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Better than Land Of The Free II. Energetic but mediocre overall
on 27 January 2010
"To The Metal" is Gamma Ray's latest album after the heavily criticized and IMO weak 'Land Of The Free II'. The main problem with Gamma Ray's previous album was the fact that the band borrowed numerous musical ideas from other bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, while they also recycled some of their older tunes as well. From that perspective "To The Metal" is much more original but still nothing innovative or mindblowing.
The new album is energetic, powerful and contains some of Gamma Ray's best guitar work in recent years. Several songs are fast paced double bass numbers, others are mid tempo heavy metal songs and there are a couple of ballads aswell.
There are several strong songs on offer here. "All You Need To Know" is probably the best track on the album. Fast double bass drumming, speed metal riffs, a catchy melodic metal chorus sang by Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween) and some brilliant guitar solos, round off this great number. Kiske's vocals transport you to the 80's and remind you of how good he sounds when singing songs written by Kai Hansen. The second highlight is the speedy and trademark Gamma Ray song "Rise" with its epic chorus. "Shine Forever" is another good track with aggressive verses and an uplifting chorus. "Time To Live" is a mid-tempo heavy track with a catchy chorus. "Mother Angel" is a fairly good heavy ballad and "Deadlands" is another fast paced power metal song with some amazing guitar work.
The title track is an enjoyable heavy metal song but it unfortunately borrows too many ideas from Judas Priest's Metal Gods, while the ballad "No Need To Cry" is the second weakest track on the album.
A good album overall, but a couple of weak songs together with some borrowed ideas prevent it from receiving a higher rating. Nevertheless, "To The Metal" is a superior release when compared to Gamma Ray's two previous albums.