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This is the second full-length by Gamma Ray, and it's quite underrated. The first time I listened to it, I wondered what had gone wrong. But by giving it a couple of new chances, it certanly grew on me. It's not as good as Heading for Tomorrow, or the later albums. It's more quiet, and not as fast, and there's less quality in the songs, but it's still a pretty good album. The production is pretty flawless, but the drums sometimes sound a little weak.
For the line-up they changed drummer (Uli Kusch taking over for Mathias Burchardt), and a new guitarist (Dirk Schlächter) came in. It's still Kai Hansen on guitars, Uwe Wessel on bass and Ralf Scheepers on vocals.
The album opens up with "Changes". It's quite good. A real rocker. It's slower than your average Gamma Ray-song, but it doesn't mean it's a bad song. The short solo is well-played. And the part towards the end of the song is the best part of the song. It's really catchy and the classic Gamma Ray shines through. Next up is "Rich & Famous", and is one of my favourite Gamma Ray-tracks. It's catchy, and fun. A little faster too. And a great chorus, that makes you want to sing along to it. Gotta love this song. The solo is excellently done, as always, and adding another guitarist was a good idea.
The third track, "As Time Goes By", is another rocker. It's quite fast, catchy and a little closer to the Gamma Ray we all know and love. Lovely chorus, and a cute solo, very classic Helloween/Gamma Ray, with both guitar playing. Too short, though. "(We Won't) Stop the War" is another slower track. It opens with a tiny bass-intro, and continues as a catchy rock-song, with some jazzy stuff thrown in. Yet another good solo (as always). It's a decent track, and the worst one so far in the album.
"Father and Son", the fifth song of the album, is a ballad, and it's a good one, as all of Gamma Ray's ballads. It's got nice acoustic guitars and excellent singing. A calm, and soothing song, perfect for those days you're not in the mood for blazing speed. Excellent solo-playing, and even the solo is acoustic. Towards the end it goes into a nice rock-riff with a small solo-part over. "One With the World" opens with a catchy drum-part, and goes into more classic-sounding Gamma Ray. It's a good, song, maybe a little to repeating, but it's not a bad song. Good solo, and after the solo it speeds up, and it turns really catchy. Sing-along chorus' is always fun, until someone laughs at my singning.
"Start Running" is one of the best tracks on the album. Pretty fast, very catchy, and pure fun. As always Scheepers is a very good vocalist, and the solo is good, as usual, and now it's both guitarist playing too. Excellent song. "Countdown" is a rock-track. It's got the usual catchyness, but I find it kinda boring. Nothing special about it.
Then it's time for the albums longest song, "Dream Healer". It's supposed to be the album's epic, but I find it rather boring. It's starts slow and speeds up to the first chorus, and it goes catchy. But it's still a pretty boring song, except for the excellent solo (Is there one bad Gamma Ray-solo out there?). Towards the end it speeds up, and the last minute or so of this song is actually quite good. But there's nothing special about it. "The Spirit" is the last track of the album and is another rock-track. This one's actually pretty good. A good closer on an album, and it's a neat sing-along tune, with the always good solo.
--- Bonus Tracks on remastered version ---
These songs will not count on the review-points, but I'm going to write them down anyway, because they're songs on the album's remastered edition. So I'll review them, but they don't count in on the albums rating, therefor I will give it a 1-10 rating per song.
First is "Heroes", and is actually "Changes" with another, funnier intro, and different lyrics. Still the same good song, nothing more to say about it. If you need more, scroll up to the part about "Changes", because it's basically the same song. [9/10]
Then there's a pre-production version of "Dream Healer". So now we get a three minute longer version of an already boring song, but now it doesn't sound as good, because it's a pre-production version. [2/10]
Finally it's "Who do You Think You Are?", a good rocker. Catchy drumbeats, fun lyrics. Nice solo-playing, as always. Very good song. [9/10]