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  #1  
Old 11-01-2007, 08:02 AM
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Gamma Ray - Land of the Free II



1.Into the Storm 3:49
2.From the Ashes 5:26
3.Rising Again 0:27
4.To Mother Earth 5:11
5.Rain 5:16
6.Leaving Hell 4:20
7.Empress 6:22
8.When the World 5:44
9.Opportunity 7:14
10.The Real World 5:42
11.Hear Me Calling 4:14
12.Insurrection 11:33

I figured I should definately take the time to review this, as I've seen a great amount of interest in it on the board, so enjoy.

I'm not sure how everyone else feels, but I found Majestic to be a bit of a let down by Gamma Ray's standards and not up to the superb quality of their albums from Land of the Free through No World Order. However, this review is not about Majestic.
The first thing I noticed about this album is that it's undoubtedly a fine return to their classic form, as noticeable on many tracks such as From the Ashes, To Mother Earth, and When the World. The thing that surprised myself as well as most I've talked to is that this album actually does sound reminiscent of it's namesake, unlike what I expected: the lyrical themes of LOTF with the music of an album like Majestic. I was pleasantly surprised.
I must say, I like Into the Storm but I found the guitar work on it to be fairly dissapointing. No bombastic harmonies, no surprisingly good riffs, and the chorus isn't all that strong, but nevertheless it is indeed a solid track and a fine opener. As I mentioned, From the Ashes is very much in an older style, reminscent of songs like Man on a Mission. The interlude Rising Again is good, but pretty silly that it's seperated from it's following track, To Mother Earth, as it very easily just could've been coupled together. To Mother Earth is also a fine song, though the chorus lyric/melody made me chuckle: "She was sooo beautiful!". After that we enter what I feel is the hit or miss section of the album. "Rain" is good, but just seems like it's missing something, and the psuedo harsh vocals on the one section don't really aide my opinion on it. This track is certainly made up for with it's follower, "Leaving Hell", again a very fun song with a great and catchy chorus. "Empress" is again I feel a bit of a weak song, mainly because of the chorus, which doesn't really grab me and just sounds kind of silly. Around this point I started to lose faith in the album on my first listen, but that was about to change.
We now move onto the track "When the World", which I feel is one of the best tracks on here. The chorus to this song is very strong, it had me singing along on just the second listen, and the solos are fucking excellent. I'm not sure which solo is Kai and which is Henjo, but my hats off to both of them for these. Next up is probably the surprise of the album, "Opportunity", written by Dirk Schlachter, is the second longest and possibly second best song on the album, featuring many different changes and styles represented throughout. You'll notice a familar bass riff about half way through the song though, because it's almost verbatim Maiden's Clairvoyant bass riff. However, they take it somewhere a bit different, so I can forgive.
Speaking of ripping things off, next we have Kai's album essential, his rewritten version of I Want Out. "The Real World" is a fine song, but at time the I Want Out-isms are nearly humorous, especially the lead into the solo. However, when you've written one of the best and most original power metal songs ever written, I think I can forgive you for ripping it off... this is nothing new, need I mention "Heaven or Hell" or "Send Me a Sign". "Hear Me Calling" is another strong track, but lacks the identity of it's predecessors. It generally gets overlooked as for me, at this point I'm just waiting for the final track, "Insurrection". I figured at the 11 and a half minute time, this would either be a massive sucess or a redundant failure, and I'm very happy to say it succeeded big time. I think this may be one of the strongest tracks Gamma Ray have done to date, and any fan will be happy to hear the musical references to the classic Rebellion in Dreamland from time to time. The 11 minutes seems like nothing, as I find myself wishing that helluva chorus to continue. This song alone makes up for any of the dissapointments of the couple filler-esque tracks.
So, in summary, I am very very happy with this album, and pleasantly surprised to see a return to form in both style and quality. Speaking of quality, the production quality on this album is surprisingly good. If you're a Gamma Ray fan, you'll definately enjoy this, and hell, even if you're not, you might want to give it a shot anyway.
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Old 11-01-2007, 01:51 PM
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Where have you heard this album from? Could you explain the "pseudo-harsh vocals?" I'm looking forward to getting this album as I like Gamma Ray quite a bit.
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Old 11-01-2007, 03:04 PM
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Personally this album is a contender for my #1 spot, we'll see how it holds up in two months. We have alot of great songs on here. I'm not sure what would be the best, but Hear Me Calling was easily the worst. There were alot of solid riffs on here, and the flower-metalish sound was kept to a minimum, although some minor parts of the album did have a dragonforce feeling to them. I think in general this album rocks, the sappy overly-dramatic sections that often plauge this genre were few and far between. I personally loved Majestic, and this lives up to that, perhaps better.
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Old 11-02-2007, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fe Maiden View Post
Where have you heard this album from? Could you explain the "pseudo-harsh vocals?" I'm looking forward to getting this album as I like Gamma Ray quite a bit.
There's just this thing in Rain that's like: "POSSESSION! POSSESSED!" using like a strange vocal effect that makes it sound like it's really harsh and distorted. No, Kai's not doing screamo...


... yet.
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Old 11-02-2007, 07:24 AM
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I've only heard Into the Storm so far, and i thought it was an awsome track. If the rest of the albums keeps the same quality on the songs then it will sure be on my top-10 list of 2007, maybe even in the top-5.
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Old 11-02-2007, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Human_Metal View Post
I've only heard Into the Storm so far, and i thought it was an awsome track. If the rest of the albums keeps the same quality on the songs then it will sure be on my top-10 list of 2007, maybe even in the top-5.
Then you can consider it there already.
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Old 11-02-2007, 12:31 PM
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Thumbs up

This album is fucking fantastic. If any of you don't know, I am a huge Gamma Ray fan. I had very high expectations for this album and it met all of them. The production on the album is much better than Majestic and sounds like the great production Gamma Ray had in the past before Majestic. Kai's voice actually sounds better than it did on Majestic, which was a big concern of mine. The guitar work on the album is very good, very Gamma Ray really. Gamma Ray definitely made this sound like Land of the Free Part II, which was my biggest concern. Sometimes when bands do a part II album so far removed from the original it tends to sound more like the previous album musically but will have the lyrical content to back the part II idea. But no, Gamma Ray didn't let this become Majestic II.

Overall the album has a lot of good/great songs and then a few amazing songs. With Insurrection, Opportunity, When The World being those. Insurrection was the song I was looking forward to most, considering I heard a clip in advance and knew it was a Kai super epic. If you like Heading For Tomorrow or Rebellion In Dreamland, you'll love this. This album will definitely rank in my top 3 for 2007, if not #1.
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  #8  
Old 11-02-2007, 03:22 PM
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Fe Maiden Fe Maiden is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theclansman1114 View Post
This album is fucking fantastic. If any of you don't know, I am a huge Gamma Ray fan. I had very high expectations for this album and it met all of them. The production on the album is much better than Majestic and sounds like the great production Gamma Ray had in the past before Majestic. Kai's voice actually sounds better than it did on Majestic, which was a big concern of mine. The guitar work on the album is very good, very Gamma Ray really. Gamma Ray definitely made this sound like Land of the Free Part II, which was my biggest concern. Sometimes when bands do a part II album so far removed from the original it tends to sound more like the previous album musically but will have the lyrical content to back the part II idea. But no, Gamma Ray didn't let this become Majestic II.

Overall the album has a lot of good/great songs and then a few amazing songs. With Insurrection, Opportunity, When The World being those. Insurrection was the song I was looking forward to most, considering I heard a clip in advance and knew it was a Kai super epic. If you like Heading For Tomorrow or Rebellion In Dreamland, you'll love this. This album will definitely rank in my top 3 for 2007, if not #1.
I'm really looking forward to this one!
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  #9  
Old 11-02-2007, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by theclansman1114 View Post
If any of you don't know, I am a huge Gamma Ray fan.
Hmmm, what gave this away? Your Kai Hansen avatar? Your "Anywhere In the Galaxy" location? Your "One day you realize, it's right before your eyes" signature quote? Your "Dethrone Tyranny" user description? Or the poster of Kai Hansen you keep above your bed (not to mention the wallet sized photos and life size cardboard cut out you don't let most people know about) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by theclansman1114 View Post
Gamma Ray definitely made this sound like Land of the Free Part II, which was my biggest concern. Sometimes when bands do a part II album so far removed from the original it tends to sound more like the previous album musically but will have the lyrical content to back the part II idea. But no, Gamma Ray didn't let this become Majestic II.
Queensryche anyone?
Holy crap, you just referenced Queensryche. Even if you didn't want to you did, and now you have to live with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theclansman1114 View Post
This album will definitely rank in my top 3 for 2007, if not #1.
Don't put too much faith in this statement, he bought about 5 new releases in 2007 thus far.

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  #10  
Old 11-03-2007, 07:03 AM
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theclansman1114 theclansman1114 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maiden33 View Post
Hmmm, what gave this away? Your Kai Hansen avatar? Your "Anywhere In the Galaxy" location? Your "One day you realize, it's right before your eyes" signature quote? Your "Dethrone Tyranny" user description? Or the poster of Kai Hansen you keep above your bed (not to mention the wallet sized photos and life size cardboard cut out you don't let most people know about) ?



Queensryche anyone?
Holy crap, you just referenced Queensryche. Even if you didn't want to you did, and now you have to live with it.



Don't put too much faith in this statement, he bought about 5 new releases in 2007 thus far.

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