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I love Gamma Ray to death, but “Sigh no More” is my fucking nightmare. Like an abortion that somehow slipped through the cracks, this album never stood a chance, no sir. Before they were juggernauts of power metal, Gamma Ray was somehow squeezing by with Ralf Scheepers and the plague he brings along with some bastardized take on power metal which dipped to its lowest point here, and they thankfully turned it around with the mediocre “Insanity & Genius,” and then the much-needed exile of Scheepers. However, I’d rather drink piss from Lars Ulrich’s pimp goblet than acknowledge Kai Hansen’s involvement in this crime against decency. Every Gamma Ray record sounds different, sometimes in varying degrees, of course. Well, “Sigh no More” is the band’s open-armed dive into generic hard rock/heavy metal, or the let's-jackoff-the-MTV-crowd album, and yea, it blows. Some might tell you it’s underrated or unfairly judged by those meanie metal elitists, but that’s bollocks. This just sucks.
Unlike “Heading for Tomorrow” which at least attempted to progress the power/speed metal roots of Helloween, “Sigh no More” takes two steps back. If I said this sounds like Poison or Aerosmith half the time, you’d probably call bullshit, but I kid you not: this is loaded with regurgitated rockers that could level mountains with their shitness. Hell, the songwriting remains so dull, predictable, and embarrassing that I can’t think of a snazzy metaphor to compare it to. There’s never a blast of fresh air from the novice structuring and half-assed chorus of “Changes” to the insipid abomination of a ballad that is “Father and Son,” and song after song fails to become memorable, intelligent, or even remotely listenable; just the same hard rock trash recycled without mercy. Pretty much the whole scope of creativity was stupefied to sound like Poison or some similar hard rock garbage, no joke.
It quickly becomes an exercise of one’s patience. Listen to something with flare like “No World Order” or “Somewhere out in Space” and then try sitting through the bath of poo that covers the plodding “One With the World” and those useless percussion additions, or perhaps the fan-favorite “Rich and Famous,” which is so musically and lyrically stupid that I’m sure I drop four I.Q. points every time I hear it. The infamous Ralf Scheepers once again delivers a mediocre vocal performance that is often mired by the metallic soundscape and his lackluster chemistry within the group, and Kai Hansen’s guitar work looks rushed and lacking. There are some semi-passable numbers, particularly the flashy NWOBHM touches on “Start Running,” although the song is still not Gamma Ray-tier despite its neatness. “Dream Healer” unsurprisingly endures its legacy as the album’s best song, using dark and perplexing compositional pieces and sensational guitar work to make it a special tune; Scheepers doesn’t sound too shabby either. Hell, it may be one of the finest fossils of the Scheepers era.
But then I hear something like “Countdown” and I realize “Sigh no More” deserves the verbal abuse, the neglect, the burden of carrying the title of Gamma Ray’s weakest record by a longshot. Obviously, it’s an absolute disaster of an album, no other way to put it. Thankfully Kai Hansen turned the boat around, but this testament of excrement reminds us of how painfully awful Gamma Ray was in their earlier days. My only advice: don’t ever listen to this album, especially if you’re trying to understand the awesomeness of Gamma Ray. You will hear this stuttering, calamitous junk and quickly lose control of your bowels, which will make you sigh, sigh, and sigh some more.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com