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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful,melodic, Maiden style metal
This is Gammaray's 4th album,and after the departure of vocalist Ralf Scheepers,founding lead guitarist Kai Hansen takes the mic,and does a fantastic job (a million times better than on helloweens 'walls of jericho')Still the vocalist and guitarist of the band today,his voice is original,and is THE voice of Gammaray.His sng writing is unbelieve able too, the opening 8...
Published on 27 Jan 2002

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gamm Ray!
A friend introduced me to GammaRay via their double live album 'Skeletons in the closet' Up until this point I'd never heard of them. This album's not their best but (Powerplant's my favourite). 'All of the Damened' is a good track as is 'Land of the Free'. They're also a great live act and I would certainly recommend seeing them live.

If you like bands like...
Published on 11 Mar 2007 by SMB Metal


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful,melodic, Maiden style metal, 27 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Land of the Free (Audio CD)
This is Gammaray's 4th album,and after the departure of vocalist Ralf Scheepers,founding lead guitarist Kai Hansen takes the mic,and does a fantastic job (a million times better than on helloweens 'walls of jericho')Still the vocalist and guitarist of the band today,his voice is original,and is THE voice of Gammaray.His sng writing is unbelieve able too, the opening 8 minute epic 'Rebellion in dreamland' is great,filled the the trademark time changes and fast guitar riffs (the middle section sounding very much like Iron Maiden)'Man on a misson' being one of the best tracks,including powerful lyrics and emotional vocals.'Fairytale' is a very quick Maiden style rocker,very short little thing leaving you wanting more. 'All of the damned' one of Hansens best compositions on the album.'Gods of deliverance'is a cool song,very melodic with alot of backing vocals and a helloween esque lead riff.Guitarist Dirk's only souly writen song on this album is a ballad called 'Farewell' very powerful vocals,and basically piano led,with a nice solo in the middle,very soothing and depressing.'Salvations calling' is the only filler on this album,although it still gets your head rattling!,with a big chorus and wonderful melodies,the title track proves to be another one of my favorite tracks.'Abyss of the void'has a slow haunting intro,and then bursts into the power metal master piece that it is! steady rhythm,and this one is one for the headbangers,fantastic guitar playing and complicated drums,also has a great big chorus.Ex helloween vocalist Micheal Kiske sings lead vocals on the song 'Time to break free' one of Hansens weaker songs,but very enjoyable,with some sarcastic well thought through lyrics.The album closes on a low point,a song written about ex helloween drummer Ingo(who commited suicide a few years before)'Afterlife' is a great song,but very sad and melodic.Overall this is hailed as the best Gammaray album,although in my opinon it isn't,but it is very very good,and well worth the money.Powerful vocals,duel guitar melodics,akward rhythms,constant bass rattling,what more does a power metal band need?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece! Considered by many Keeper part III, 5 Jan 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Land of the Free (Audio CD)
Gamma Ray's finest hour! One more milestone of Power Metal after Helloween's Keeper albums! Hansen blows all his competition and Helloween clones out of the water with this one.

Kai Hansen returns with his majestic riffing, crazy leads, insane-fast solos and he is also back on vocals! Don't think for a second that this is a drawback, he has improved a lot since the recording of Walls Of Jericho. His vocals are more worked, clearer and still possess the strength to produce high pitched screams! The rest of the band is in really great form especially the drummer, who almost never lifts his foot off the double bass and pounds his tombs like crazy.

The arrangements are of epic proportions reminding of past glories and at some parts even surpassing them. The guest appearances of Michael Kiske and Hansi Kursch on 3 tracks add extra points to the brilliance of this release and remind you of the classic 80's Helloween era!

"Rebellion In Dreamland" starts of the album in a ballad form picking up speed as it progresses. Mind blowing riffs and solos, tempo changes and a really powerful chorus make this track a masterpiece and the most epic song that Gamma Ray ever put out! "Man On A Mission" comes next, reaching insane speeds which bring to mind good old speed metal. It is comprised of fantasy lyrics, a smart chorus and fast soloing (the song reminds me of 'Save Us' from Keeper II). "Fairytale" follows, an incredible pounding track which only lasts for 50 seconds and leaves you wanting more! After a short instrumental break comes "Gods Of Deliverance" and is mainly maintained by it's catchy chorus and Kai's vocals, a nice track. The next two tracks are nothing special as one of them is a ballad; a field were Gamma Ray were never really good at and the other being a faster track but with nothing special to give.

"Land Of The Free" follows; which is definitely the second best masterpiece of the album (after Rebellion In Dreamland). Great riffs, one of the best choruses Hansen has ever written and the guest appearance of both Kiske and Kursch on the chorus will surely make you shiver. Add some solo battles and Kiske's vocals at the song's majestic ending and you have a classic tune! After another short instrumental comes "Abyss Of The Void", another strong track with nice vocals by Kai, followed by "Time To Break Free" which is sang entirely by Kiske and it is a catchy heavy metal track. "Afterlife" is the last track, a power ballad type song dedicated to Ingo Schwichtenberg (Helloween's drummer 1985-1993), a strange track with deep lyrics.

In my opinion this album together with Helloween's Keeper albums are a must have concerning European power metal and they are also linked together musically and lyric wise. These records paved the way for all the rest of the bands that followed and their glory and musical perfection has never been reached.

Will be love by Helloween, Blind Guardian, Stratovarius and power metal fans in general.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power metal perfection, 25 Dec 2010
By 
Hedon (Eternal Night) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Land of the Free (Audio CD)
Kai Hansen has made one hell of a contribution to heavy metal. He was a founding member of the legendary Helloween and played on their best albums, he had a good run with Iron Saviour, he made Gamma Ray one of the best in the genre, been a guest musician on so many quality albums from the likes of Blind Guardian and Avantasia and has inspired young men all over the world to grow their hair long and pick up the guitar. Seriously, this dude deserves some kind of lifetime achievers award. Chief among his many contibutions to the world of metal, in my book, is Land of the Free, which is not only the best album Kai has ever been involved with, but an outright contender for best power metal album ever recorded. While that may seem like a tall order, from the opening bars of Rebellion in a Dreamland to the sombre closing of The Afterlife represent on of the greatest experiences i've had listening to any band of this type.

The thing about Land of the Free is that everything just comes together beautifully. Kai had matured wonderfully as a guitarist and a composer, playing with the same technicallity and stunning ability he showed on earlier Helloween albums while mixing in a tasteful slab of Maiden/Priest melodies but also encorporating it all into some wonderfully epic compositions with expert songwriting. Its technical and fast, but also has slower and groovy bits. It's got plenty prog elements, interludes and twists and turns, but it's also got plenty hooks and choruses that make it memorable. It's pretty much got everything. Throw in some tasteful overdubbing that's remeniscient of Queen and Blind Guardian (ironic, as Helloween influenced them a hell of a lot) and you've got a stormer of a power metal album that represents a near perfect balance of cheese, shred and epicness. And while the album is a wet dream for guitar fans, the rest of the band are no slackers either. Thomas Nack puts in a great performance behind the drum kit (Man on a Mission in particular) and Jans Rubach backs it up with some tight bass playing and throws in some nice licks and riffs of his own. Cap it all off with Hansen giving one of the best vocal performances of the decade with his distinctive yet technically suberb range - his vocal harmonies are freaking awesome. Whether its huge choir-sounding stuff or just simple too part harmonies, Hansen gives this album a near mystical sound with his singing and really pushes this album on to even greater heights. Land of the Free is some serious meat for any metal hunger fans out there. Even so, the album is more then just the some of it's parts. It's just got that X factor in abundance and riffs to die for.

It's hard to pic favourites coz all the songs have so much quality to them, but standouts include the Maiden-worship of the 8 minute epic Rebellion in a Dreamland, the fast and catchy Man on a Mission (with epic falsetto breakdown), Salvations Calling with it's great chorus and the collosal anthem of the title track do come to mind when i think about Land of the Free. It's also cool to hear Michael Kiske and Hansi Kursch singing on a few tracks too. Throw in the fact that you can get this baby remastered with bonus tracks as well and there's really no good reason while any fan of melodic metal should not have this album.

Some cds are good. Some great. Some Fantastic. Some are genre-defining. This is one of those. Land of the Free is a milestone release both for Gamma Ray and for power metal as a whole. Yes, I do think this is on a par with the best it has to offer, and can be thought of as an equal to the likes of Blind Guardian's Imaginations from the Other Side and Helloween's Keeper of the Seven Keys 1 & 2. If you've got any interest in this type of music then you've probably already got Land of the Free. If you haven't, it's definitely time to discover a timeless classic.

Highly recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gamma Ray - Land Of The Free, 24 Jan 2013
By 
Gentlegiantprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Land of the Free (Audio CD)
In 1995, the legendary German Power Metal band Gamma Ray released Land Of The Free, a seminal album for both the band and the genre that has since gone on to be thought of fondly as a classic, and which remains one of the fan's favourite Gamma Ray albums. It was one of the band's most commercially and critically successful albums too, coming at just the right time in Heavy Metal's timeline to catch an anti-grunge zeitgeist of fans who missed this sort of music.

After three albums with singer Ralf Scheepers (who left to try and join Judas Priest, and later formed Primal Fear); Kai Hansen, who was already the band's guitarist and primary songwriter, stepped up to take over the now vacant lead vocals position. A position Kai had not held full-time in a band since Helloween's 1985 debut record Walls Of Jericho a decade earlier.

In addition to Kai; Michael Kiske, the former lead singer of Helloween, who had worked with Kai on their incredibly influential and beloved Keeper Of The Seven Keys albums, provides guest vocals on two tracks. Furthermore Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian provides guest vocals on three tracks.

Musically, the album is a masterpiece. It has just the right blend of all of the band's influences and stylistic leanings, and has become for many fans the definitive Gamma Ray album. The direction, performances and lyrics of the album are all huge, overblown, over the top and bursting out of the speakers. The harmonies are big, the solos are blistering, the choruses are memorable, and when the band thrash, they thrash hard.

The first two tracks alone, the progressive `Rebellion In Dreamland' and the absolutely furious `Man On A Mission' are two of the best tracks that the band ever written.

The rest of the album is just as exciting; the standard of lead guitar is really something special, the additional tasteful keys from multi-instrumentalist/producer Sascha Paeth add a great tone and additional depth to the songs, the production perfectly serves the music perfectly and the band manage to come up with a diverse collection of songs that covers enough ground to stay fresh and interesting throughout, but with enough commonalities to flow cohesively.

If you like bands like Rainbow, Queen, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest as well as early Helloween, this album should stimulate a lot of those parts of your brain, sonically referencing them, without at this point directly ripping them off (something the band would later get accused of on subsequent records).

Its difficult to hear energetic and entertaining tracks like `Gods Of Deliverance,' and `Time To Break Free' or indeed the emotional progressive ballad `Farewell' (about Helloween drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg's suicide) and not be captivated. This is simply one of those albums that's better than the sum of its parts and has that extra something that makes it a classic.

No fan of the band, or any band Kai Hansen has been involved in, should be without this record. I highly recommend it to fans of Power Metal, as well as to any general Metal fans at all, if you love ambitious compositions, energy, conviction and virtuosity then you should at least give it a chance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best power metal album ever?, 20 July 2010
This review is from: Land of the Free (Audio CD)
The best power metal album ever - Well at least that's my opinion. The other 5 star reviews give it justice and to my mind GR never quite made it to this level again. Lots of further 5 star albums, but just nothing quite at this level ever again.

I have a number of versions of the CD with different bonus tracks. However it does not matter which version you get, just get one and listen.

Abyss of the Void, Rebellion in Dreamland, Man on a Mission; can a metal album be better than this?

If you have not heard of them before, then this is the one album to give them a go with. Start at the beginning and just enjoy!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gamm Ray!, 11 Mar 2007
By 
SMB Metal (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Land Of The Free (Audio CD)
A friend introduced me to GammaRay via their double live album 'Skeletons in the closet' Up until this point I'd never heard of them. This album's not their best but (Powerplant's my favourite). 'All of the Damened' is a good track as is 'Land of the Free'. They're also a great live act and I would certainly recommend seeing them live.

If you like bands like Iron Maiden, Hammerfall & Dragon Force you'll like GammaRay.
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Land of the Free
Land of the Free by Gamma Ray (Audio CD - 2001)
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