his father. If this doesn't shout emotion, I don't know what does. Very good vocals, and melodic line. 5/5 The two Japanese Bonus tracks: Great songs, but I don't think they are really part of the album. I hate unreleased tracks.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are overall very good. Some corny lines hear and there, but hey what power metal band doesn't have that every now and then. There is so much heart and soul in these lyrics, I think that Kai Hansen is one of the worlds best, and most versatile singers. Listen closely to what is happening in the vocal section of this album... The words are very well written and fit Perfectly with the music.
Overall Impression — 9
Gamma Ray Are the godfathers of power metal, and if you try to tell me otherwise you're an idiot wrapped in a morron. This is epic stuff, they deserve all the credit and success they have achieved over the years. Very few bands are as consistent as these guys. Unlike so many other bands, they've kept their style and only improved on it. Most impressive songs? I don't know, they all have unique styles and all catch a different side of emotion. What do I love about it? Everything, great music, solos, vocals, drums, bass, keyboards, over dubs, album cover is really effective as well. If it were stolen/lost? Very simple: It wouldn't.