Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

unoriginal but good - 70%

The_Ghoul, April 9th, 2008

Upon listening to this, I was astounded at how fucking awesome it is. However, something didn't seem right... until a few minutes later, when I realized what it is. I wasn't listening to Gamma Ray -- Powerplant, I was listening to Iron Maiden -- Powerslave. I was listening to Manowar -- Louder Than Hell. I was listening to Judas Priest -- Painkiller. I was listening to Iron Savior. I was listening to Yngwie Malmsteen -- Marching Out. But I wasn't listening to Gamma Ray.

Sure, the Ray (and Kai Hansen by extension) have always been ones to wear their influences on their sleeves. But this is ridiculous. Several times I recognize riffs from other albums, sometimes I recognize riffs that have been changed around slightly, and other times it just sounds like the particular riff wouldn'tve been out of place on an album by one of the veterans mentioned above. Of course, there are several moments where it is original Gamma Ray, where Kai Hansen finds his voice. But those moments are fleeting. Somewhere Out In Space was way more original, with anthems that beg to be sung along to and riffs that are unmistakably Gamma Ray. But not on Powerplant.

That being said, this album rocks, with a flawless production (like usual) but even more cutting and heavy than usual. Kai's singing is improving from album to album, and on here, it gets to the professional level where a singer like Ralf Scheepers is unnecessary. As well, there are fast songs, epic songs, and slow songs, nice variety, and every song (except a couple) shines in its own way.

A few songs stand out in particular. One is Heavy Metal Universe, but not in a good way. Kai, your name is not Eric Adams, and you have no business writing and singing a song that is a blatant ripoff of "The Gods Made Heavy Metal" off of Manowar's Louder Than Hell. Kai's vocals do not suite the style at all, he should stick to power/speed, that's where his strength is. On a more positive note, Garden of the Sinner and Hand of Fate were clear winners, making my fist pierce the air whenever they came on. Epic, marching, and righteous, they mark a more serious, epic sound for Gamma Ray as opposed to the more flippant style of yesteryear. Short As Hell is a heavy metal song that works to Kai's advantage, relying on the darker, more evocational sound rather than the upfront ballsy sound of Heavy Metal Universe, which Kai's vocals sound totally out-of-place. The least he could've done would've been to have Eric guest sing on Heavy Metal Universe.

All in all, Powerplant is indeed a rewarding listen, and is done quite competently. However, I can't give as many points as I'd like to, because of the blatant artistic robbery. I liked Somewhere Out in Space and Land of the Free because Gamma Ray had an unmistakable sound on those, whereas here it's hard to distinguish Gamma Ray from their influences, not counting Kai's singing, which is easily recognizable. The bad news is that it never gets better, which is a shame, because this new sound is indeed more rewarding than their old sound. Too bad it's stolen.