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16
3.4 out of 5 stars
To The Metal
Format: Audio CDChange
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2010
Having read the first review here, I have to disagree completely. This to me is a good return to form for Gamma Ray after the disappointing Land of the Free II (2007).

The tracks contain elements of songs that are familiar to listeners of their previous albums but that provides that layer of comfort for the listener who is after that 'classic' Gamma Ray sound.

Keeping the review simple, this is just a great CD which shows off Gamma Ray at its best. I have it on heavy rotation on my iPod at the moment and envisage that it will remain there for some time to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
To The Metal is the legendary German Power Metal band Gamma Ray's tenth full-length studio album. It was produced by band members Dirk Schlächter and Kai Hansen, and was released in 2010.

Musically, the band spend half of the album carrying on in the same direction that made them famous, and half of the album concentrating on slower material. The last few albums had been criticized for a lack of original ideas, riff-recycling and stealing too much from Maiden and Priest. To The Metal doesn't "steal" quite so much, but it does still sound like Gamma Ray.

Basically everything you like about Gamma Ray anyway is out in full-force; Kai's voice and usual lyrical style is there, the guitar solos last for minutes on end and are of a fabulous standard, there are huge catchy choruses with harmonies and choral backing vocals, there are tasteful and low-in-the-mix keyboards augmenting the music without taking it over, occasional cuts to solo bass or drum fills and everything else you'd expect from a post-Scheepers Gamma Ray album. Michael Kiske even provides guest vocals on the track `All You Need To Know.'

There are still nods to Maiden, Priest and Queen but not quiet as blatantly as on the last few records (including the great Title Track, which evokes the spirit of Judas Priest's `Metal Gods,' without actually ripping it off too much).

Basically, it's a big, virtuosic, melodic Power Metal album. There are a few ballad-sounding tracks and a few slower groovier tracks that make the album as a whole feel slower, but it still picks up speed when it wants to, which is often.

The only thing for me that is an actual point against the record is that production is very loud, in a loudness war kind of way. This may provide a bit of a challenge for fans who prefer the production on their classic albums like Land Of The Free and Somewhere Out In Space.

There is also some debate among fans as to whether the album works better with the tracks in a different order, as the running order is different on different editions of the album (eg. Japanese and American releases differ). In my opinion, with the Japanese running order, the album can feel a bit too back-heavy.

Regardless of what order they arrive in however, stand out tracks include `Shine Forever,' `Chasing Shadows' `Time To Live' and the aforementioned `All You Need To Know' which has a brilliant bouncy, out of control feeling in the verses and a great, cheesy, sugary sweet chorus.

Overall; there are better Gamma Ray albums available, and if you are a new listener it may not be the best album to start off with, but as long as you aren't sick of the band's overall formula too much, and as long as you don't mind the material being a bit slower than usual, then it is a fine addition to the catalogue. It may take a few listens to really appreciate, but the thing is, its just a good album plain and simple. The standard of musicianship is incredible, and there's still lots of interesting material on offer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 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 and the most original one as well. 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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2010
I've been a Gamma Ray fan for a couple of years now. I like their old stuff and I really don't understand the complains about their newer albums. "No world order" was the first I ever heard of this band and I needed to listen to it just once to know that Gamma Ray is the right band for me. To be honest, I did not really enjoy "Majestic" that much... had a couple of really great songs but also some that could not really get to me. However, "Land of the Free II" was an absolutely great album in my opinion. I don't care if there are influences from other bands/songs (Yes, INFLUENCES. It is not like they really copied existing songs. There may be parts that you might have heard somewhere before but still the general sound/atmosphere is completely different) because I'm not a self-proclaimed Metal Messiah who recognizes every guitar riff from somewhere else and understates the album for that.

Well ok, now about my actual review(A review which is not obviously based on a leaked version of this album):
I don't want to review every single song here but I personally found none of the songs to be disappointing. They are mostly rhythmic, melodic, partially heavy and with "No need to cry", the album also offers a beautiful ballad. People who don't like ballads might be disappointed there but hey, there are still 9 other songs.
As my personal favourite I would probably chose "Rise"(Very fast and melodic), "Empathy"(The rhythmic chorus there is really catchy, all in all quite atmospheric) or "Deadlands"(Typical Gamma Ray song). Also the title song "To the metal" is a nice piece of work. Here I agree that it sounds partially like "Metal Gods" from Judas Priest... this song however never really bothered me while "To the metal" is something I really can enjoy so it would also be wrong to say that its the same thing.

All in all I really like Gamma Rays new album. I'm glad that this kind of music still exists and instead of expecting epic masterpieces with each new album release I simply enjoy listening to some good old Heavy/Power - metal.
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on 20 February 2010
After reading the advance reviews I must admit I listened to this album with some trepidation. A minute into the opening track, Rise, I found my foot tapping away unconsciously (always a good sign) and it didn't stop throughout the entire album. As other reviewers have mentioned this isn't in any way an original album, all 10 songs are Gamma Ray doing what they do best with no progression or expansion on previous albums. Personally I don't count this as bad thing, there isn't a weak song on the album and indeed I'd go as far as to say some of them could easily slot into their classic albums without any problem.

Highly recommended if you're a Gamma Ray fan looking for more great songs, just don't expect something new.
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on 6 March 2010
I would not call me Gamma Ray biggest fan, but still it's a band I really appreciate.
Is this new album good? Hell yeah! But it's not as great as some of their previous works.
The track "All You Need to Know" is my absolute favorite. Featuring Michael Kiske's always great vocal abilities, it's a classic Gamma Ray track.

In short, I don't think this will ever be anyone's favorite Gamma Ray album, but it's worth having it in your collection.

I personally recommend the CD+DVD version.
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on 4 February 2010
This is a good album. Enjoyable power metal from start to finish, no truly bad songs. However, the variety and songwriting is VERY typically power metal, and whereas from land of the free to majestic Gamma ray once set power metal trends and bended genre conventions to their own will, they now appear to simply follow the Power metal hoardes. Again, very enjoyable album from the band, but a tad on the typcial side, which is a bit dismaying coming from Gamma Ray.
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on 2 February 2014
kai hansen should be hailed as a god. loved helloween and this is just better. have other cds of gamma ray but this one is the mutts nuts. these should be thought of as the german iron maiden.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2010
Gamma Ray is back with their new studio album called "To The Metal". It features 10 Power Metal songs and two of them are Mid Tempo to Ballad kind of songs.

The album opens up with the "Rise" the intro will remind you of "Clansman" (the Iron Maiden song written in the Virtual XI album) while the chorus will take you back to that of "From The Ashes" found in the previous Gamma Ray album ("Land Of The Free - Part II"). If you ignore those two "elements" this song can be defined as a typical Gamma Ray power metal song.

The second song is called "Deadlands" the title sounds really promising. The keyboard intro is similar to those of "Waiting Counting" of Lake Of Tears and the guitar riff is the same to that of "Beyond This Life" of Dream Theater. Once again if you ignore those "elements" you have a good power metal song with very good guitar solos.

The third song is "Mother Angel" a song that Kai wrote for his mother that passed away last year. This is one of the mid-tempo/ ballad songs of the album. Kai Hansen makes his emotional voice and makes the song worthy. The guitar solos are outstanding as always and song tempo chances from that point forwards.

"No Need To Cry" the second mid-tempo song written by Dirk for his father that also passed away. This song is really emotional because Kai Hansen sings his heart out and also the lyrics are 100% suitable. The let down point of this song is when the classical guitar.

"Empathy" this is a typical Gamma Ray song. There is no need to go into a lot of details. Not too fast and not too slow song. This is what Gamma Ray do best.

"To The Metal" well here we has a direct copy from the "Metal Gods" song written by Judas Priest.

"All You Need To Know" a good power metal song and we have guess vocals by the amazing Michael Kiske. The let down if this song is the chorus which is similar to the "One With The World" by Gamma Ray (at the Sign No More album).

"Time To Live" "Shine Forever" and "Chasing Shadows" are typical Gamma Ray songs. Will make you headbang but once again are similar with a lot of other Gamma Ray songs. Need to bring to your attention that keyboard solo to "Chasing Shadows" is extremely similar to the Stratovarius solos.

As overall we have a quite poor Gamma Ray album that seems to me that there is lack of original ideas. As a die hard fan I am really disappointed with this release.
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