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LotF - Lots Of Tragic Fail - 30%

Darth_Roxor, November 16th, 2007

At the start, I would like to point out that I had high expectations for this album, because Gamma Ray is one of the very few bands that still play the "by book" version of power metal, combining speed, melody and ass-kicking in a perfect way and still manage to sound like they haven't lost their genitals in Vietnam.

Unfortunately, it would seem that with Land of the Free II, Gamma Ray hit the dirt. The sad truth is, that the band managed to produce an LP that is very, very, very weak, boring and uninspired. Have you already got used to catchy, melodic but yet sometimes quite aggressive songs accompanied by Hansen's widely scaled vocals such as Eagle or Heavy Metal Universe? Alas, on this album you won't hear any such a song and this is the first (but not the biggest) flaw of the CD. Among the 12 tracks you won't find anything absolutely outstanding, no masterpieces, everything is just plain... boring. I don't think I noticed my foot moving up-and-down to the tempo a single time.

However, the greatest problem of LotF2 is the fact, that it recycles really many riffs from previous albums and there are some rip-offs. For example, listen to the track "Empress" (especially the part starting at 3:30) and then try Dark Lunacy - Forlorn or launch "Opportunity" and then Iron Maiden - The Clairvoyant - I think the similarities are just obvious. Also, while listening to the album you have that weird "deja-vu" feeling nearly all the time and you start thinking "I think I heard that riff before...", because there are LOTS of riffs that were once used. In one track (unfortunately I can't quite remember in which one though) I am sure I heard the riff from Damn the Machine.

Another negative point are Hansen's vocals. Maybe he is getting old or he has had a very nasty lung disease during the production but his vocals are just dull. On all previous albums, Kai's vocals were largely varied, from very high to raw and he managed to shift between them spontainously. Here however, he doesn't achieve the higher scales, nor does he even have any variety in the singing! I might even say that his singing is totally stripped of any passion or emotion that we all know and like.

The only song that has some potential is Insurrection, I even enjoyed some of its parts (and it's the only thing that keeps me from giving a score lower than 30) but the other songs sound almost all the same, not to mention that they don't have the catchy and powerful choruses like in "Fire Below" or "Anywhere in the Galaxy". All the choruses sound just bland and are somewhat... well, non-manly to put it this way.

To sum up, this is the worst album Gamma Ray has ever produced. I just hope that it's a momentary crisis and it's the last disappointment from these talented musicians. If you are new to Gamma Ray - Get Powerplant or No World Order. If you're an old fan - do yourself a favour and avoid this abomination at all cost.