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Hmm...half-decent I'd say - 62%

Agonymph, August 3rd, 2004

UltraBoris was the only guy to review this album before I did and he made a perfect description for the most of the songs on Gamma Ray's third album; they just don't live up to their potential. Too bad, because there really are some songs on this album which could have been good.
'Insanity & Genius' kicks off greatly with the first class Power Metal tracks 'Tribute To The Past' and 'No Return', perfect Gamma Ray blueprint tracks. I used to think 'Last Before The Storm' was really good, but when I heard the re-recorded version on the 'Blast From The Past' album, the one on 'Insanity & Genius' was kind of weak in comparison. Still good, but this is a perfect example of that it's not living up to its potential; it does on 'Blast From The Past', it's just more "alive" on there.
'The Cave Principle' takes a little while to get into, but once you did, you realize that it's a great song. The insecure atmosphere of the lyrics ("where is humanity going?" is a pretty usual question in Kai Hansen's lyrics) is pefectly portrayed in the music. Not really your typical Gamma Ray track, but maybe that's just what makes the song so good. Along with the tension in the atmosphere of the song.
'Future Madhouse' seems like a lyrical sequel to 'The Cave Principle', but apart from that, it's got nothing in common with that song. 'Future Madhouse' is a typical Gamma Ray Power Metal track. Fast, melodic and powerful are the keywords.
Okay I've been rather positive about the album up until now. And that has a good reason. What follows is the song 'Gamma Ray'. UltraBoris said it before; tracks with the same name as the band usually shows the band in its optimal form, it's usually a blueprint of their sound so to speak. Nothing of that here. 'Gamma Ray' is a cover of the Birth Control song. Anyone remember Birth Control? That incredibly annoying band? Well, the same with this song. Annoying and too long.
Next up is the title track of the album. It's a rare case, since Kai Hansen has not (co-)written the song. The music is written by bassist Jan Rubach and the lyrics are written by drummer Thomas Nack. This results in a track which has some very cool and unusual rhythms, but is surprisingly weak on melody. Too bad, usually the title track is something good.
Another non-Kai Hansen-composition follows. '18 Years' is written by Dirk Schlächter and Ralf Scheepers. The song they wrote on the previous album, 'Father And Son', was a ballad and this track is too...sort of. I'd say it's a psychedelic ballad. It takes really long to get into the track, but once you do, you realize it's a very good song with brilliant lyrics.
What? Yes! Another non-Kai Hansen-composition. 'Your Turn Is Over' is written (and sung!) by guitarist Dirk Schlächter (he's bassist of the band now) and he actually did that very good. 'Your Turn Is Over' is a punky kind of Heavy Metal song, which kind of reminds me of Iron Maiden's first two albums. Pretty good headbanger. Funny detail...Dirk does the high backing vocals nowadays, but his vocals on this song are nothing like that. They're raw and hysterical!
Kai comes out again. Even though most of 'Heal Me' is written by Dirk Schlächter (Kai has only co-written the lyrics), Kai does lead vocals on the song and even though he does them a lot better on the re-recorded version, he does them pretty well. A lot better than how he sang on Helloween's 'Walls Of Jericho' of course! 'Heal Me' is a strange song, which reminds me of Queen a lot when it comes to the structure of the song. And that is a good thing! 'Heal Me' is by far the best song on 'Insanity & Genius' if you ask me. The piano part near the end is strange, but a piece of compositorical brilliance.
Another disappointment! Closer 'Brothers' is a weak composition with even weaker lyrics (the stupidest on the album).
If you get the re-release of 'Insanity & Genius', you will be treated with a long version of 'Gamma Ray' (whoopie...), a Judas Priest cover ('Exciter', which hardly sounds any different than the original) and a decent live version of Helloween's 'Save Us' by this lineup of Gamma Ray.
Like I said before 'Insanity & Genius' could have been a good album, but it isn't, even though there are a couple of top notch songs on it.