Crime Records

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gamma Ray - Empire of the Undead Review

Band: Gamma Ray
Album: Empire of the Undead
Label:  earMusic
Genre: Power Metal
Country: Germany
Kai Hansen and company are back with “Empire of the Undead” and they are back with a vengeance.  After a rash of negative influences with longtime drummer Daniel Zimmerman who was replaced by Michael Ehre to their home studio and rehearsal room, Hammer Studios, being burned to the ground, something positive was going to come out of it all and it was this album, which is heavier than their last effort, “To the Metal.”
  The album starts off with Avalon, a 9:21 epic song that takes you for a majestic ancient Power Metal ride.  The song is very reminiscent to “Rebellion in Dreamland” off of the “Land of the Free” Album.  It has that same epic feel.  Hansen vocals sound clear and the guitars are heavy.  Then the album takes off from there and goes right into the pulse pounding “Hellbent” which is Power Metal to the core and packs a punch.  The entire album brings a smile to your face because Gamma Ray hasn’t sounded this good since “Land of the Free II”.  “Master of Confusion” seems like a simple song but it’s actually more complex than you think.  The song uses previously used riffs (“Send Me a Sign” off of the “Powerplant” album) as Hansen sings through what the band went through during the making of the album.
     Even though the album is excellent, there are a few down points.  Lyrically it falters on “Born to Fly” with the uninspiring chorus: “Flying high like an eagle/Touching rainbows in the sky/Flying high like an eagle in the sky/Born to fly!”  It doesn’t take away from the overall heaviness that Gamma Ray songs usually deliver.  Another weak point is “Time For Deliverance” which sounds very similar to “We are the Champions” by Queen, complete with the “Wah-ooo wah-ooo” backing vocals.  That’s all for the negative.  The rest is all positive.
     Overall, “Empire of the Undead” is a return to form for Gamma Ray.  Fans who have complained about their two previous efforts will be pleasantly surprised.  This is Power Metal at its best.
Total Overall Time: 56:46
Overall Rating: 7/10
1.  Avalon
2.  Hellbent
3.  Pale Rider
4.  Born to Fly
5.  Master of Confusion
6.  Empire of the Undead
7.  Time for Deliverance
8.  Demonseed
9.  Seven
10.  I Will Return