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A bit predictable, but it's still good stuff - 87%

OSheaman, July 14th, 2003

Whatever we may think of Kai Hansen and his apparantly jumbo-sized ego, there is no denying that he is a huge force in the metal world. Gamma Ray, his handmade band, has proven their worth, and although they sound suspiciously like Helloween, they have Good Things happening in this album.

Highlights here are many. The first track, Anywhere in the Galaxy, is the real high-speed masterpiece on the album and features a fantastic guitar solo from Mr. Hansen. Razorblade Sigh has some very great riffs, although does anybody else hear Number of the Beast in there besides me? The Pet Shop Boys cover, It's a Sin, is very well-done and adds a new dimension to the sound (though I suppose we have the Pet Shop Boys to thank for that, no?).

Powerplant is Speed/Power Metal to an extreme, and while that's good in many respects, it falls a bit into the trap that claims many Speed Metal bands: many songs sound the same, and the album blends together a little.

You'll notice I used the phrases 'a bit' and 'a little.' That would be because there are enough different songs in here to keep the album interesting, which is a great sign, although many of these songs are covers. Heavy Metal Universe might as well have Manowar stamped all over it, but it really fits in well and adds some variety to the album. Armageddon stands out here because it's so fucking fast that everything else sounds like a Barry White marathon in comparison. A While in Dreamland, one of the bonus tracks, is certainly different (it's a slow piano solo with Kai singing), but it's different in the fact that it's R&B and doesn't belong on the album. The real gem on here, though, is the bonus track Long Live Rock 'n' Roll, which is a Rainbow cover, thus officially establishing the fact that Rainbow's songs are so fucking good that other bands can improve the quality of their albums by 100% by simply making a cover of their shit. It's incredible.

Kai knows his music, and this is an excellent Speed/Power album. It's worth adding to the ol' collection, because it features a lot of good ass-kicking music and quite an assortment of covers. Fun for the whole family. Huzzah.