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Illuminati, Take This One! - 91%

WishmasterTheDark, January 17th, 2012

Kai Hansen and mates continue to express their hate and anguish which were caused by the New World Order. Kai continues the lyrical topic started on Helloween's Walls Of Jericho aeons ago, a topic which was present in past Gamma Ray's releases, but that was the main topic of the No World Order and this release. This is one in a row of bad-ass studio albums by this perfect band. I have heard of Gamma Ray when I seriously got into heavy metal music, but I never paid enough attention to them. After few years, after some serious listens for short time I became addicted to this band, and they became one of my top favorite bands from heavy metal music. This release is somehow much more unique comparing to other studio albums, 'cause it combines passion and aggression with a bit darker tone.

My Temple, Fight, Hell Is Thy Home, Spiritual Dictator and Hellfire are examples of excellent fast songs. They just know how to make kick-ass songs made of fast, blazing, heavy riffs, enjoyable rhythm, tempo and ambient of the songs, excellent lyrics with deep meaning, powerful refrains where these songs slow down and excellent sung parts. Maybe it sounds like a weak pattern, or easy formula, but they always know how to surprise, and they posses huge amount of creativity, so their songs don't sound the same, nor much similar. They know where to slow down, how often should they do that, they find a way to make slower parts, almost you can't notice the tempo change. These are small, but precious progressions. Some might say that Hell Is Thy Home's intro sounds like Judas Priest's Leather Rebel. Well, if you listen to Helloween's Victim Of Fate which is done by the same person - Kai Hansen in 1985, then it's obvious who stole what. Kai made few changes, instead of water splash in the beginning or something like that, from Victim Of Fate, he put crack in Hell Is Thy Home, and then starts similar blazing guitar riff.

Excellent, but slower songs are Blood Religion, Condemned To Hell and Majesty. Slower doesn't mean less interesting, these songs prove that. Blood Religion is a massive, very complex and progressive song. Clean guitars in the beginning and soft singing followed by cymbals, then come distorted guitars with monster heavy riffs, lots of rhythm changes, mind-blowing refrains, slow tempo with mysterious chants before the guitar solo, suddenly starts fast tempo, and one of the best guitar solos, or the best guitar solo ever starts. Also, Condemned To Hell starts with killer rhythm, the sexy mix made of tasty bass guitar lines, drums follow the same rhythm, and squealing guitars appear, and what else do you expect? Killer rhythm, some faster parts come, excellent lyrics, excellent vocals, powerful refrains, tasty, technical guitar solos etc. Song Majesty has really dark ambient which comes from slower tempo with faster part before, during and after the guitar solo, doom metal riffs and powerful chorus. It's much different song than any other from this studio album because of its killer structure.

Weaker moments of this studio album are songs Strange World, How Long and Revelation. Strange World is not bad song, in fact it's very good. The main problem is because that song is complex and progressive, and that didn't work very well here. Slow part of the song which lasts first 2 minutes, before the guitar solo and in the end is what makes this song a bit boring. Between slow parts comes fast work which actually makes this song, and gives it insane amount of power. How Long is very good mid tempo song, with great lyrics with deep meaning, cool riffs and power chords, tasty keyboard melodies from to make better ambient, but the song lacks energy and refrain parts could have been better. Singing part is very unusual, it has kick-ass intonation, really interesting part. Henjo Richter tried to imitate Kai Hansen and make another kick-ass song about the end of the world, but this song doesn't come even close to Armageddon from Power Plant. Revelation is long and complex, but it has only great technical, fast and beautiful guitar solos and few great fast riffs.

Good sides of this release:
Gamma Ray prove that they are power metal elite, and this is another regular excellent studio album. Kai Hansen showed his excellent vocal ability, and did amazing guitar job with Henjo Richter, bassist Dirk Schl├Ąchter and drummer Dan Zimmermann made killer rhythm sections. This release has fast and slower songs, full of blazing, heavy, monster riffs, manly, soaring, high-pitched vocals, well-written lyrics with deep meaning, tasty, technical and fast guitar solos, enjoyable rhythms and ambient of the songs. Interesting thing is that they didn't make any ballad here.

Bad sides of this release:
Only weaker parts in Strange World and How Long. They are enjoyable anyway. Revelation is their really weak effort. Who cares, there are lots of other excellent songs.

My Temple, Fight, Hell Is Thy Home, Blood Religion, Condemned To Hell, Spiritual Dictator, Majesty and Hellfire.