Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Land of the Free-Gamma Ray

 Right so, I am working on power metal week again today. (3 more power metal reviews fyi then back to your normal schedule). Today I am reviewing power metal giants Gamma Ray. There is a lot to be said for their classic album Land of the Free. This album has a nice sound, featuring some Zakk Wyldeish solos with nice bends. There are is a good combination of metal genres coming together on this album to create a unique sound in the power metal field. The guitar is great, with a couple of excellent riffs. The bass is fairly good, it can add a thrash feel at times and other times it just keeps the beat. The drums are fairly good but not terribly original. The vocals are good and feel, mean. The lyrics are also pretty good and enjoyable.
The guitar is excellent because it cover several styles. While the majority of the styles fall into the heavy metal genre there are definitely bits that experiment with different effects and contrasting speed metal versus more traditional power metal. Other times the guitar has amazing levels of contrast within just seconds, one good example of this is on the song Man on a Mission where there is an immediate switch from a quieter acoustic bit to a roaring solo. These songs are unique in that they contain acoustic and electric bits but they are not progressive. The bass is solid, but in all honesty it gets very few fills so it does not get a chance to shine. However the bassist is excellent at pushing the music along and giving it a thrash and speed metal feel. The drums are good but nothing really unique. All in all the instrumentalists know what they are doing but asides from the guitar there is not a lot of creativity.
The vocals are also very good. The thing that makes these vocals unique is that they have a mean feel to them. It is almost as if the singer (Kai Hansen) is sneering at you and it adds an angry feel to the album. Because the vocals are mean the vocals seem almost intimidating, it feels as if that Hansen has so much anger in him that he is overcoming the guitar with the sheer power in his vocal cords. The vocals remind me a good deal of those of James Hetfield. It gives Gamma Ray a more angry thrashlike sound than most power metal. The lyrics are pretty good. One of my favorite songs off the album, Time to Break Free, has a punk feel to it s lyrics. It is about leaving the expectations of the world behind and doing as you want. Another good song off the album is Gods of Deliverance a song about waiting for salvation from a god who might not come.
Overall Gamma Ray is a really great band who should be noted for their awesome ability to bring thrash metal and power metal together. The guitars on this album find an amazing blend between thrash metal and power metal. The main riffs are pretty much like thrash metal, however the choruses and the solos reek of power metal. The bass is a big factor in hepling the thrash feel but it is nothing to special and could do with some more creative fills. The drums are also decent but nothing to scream about. The vocals are really nice. Very much in the style of James Hetfield they create an angry atmosphere. The lyrics are excellent and range in themes from fantasy to punk. This is a good album that is definitely worth a listen.
OVERALL 8.5/10

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