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Well, I’m sure that when many of us heard that Gamma Ray would release “Land of the Free II” we all thought the same thing… oh shit, they’re going to fuck this up worse than “Operation: Mindcrime II”! Well, shame on me for not having faith in a band as totally awesome as Gamma Ray. If I had simply remembered that one of Kai Hansen’s pinky fingers holds more musical talent in it than that of the current combined lineup of Queensrÿche… well, then I wouldn’t have been so worried. Rejoice, for Gamma Ray has delivered the goods! This is the album of the year, closely followed by Helloween’s superbly solid and totally awesome “Gambling with the Devil”.
First of all, does the album actually sound like “Land of the Free”? Yes it does. Regardless of whether or not the album is good it would be rather silly if was a sequel to “Land of the Free” but sounded nothing like it. I don’t know if everyone would agree with me but I really think that each Gamma Ray album has a totally different sound to the others (I’m talking song writing here, not production… although whilst on that topic the production on this Gamma Ray album is good as always). Of course there are similarities between all the albums like with any band but if you know what I’m talking about then the point I’m trying to make is that this album sounds a lot like its predecessor.
What we have here is an extremely consistent album, more so than “No World Order” and “Powerplant”… and sorry if that opinion pisses people off since everyone seems to love “Powerplant”! I like the album a lot too but it’s got some really annoying songs on there and the same thing goes for “No World Order” in my opinion!
Without going into too much detail or describing every song I’ll say that each song on the album totally rules. We have the simple but effective “Into the Storm” with totally fucking awesome shred solos. “From the Ashes” is just absolute typical Gamma Ray and totally awesome. “Rain”… where the fuck is my superman outfit? That does it for me. Kai Hansen can sing anything and make it sound awesome! “Empress” might get shit from some fans for its ‘weird’ chorus. Well, whatever, I thought it kicked ass like the whole song and sounded very haunting. “Real World”, Jesus H. Christ this song rules so much! Slower tempo and it’s the kind of song that a stadium should be moshing and singing along too… and combine that with lyrical mastery:
God is an illusion and there ain't no paradise
and there is no underworld below
Out there is no Heaven and there ain't no Antichrist
Welcome to the real World
and the show!
“Insurrection”… sorry, this song is not as good as “Rebellion in Dreamland”. But hey, it’s hard to make a song better than the best song ever, right? Nevertheless, don’t be too disappointed that this song doesn’t beat another song… be happy that this song fucking rules! A near 12 minute Gamma Ray epic… need I say more? While on the subject of comparing this album to “Land of the Free” part 1, I’ll say the original gets 100% and it was slightly better than this, so 99% for part 2.
Outstanding song writing, awesome lyrics, shred-tastic guitar solos and insanely good Zimmermann drumming… all as usual. Gamma Ray is truly a band that can do very little wrong in my opinion… even when they had Scheepers if you can believe that! If you’re a long time fan then we all know you’re already going to buy this album and you’ll be glad you did. If you’re a first time listener then buy “Land of the Free” and “Land of the Free II”… and buy the rest of their albums too if you want insanely awesome German power metal! “Land of the Free II”, 65 minutes of power metal bliss.