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A lost tale from the transitional era. - 85%

hells_unicorn, August 31st, 2006

After the dramatic changeover that occured in "Land of the Free" when Kai Hansen once again took the position of frontman after 10 years of supporting another, this rather intriguing EP was released. One thing to note right off the bat is the experimental aspects of it, as this CD is not quite what I would call a power metal release.

The opening and primary song that defines this album is Miracle, which is essentially a slow and more narrative-like version of Man on a Mission, one of the most well known tracks off the "Land of the Free". I actually prefer this version to the high tempo one from the full studio album because of Kai's more emotional vocal performance and his more dramatic sounding guitar solo.

The second track is "Farewell", a ballad from the "Land of the Free" release that has been kept in it's original format. Nothing really new to note here as a result, but for those of you who have not yet heard that album, it's a rather brilliant duet between Kai Hansen and Hansi Kursch of Blind Guardian/Demons and Wizards.

The third track is a new version of "The Silence" a classic rock/metal experiment of epic proportions off the "Heading for Tomorrow" album. Although I prefer Ralf Scheepers' vocal performance on this particular composition, the instrumentation here and the production is a big step up, and the overall song has a much greater energy to it.

The fourth and final track is a rather interesting ballad entitled "A while in Dreamland" which doesn't appear anywhere else in the Gamma Ray catalog. It is essentially 4 minutes of Kai singing some very inspired lyrics to a beautiful piano line.

In conclusion, this release is somewhat of a mixed bag. Although I enjoyed it immensely, I am a Gamma Ray fanatic whom also has a very ecclectic musical background, thus my views are probably not typical of the metal masses. This release doesn't have any high speed thrillers, or any thrashy heavy tracks, so it may not be suited for many fans of power metal or even traditional metal.