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Uninspired ideas that try so hard to go somewhere - 34%

ArcanaAwaits, August 19th, 2012

Kai Hansen, after leaving Helloween, decided that he wasn't just quite finished with music yet. He mainly formed Gamma Ray to finish up some of the remaining ideas he had left over from Helloween and ended up releasing their debut "Heading For Tomorrow" with a lot of those ideas. This album, however, seemed to go in the exact opposite direction that Kai had always been known for.

To start, let me just say that there is very little value to this album whatsoever. The production is completely wrong, the lyrics make no absolute sense, and the music is even more dull except for maybe two tracks.

Musically there is little value whatsoever here. Whenever a worthwhile riff is actually written, it sounds like a blatant Judas Priest ripoff. When original material is actually written, the direction goes nowhere. I'm not sure if the band themselves are to blame for writing boring, uninspired music, or if it was the engineer (who is also ironically a long time producer for Helloween and Gamma Ray on select albums, so I may have to go with the former) for tracking this album so horribly. The only time this album really gets interesting is around "One With the World" which seems to be the first fully worthwhile track on the album while the album itself mainly builds up with hits and misses throughout the earlier tracks. I've found myself more than often skipping tracks because they're not just simply poorly written, but actually annoying at times.

Throughout half the album, the rhythm pretty much remains a constant rock beat with a heavily distorted guitar playing over it. The drums and bass are pretty much going through the motions throughout the entire album. Only occasionally having moments of glory at the intro or a small interlude in the middle of tracks that hold no relevance to the music itself but rather a pointless show of ability that goes no where.

In the middle of the album we have a ballad which is the predecessor to the turning point of this album. It continues in a very slow pattern that follows the simple: Verse, bridge, chorus/repeat. Standard power ballad.

After biting your tongue hard enough to get by the first five tracks which do occasionally have some great moments, like in "Changes" and "As Time Goes By" you will get to "One With the World" which is the true turning point to the album. The only problem is that it sounds like you've just turned on "United" by Judas Priest from the start with better riffs and a better chorus. The rest of the album pretty much carries off a heavy Judas Priest influence that's almost literally plagiarizing, but more well-written.

My main issue with the production for this album is that it makes everything sound so flat. Everything is audible, and I've heard much worse production, but usually a low production is acquired to give the music a stronger feeling and an idea of more energy given off by the band with a more clear sound. But everything just sounds completely dull, even in some of the best parts of the album. With such boring songwriting, a remaster couldn't even save the rest of the album from making you want to hit "skip" throughout the first five tracks.