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What had gotten into them...? - 60%

Agonymph, August 3rd, 2004

Okay, so here's the story...it's the year of 1999 and Gamma Ray has a history of releasing awesome records. Yours truly knew that and went out and bought their new release 'Powerplant'. So far so good. Yours truly put on the CD and was surprised by the awesome opener 'Anywhere In The Galaxy', a great and energizing song. That was promising for the entire album! After that came the track 'Razorblade Sigh', an okay track, but "okay" is not what I'm used to with Gamma Ray, Kai's vocals are also terribly out of tune at some parts of this song, but that happens more often, so I just ignored that, as well as the incredibly stupid lyrics and waited for the next couple of songs. It seemed like that waiting was worth while; 'Send Me A Sign' is easily one of the best Gamma Ray songs even and the following tracks 'Strangers In The Night' and 'Gardens Of The Sinner' are actually very decent too. The hope for the rest of the album was good.
Oof! Painful penalty there! 'Short As Hell' is a weird track, sounds like Kiss is playing this: stupid lyrics and a way too simple composition. That intro riff is repeated way too long. A pretty bad track. The following Pet Shop Boys-cover 'It's A Sin' is acceptable, in fact it's a lot better than the original (not that that is hard, but that's beside the point).
But then...'Heavy Metal Universe'...Kai...what the hell has gotten into you by making such a boring and stupid Manowar-ish track? Joey DeMaio is laughing at you! And that's pretty bad! The music is boring and predictable and the lyrics...well...sorry Kai, but..."Heavy Metal is the only one"??? "Heavy Metal is our promised land"??? My God! Please write about outer space again, that's getting predictable too, but at least that's a lot better than this...This song works pretty well live, but on the album, it's nothing but a filler, skip it!
'Wings Of Destiny' is a cliché Power Metal track with an awful chorus which doesn't fit with the rest of the song and am I the only one who hears Slayer's 'Dissident Aggressor' in 'Hand Of Fate'? And what's up with the lyrics of that chorus?
Luckily the album is closed off in style with 'Armageddon'. Okay the lyrics to this song are pretty cliché too, but the music is really awesome and actually very surprising too. That piano part near the end of the song is just brilliant and both Kai and Henjo play beautiful solos in this song.
Well, I'm sorry, but I still can't see why this is the favorite of so many Gamma Ray fans. 'Powerplant' is a boring and predictable album, with parts that sometimes sound unbelievably familiar, I'm quite sure many parts of the album are recycled from other Gamma Ray albums or albums from other bands. If you get their compilation 'Blast From The Past', you'll have the best three songs off the album. See if you can get 'Strangers In The Night' and 'Gardens Of The Sinner' somewhere from someone and you're done. What a piece of crap from a band which once released the wonderful 'Land Of The Free' album...