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A tried-and-true metal kick in the teeth! - 89%

Empyreal, October 11th, 2007

Gamma Ray really let loose on this album, a lot like how Judas Priest didn't really start blazing all of their guns until Painkiller. This band was always a superb power metal outfit, with their climax undeniably being Somewhere Out in Space, but this is what would happen if you took that album and sped it up to about 3x its normal velocity, and then handed it two machine guns, a katana, and a battle tank to ride on the whole way. Quite simply put, No World Order is a fist pumping, ass stomping heavy metal behemoth that won't fail to disappoint fans of the band or of metal in general. In layman's terms, it fucking rules.

The unsuspecting Gamma Ray fan will put this album into his CD player when it arrives in the mail, and he will be hit with a soft, choral introduction piece. Lulled into a false sense of security, he will sink back into the comfortable, velvet-lined chair that was purchased mostly by his parents (fucking moocher). The introduction track ends, and then "Dethrone Tyranny" fires up the engines with a heavy, driving riff reminiscent of Iron Savior's work, and the poor, unknowing Gamma Ray fan will be caught in the middle of a deadly crossfire, his frail, weak body blown to bits by a powerful firestorm of riffs that just scream "MEEEEEETTTTTTTTTAAAAALLLLLLL!", and all the while, he hears the demonic intonals of metal aficionado Kai Hansen, who has never sounded better in all his 20+ years of singing. Killer cuts like "Heart of the Unicorn" and "Solid" are deeply rooted in a tasty Painkiller-esque acidic brew that will grind his bones into dust, as the hellishly hooky "Heaven or Hell" and the title track melt his flesh into a slushy, steaming nothingness with snappy, kinetic, well-placed hooks and spot-on songwriting that will never grow old. He is finally given a breather with the somber, pummeling ballad "Lake of Tears", although by then, his body is completely unrecognizable - the victim of a full-fledged metal assault.

This isn't be Gamma Ray's most articulate release, and the songwriting is not quite as stellar as on Somewhere Out in Space. The tracks here are pugilistic and straightforward, preferring to rip your face off with speed and intensity magnified tenfold, instead of dazzling you with instrumental brilliance and tight songwriting, as the band did on the aforementioned album. There is a certain sense of deja heard here as well, because although the songs kick an obscene amount of ass, you'll swear you've heard that riff or that chorus line before. Gamma Ray doesn't hide their influences, instead wearing them proudly on their sleeves like war trophies, but sadly this isn't the most original album. And lastly, Gamma Ray need to get a medical checkup, as they are seriously suffering from a case of Oceans of Time syndrome. They blow all their good ideas on the first half of the album, and then things get redundant with weaker cuts like "Eagle" and "Fire Below." Mixing up the tracklist would've helped a lot.

Despite a few flaws, this is a stellar album, showcasing Gamma Ray at their peak. Fans of Paragon, Twisted Tower Dire, Judas Priest and Iron Savior will find a lot to enjoy here, as this is an endlessly replayable and catchy album of German heavy metal that will leave a serious boot print in your ass long after it stops rotating in your CD player.