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And What a "Sad Wings of Destiny" It is - 77%

TheMetalMotor, May 18th, 2018

Now looking back on this album a lot of the songs on this generally carry the feeling of being all too much the same. For example "Strangers in the Night''s main problem is reusing the idea of having the song starting with the acoustic guitars beginning at the intro and then after that just comes out with almost too samey-samey riffs of the previous speeder "Anywhere in The Galaxy". (The same problem lies in with "Short as Hell" though it's way less energetic and passionate to really draw in the listener.) The only thing that I can generally say that makes this song even the tiniest bit different is that Hansen is screaming in the verses, but I must give it credit for that lovable and catchy chorus! Another problem of this album that often plagues most of the songs are they just often too long and don't make up for it with any innovative ideas to back it up. Almost half of the album is covered with almost six minute long songs, and while yeah Anywhere in The Galaxy and Wings of Destiny are amazing and I'll get back to them later in this review, most of these just feel like Kai added some filler moments in them just to fill up time.

One of the examples of one of the filler moments on this album is 3:20 in Gardens of the Sinner with just a plodding bass and drums filling it out with Kai just narrating out some lyrics. And while this wouldn't be too big of a problem if it wasn't the same plodding bass and drums just repeating the same beat over and over, it's even worse that it sounds a bit too much close to the atmospheric moment in Halloween. I know it may seem like I am generally very critical of this album along with the idea that starting out your tracks with acoustic guitars gets really boring when you over-do it. Razorblade Sigh just fixes the problem with not fucking around and immediately playing the electric guitars along with the acoustics and getting right away to the riff of the song's package. Another awesome song off of this album is "Send Me a Sign", and now one would obviously think this is a "I Want Out" rip-off but the riff and chorus is distinct enough that the song separates it-self of the I Want Out brand.

Sadly enough one of the worse things about this album is that Kai's over-all performance is more lack-luster compared to Land of the Free and Somewhere Out in Space, and I don't mean that it's over-all bad, but rather it just reeks of no energy and passion in some songs. (I'm looking at you Short as Hell!) However something that would attract your attention is in the vein form of a synth-pop cover turned power metal known as "It's a Sin" and it surprisingly works well, I don't know how, but it's best for you to listen for yourself. Now some would complain about the over-simplicity of "Heavy Metal Universe", but for me it's just simple and straight-forward with getting to the point compared to the over-filled or too long songs on this album.

I have to say that the production on this album is quite nice, nothing perfect by any means but most of the instruments you can hear. The drums don't sound like a bunch of trashcans and have quite the punch required, the guitars sound warm, crunchy and close to the fireplace thought I do wish that I could perhaps hear the bass a bit more, either that or I'm going deaf. I would also like to return to my point of the song's "Strangers in The Night" and "Garden of The Sinners" sounding the same. The formulas used these songs go a bit like this, a bit of time for riffing in the introduction or some boring acoustic guitars to boot with it in the case of "Strangers in The Night" and "Short as Hell", three verses, one bridge, three choruses and one shredding guitar solo to rip it up! Now, there's nothing really wrong with this formula by any means. It's an amazing one in all honesty but the problem lies in it's over-usage too much leading to these songs sounding the same.

You know how I said I'd promise to get to "Anywhere in The Galaxy" and "Wings of Destiny"? Well worry no more because here we are and saved the last three for last, but before we can get to them we have to talk about "Hands of Fate". First of all, one would be finally glad to hear a new type of intro with a piano and while it's an improvement over the other intros, it only remains semi-interesting. And what's that I hear? An actual interesting song, with a very similar sounding chorus that's familiar more to Helloween's style. Really the only criticism that I could give about this is that it'd be nice if it was a little bit shorter.

Finally, the last three songs of the album are here! Firstly we have the Painkiller-esque ass kicking high ticket speeder that is "Anywhere in The Galaxy" with an actual interesting acoustic guitar intro unlike the others. Next up is "Wings of Destiny" which is a bit more melodic compared to the previous one I mentioned, along with a big Iron Maiden influence that still remains original.The last song of the album "Armageddon" is like the previous two Gamma Ray epics and shares the complexity of them but instead of being a sappy ballad for burly men in the case of "Shine On" or a mid-paced rockin' rebellious anthem of "Rebellion in Dreamland", it unleashes out all of it's raging fury and traps and engages the listener. Overall some of these songs such as "Strangers in The Night", "Gardens of The Sinner" and etc can be some really amazing songs on their own, but when listening to this album it just falls apart a bit.

Recommended tracks:
Anywhere in The Galaxy
Razorblade Sigh
Send Me a Sign
It's a Sin
Heavy Metal Universe Wings of Destiny