When did an EP become a 'mini-album'? And when did German power metal geniuses Gamma Ray decide to weird out on us? It appears to be with the mini-album Skeletons & Majesties. This is the formidable metal sensation messing with our collective minds all in the name of fun. The music within is rather interesting but perhaps it's better for Gamma Ray to explain:
The first two tracks are the "Skeletons," featuring brand new versions of some of Gamma Ray's songs rarely (if ever) played live, including Hold Your Ground and Brothers. The second section, "Majesties," is where the band display two more new versions of rarities, Send Me A Sign and Rebellion In Dreamland, both performed in a new acoustic presentation.
Additionally, Gamma Ray have also included some bonus tracks, including the ultra rare track Wannabees, previously only released on the To The Metal! 7’’, and available here on CD for the first time, as well as an extended version of Brothers.
And to top it off, the final track on the EP is another version of "Rebellion In Dreamland," this time Karaoke style! The band have launched a special contest, where they'll be integrating a "choir" of their fans' voices on the upcoming album version of the song! Diehards and wailers can take part in the competition by submitting a recording of their version of the song via physical demo submission or digital sound file.
Actually, it is rather clever and entertaining, especially the first two tracks. The acoustic tracks, however, will strain your credulity as Send Me A Sign sounds almost like a country number. Rebellion in Dreamland comes through in better Gamma Ray style. It's an awesome song. Also the bonus track Wannabees shows how versatile the band can be as this is metalized, and quite catchy, rock.
All this is in preview of a new Gamma Ray album. My worst fear: they are going offer acoustic reworkings of their classics, new arrangements of the same, or a combination of both, like Kiske's The Past in Different Ways, which was quite disappointing. I guess we'll hear what we'll hear. Skeletons & Majesties is recommended for diehard Gamma Ray fans only.
With Skeletons & Majesties, Gamma Ray wants to mess with your perceptions of the band, all in the name of fun. It's clever, and sometimes entertaining.
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