Having to traverse through fire and flames to accomplish a feat has some meaning to Germany's Gamma Ray. While recording their eleventh album, Empire of the Undead, their Hammer Studio burned to the ground. But the master tapes survived, and that's good news for fans of the band and their brand of power metal.
Typical of Gamma Ray, Empire of the Undead is a roaring power metal monster, maybe more so as there is some seriously heavy and speedy stuff here. For instance, Hellbent and the title cut are crazy fast, true speed metal, with Kai Hansen going bonkers on his guitar. But there's also some diversity. On the other side of things, Gamma Ray infects both Pale Rider and Master of Confusion with rock groove, yet they're also wrapped up in some power metal. Both might remind a little of Hansen's work with his side project Unisonic.
More typical sweeping power metal comes with Demonseed, I Will Return, and especially Avalon. Avalon can mix tempos, but eventually builds to the rushing crescendo and Hansen going wild in his solo, before marching steadily to the finale. I think it's my favorite track here. Finally, Empire of the Undead includes a metal anthem, Time For Deliverance, with a simple steady pace with Hansen's voice floating over an equally steady rhythm section and symphonic synth layer. It's a nice tune, and like Master of Confusion and I Will Return shows Hansen's significant vocal versatility. In the end, Empire of the Undead is a fine return to form for Gamma Ray, offering a diverse, yet united, album of melodic heavy and power metal. Easily recommended.
Empire of the Undead is a fine return to form for Gamma Ray, offering a diverse, yet united, album of melodic heavy and power metal. Easily recommended.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]