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TrooperEd, December 22nd, 2016
Written based on this version: 2001, CD, Metal-Is Records

How does Gamma Ray ring in the new millennium? The same way they rung in 95, 97, and 99 with the necks of wallet chains and posers! I must admit it's the weakest of their streak, but when this thing is on...Lemmy have mercy there are Jaegerbombs less lethal.

There are no epic numbers to be found here, nine short and sweet rockers and one rather useless ballad (Kai never did figure out how to work those damn things properly) that for the most part, bang heads as if up from the dead. The caffeine freaks who think anything less than 200 bpm is false metal will consider Dethrone Tyranny their national anthem. One could write dissertations on the songs effectiveness seeing how it's been 15 fucking years and still haven't quite gotten around to it yet, but this ain't The fact is, if metal was around in 1776, this would be the song to eviscerate the bourgeois. Then, in the middle of the album, there's a spot on cover of Rapid Fire. Not sure what's with the different lyrics and chorus though. Must be one of them awkward German to English translations. I mean Ripper added in a cho.....wait what? It's not a cover of Rapid Fire? It's an original song called Solid? Oh. Well, this awkward.....

Moving on, while this album isn't a concept album in the sense that it tells a story, a big theme that permeates throughout are conspiracies, the New World Order (hence the title), aliens and other such unsolved mysteries. It's not executed in a such a pretentiously alarmist manner like they were in Megadeth's Endgame. Rather, more like a romp of speculation. Such things tend to happen when you take Alex Jones seriously. Going all the way back to Land of The Free, fantasy-themed social consciousness has always been a big part of Gamma Ray, but here it's very transparent. Such is the case with Heaven Or Hell, which takes the point of view of a hacky, slick-talking politician who seeks to become a high ranking government official through public approval.

But the best part of the whole thing has to be The Heart Of The Unicorn. You look at a title like that and think to yourself "Oh Jesus Kai fell in love with Sonata Arctica didn't he?" But there's not even a flowery intro to give you a false sense of sellout as this thrash number mutilates the crowds of Ozzfest with that brilliant British Steel sensibility (those damn colonialists!). YOU THINK THAT'S BAD, well then Kai Hansen comes in out of nowhere with the most electrifying vocal performance of his career. The un-nurtured, inexperienced Kai of Walls Of Jericho is long gone and in his place is a glorious feline furnace of a throat. This damn sure ain't no song about wishing for soothing rain and wishing to dream again, this is a song about corporate greed ripping out the heart of the American dream and the human boot stamping on it's face forever. To say nothing of it's tasteful use of half-time and breakdown rhythms. Most would simply be too stupid to speed it up, preferring to just ride that groove and the anemic Pantera wave which was played out in 96, let alone 01.

Rack up another power metal win for Kai and the boys. Despite some questionably slick production (I like the drum triggers personally), as well as a couple of "homaged" riffs (Rat Bat Blue anyone), Gamma Ray proves that old ideals still work with very good reason.

Recommended songs:

The Heart of the Unicorn
Dethrone Tyranny