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The appetizer before the banquet - 89%

hells_unicorn, March 10th, 2006

Back in 2000 I was flying high on my newfound love for Gamma Ray, having just purchased all of the Kai Hansen lead era of the band, I could not wait to hear what was coming next and forked out the money to get the single imported from Japan. Needless to say, I was highly impressed with my purchase.

This single is the prelude to what would be an excellent Gamma Ray release in "No World Order". The first thing that immediately jumps out at the listener is the cover art, which is a fine piece of abstract art depicting the skulls and yin yangs found upon many of Gamma Ray's later releases, but in a much more inventive way.

The opening track of "Heaven or Hell" is a classic power metal track in the I Want Out/Breaking the Law variety, with some interesting effects as icing on the cake. The lyrics are pretty much political angst organized into a catchy melody. The musical motives remind me a bit of "Rebellion in Dreamland", though I actually think that this one has a slightly more powerful chorus, though it's far from an epic in it's entirety.

The other track that appears on the following album "Solid" is a high tempo thrill ride with great sci-fi inspired lyrics. The strength in this song is the riffs and Dan's amazing drumming. I'd put this up there with such great high speed classics as "Guardians of Mankind" and "Anywhere in the Galaxy".

The 3rd track, which does not appear on the album, is a Thin Lizzy cover called “Angel of Death”. Although I am not familiar with the original version of it (I have heard some of the band in question though), it is quite an entertaining song with a lot of changes.

I highly recommend this single, though obviously the fact that it has to be imported may put a damper in the spirits of some of you that are hungry for more Gamma Ray rarities. But if you ask my opinion on the matter, as someone who has already spent the extra money, it is indeed worth it.