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CD review THE UNITY "The Unity"

Veröffentlicht am 25. April 2017 von Markus W. in The Unity, Gamma Ray, Heavy Metal, Melodic Metal, News, CD Review, Hardrock, Classic Rock

(8/10) A real interesting new project takes off on May 5th, when The Unity releases their self-titled debut. This powerhouse from Germany bridges hardrock and melodic metal with 12 songs that are highly entertaining.

The Unity is the brainchild of two Gamma Ray member – Henjo Richter (g) and Michael Ehré (d). Not only that both musicians are part of one of the most successful melodic metal bands, the guys also found a very solid common ground when it comes to music and personal level. The seed that planted into this fruitful soil was a high level creativity that even goes beyond Gamma Ray. It was over time when The Unity developed without having had a distinct starting point. The further the two metal passionistas evolved their idea the more important it became to find more partner is crime to complete a line-up for The Unity.

Talented singer Gianba Manenti joined the team. Bassist Jogi Sweers did the same and after also having keyboarder Sascha Onnen plus guitarist Stef E. on board the band was ready to rock.

What ready to rock means is what this six-piece band clearly states on this debut. The ten songs are well-crafted melodic metal anthems that can be seen as ear-treats for fans of band like Gamma Ray and Stratovarius.

“Rise and Fall”, the opener, takes no prisoners, being a strong statement in the beginning of an album that's amazing. Screaming guitars kicks in right from the start of this uptempo song that’s a perfect hybrid of melody and heaviness.

Next to the fast tracks there are moderate paced anthems on the album too, of which “God of Temptation” is one. Also the following “Firesign” comes with a medium-based tempo by being a mighty smasher that includes all the trademarks of The Unity.

Another song that creates excitement is the melodic rocker “The Wishing Well” which reminds of bluesy hardrock a la Whitesnake and also “Redeemer” belongs to the best hardrock can offer, including a chorus that brought Rainbow to my mind.

To conclude, “The Unity” is a very entertaining and powerful melodic metal release that lives by its freshness and dynamic. This album features music that’s build on passion that’s skillfully embedded in ten excellent metal songs.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Rise And Fall
  2. No More Lies
  3. God of Temptation
  4. Firesign
  5. Always Just You
  6. Close To Crazy
  7. The Wishing Well
  8. Edens Fall
  9. Redeemer
  10. Super Distortion
  11. Killer Instinct
  12. Never Forget

 

Label: Steamhammer/SPV

Genre: Melodic Metal

Release Date EU: May 5th, 2017

 

CD review THE UNITY "The Unity"
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Sensational news from HELLOWEEN: 'Pumpkins United'!

Veröffentlicht am 14. November 2016 von Markus W. in Helloween, Gamma Ray, News, Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, Power Metal, Tour, Revival, Pumpkins United

This is sensational news for all Helloween fans - especially for the ones of you that follow the band since the very early days.

What was announced on the bands webpage sounds almost too good to be true. Weikarth, Hansen, Kiske and Grosskopf will embark on a world tour playing Helloween classics together on one stage. These four guys are also supported by the rest of the current band members which means that Andy Deris, Sascha Gerstner and Dani Loeble are part of this unqiue line-up as well.

What's announced so far is that this package will tour through South America, Europe Asia and North America with a tour start on October 28th in Sao Paolo.

For more detailed information please check the link below and stay tuned for updates...

 

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New video and more details of HANSEN & FRIENDS

Veröffentlicht am 3. August 2016 von Markus W. in Kai Hansen, Hansen & Friends, Helloween, Gamma Ray, News, Video, HardHea, Power Metal, Hamburg

New video and more details of HANSEN & FRIENDS

As reported earlier Kai Hansen worked on his solo debut under the banner of Hansen & Friends. The iconic guitarist from Hamburg worked together with Eike Freese on guitar, Heaven Shall Burn guitarist Alex Dietz on bass and Carcass' Dan Wilding on drums.

The album will be released on September 16th and come via earMUSIC/Edel. The title is "XXX Three Decades in Metal", a name that says it all.

Hansen will perform the songs from his solo debut at this years Waken festival for the first time live and a teaser of the record is already online. "Born Free" is the first song that was unveiled and it's an awesome piece of metal. "Born in Hamburg in 1963..." - words that couldn't have been chosen better.

"Born Free" is a brilliant metal anthem that sticks as a wet spaghetti to the wall. Great riffs, a melodic chorus and a powerful arrangement makes this tune to a true headbanger. Take a look at the video.

 

New video and more details of HANSEN & FRIENDS
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CD review GAMMA RAY "Insanity and Genius" (Anniversary Edition)

Veröffentlicht am 18. Mai 2016 von Markus W. in Gamma Ray, News, Power Metal, Speed Metal, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Kai Hansen

(9/10) New cover, many extras and also a full remastering, done by Eike Freese, that's "Insanity and Genius" from Gamma Ray in the anniversary edition.

I guess that the most of you are familiar with the album. However, here comes a short view back in time. "Insanity and Genius" is Kai Hansen's third album, done with his band Gamma Ray. It's the first release with a new rhythm section. Jan Rubach and Thomas Neck replaced Uli Kusch and Uwe Wessel, and it was Rubach who also contributed immediately with a song for the new album. He was the main responsible for title track and also parts of "Tribute to the Past" have been written by the bassist.

"Insanity and Genius" ignited the next level of this multilevel metal rocket from Germany, an album that became especially successful in Japan. Gamma Ray reached a next peak in their success story that lifted even more relaxed hanseatic humbleness to a next state of euphoria.

Something special with "Insanity and Genius" was the fact that it was the last studio recording with Ralf Scheepers who left the band one year later for joining Primal Fear.

We can conclude that this album was a crucial one for Gamma Ray which set the foundation for the successful years to come.

As a cherry on the cake also this anniversary edition comes with a second CD which includes song performed live at Chameleon Studios in 2016, some demo versions with Scheepers plus an excellent version of Judas Priest's "Exciter".

All in all a great album of one of the most influential German metal bands. 25 years of Gamma Ray and hopefully another 25 years to come.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist
CD1 – Studio album

  1. Tribute To The Past
  2. No Return
  3. Last Before The Storm
  4. The Cave Principle
  5. Future Madhouse
  6. Gamma Ray
  7. Insanity And Genius
  8. 18 Years
  9. Your Tørn Is Over
  10. Heal Me
  11. Brothers

CD2 – Bonus CD

  1. Valley Of The Kings (Live At Chameleon Studios 2016)
  2. Heaven Can Wait (Live At Chameleon Studios 2016)
  3. Gamma Ray (Extended Version)
  4. Money (Demo with Ralf Scheepers)
  5. Silence (Demo with Ralf Scheepers)
  6. Sail On (Demo with Ralf Scheepers)
  7. Space Eater (Rough Mix Horus studio)
  8. Exciter (Judas Priest Cover)

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Power Metal

Release Date EU: May 6th, 2016

CD review GAMMA RAY "Insanity and Genius" (Anniversary Edition)
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CD review GAMMA RAY "Lust For Live" (Anniversary Edition)

Veröffentlicht am 18. Mai 2016 von Markus W. in Gamma Ray, Kai Hansen, News, CD Review, Power Metal, Speed Metal, Melodic Metal, Heavy Metal

(8/10) As a part of the 25-years party Gamma Ray re-releases their albums as an anniversary edition. The start of this series was already done a few months ago, followed now by the second wave. One of the real highlights in this cycle is "Lust For Live".

The original release was, as the older ones can remember, a VHS release, which means video only. Here and now it's the first time, that "Lust For Live" is available in an audio format.

Remastered by Eike Freese, the album show Gamma Ray at its best. The recordings are from 1993, a time when the first three records have been released and the first Gamma Ray peak was on full speed ahead. The band was in an euphoric state at that time, something that is very well captured on this recording. Adrenaline was for sure something that was very present with everybody invloved at that night.

It has been the Docks in Hamburg that have been the scenery for this recording. Hamburg means, home game for Kai Hansen and his gang, something that can be felt by listening to the album.

Talking about 'his gang', "Lust For Live" is the last release that includes Ralf Scheppers on vocals.

And last but not least, the audio release includes "Heading for Tomorrow/Dream Healer", a track that was missing on the VHS.

"Lust For Live" features 80 minutes of finest German metal. It's an album that is for sure for collectors, but it's also a good retrospective on the first years of one of the most successful German metal bands.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist

  1. Intro
  2. Tribute To The Past
  3. No Return
  4. Space Eater
  5. Changes
  6. Insanity And Genius
  7. Last Before The Storm
  8. Heal Me
  9. I Want Out / Future World / Ride The Sky
  10. Future Madhouse
  11. Heading For Tomorrow / Dream Healer (Bonus Track)
  12. Gamma Ray (Bonus Track)

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Power Metal

Release Date EU: May 6th, 2016

CD review GAMMA RAY "Lust For Live" (Anniversary Edition)
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Live review GAMMA RAY/SERIOUS BLACK/NEONFLY, 013, Tilburg, 09.12.2015

Veröffentlicht am 12. Dezember 2015 von Markus W. in Gamma Ray, Serious Black, Neonfly, Power Metal, Heavy Metal, Live Review, News, Speed Metal, NWoBHM

I have been a few times to the legendary 013 in Tilburg, but I haven't seen the venue since they finalized the renovation works. Actually it was more a rebuild than a renovation. The result is impressive. The acoustic was always great but I have the feeling it became even better in the new setup.

Tonight it was Gamma Ray that had a stop in Brabant. The guys filled the air of the Jupiler Zaal, which is the smaller of the two halls, with their metal.

But before the guys from Hamburg started their show it has been up to two support bands warming up the crowd.

Neonfly from London made the start. Their 30 minutes long set was the right thing to gett into this metal night. Power metal, that is what the guys play and they did a quite energetic show. Things that stood out have been the excellent singer Willy Norton that was, next to his good singing, also a great entertainer. He did everything to brings the fans up to temperature. Next to him it was six stringer Fredrick Thunder; a guy that is a good guitarist but the focus went more on his Inca-like feather outfit. In the beginning it was just a few of them around his arm. It became more during the show and ended up in a feather headdress at the end.

After such a start it was up to Serious Black to bring even more energy into the crowd. It has been already many fans in front of the stage when the multinational five-piece started their show, something that shows that the guys are well-known even with one album released yet. Serious Black played their show without any gimmicks which was a clear contrast to Neonfly - and they haven't had a need for decoration. Their powerful metal is good enough to convince. Dominik Sebastian and band mates set down a cool show with great metal posing. Their melodic metal fitted perfect the songs of the headliner. Mostly taken from the bands debut the show had also some instrumental parts that included a jam session with a few notes of "Rock you like a hurricane" and " I Was Made For Loving You" as the cherry on the pie. All in all a solid metal twister that went through the 013 for 45 minutes. Good stuff.

Having metioned the Scorpions: they became 40 this year. Gamma Ray isn't that long in business but there was still something to celebrate. It was the bands 25th anniversary which means a quater of a century of cool melodic power metal from Northern Germany. That's very much worth for having a party. 

I think that Gamma Ray and esp. creator Kai Hansen reflect the Hansestadt very well. If you have ever been to Altona, St.Pauli and Sternschanze you get a feeling for the city at the Alster. This town is creative, grounded, open-minded and honest. Gamma Ray stands for all this too.

The band loved to play live; something that was obvious every minute. The guys didn't get detached from reality after having been so successful of the last 2,5 decades. They stand with both feet on the ground. Again, they love playing metal and not for nothing the guys performed almost two hours.

Creativity and openess comes back in each of the tunes, incl. a reggae part embedded in "I Want Out".

Something I was curious about was how the band intergrated their new singer Frank Beck. I can conclude: all good. Hansen took the lead vocals in the beginning of the set before he introduced the new kid in town.

Beck did an excellent job. Two years ago the guy stood as a fan in the audience and now he his with Hansen & Co. on stage and you could feel that he fits perfect into the group. And that his voice goes together with the one from Hansen is what the guys proved during the entire show.

Kai Hansen is the mainman and the brain of the band. Therefore he deserves some spotlight. But he is also giving enough space to his band mates. Michael Ehré did a cool drum solo followed by a bass performance by Dirk Schlächter. That Henjo Richter got also his moments on second guitar goes without saying. Gamma Ray is one of the most influential German power metal acts. The last records made this very clear and the gig in Tilburg showed very well why the guys are in business for such a long time.

I think that everybody who watched this show was highly satisfied. The fans went wild during the show; clapping, singing and headbanging.

This evening was pure metal and hopefully we will get another 25 years of metal from the Hanseatic rockers.

Live review GAMMA RAY/SERIOUS BLACK/NEONFLY, 013, Tilburg, 09.12.2015

Setlist:

  1. Intro ("Bad Reputation" - Joan Jett)
  2. Welcome
  3. Heaven Can Wait
  4. Last Before the Strom
  5. Fight
  6. One With the Wold
  7. I Want Out
  8. Vally of the Kings
  9. Drum Solo
  10. Bass Solo
  11. Induction
  12. Dethrone Tyranny
  13. Master of Confusion
  14. Rebellin in Dreamland / Heavy Metal Universe / Ride the Sky
  15. Somewhere Out in Space
  16. Land of the Free (Encore)
  17. Send Me a Sign (Encore)

 

Location: 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Date: 09.12.2015

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CD review GAMMA RAY "Sign no more" (Anniversary edition)

Veröffentlicht am 21. September 2015 von Markus W. in Gamma Ray, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, News, CD Review, Helloween, Speed Metal

(10/10) Already one year after the fantastic debut, Gamma Ray released their second full-length longplayer. Could the new founded band live up to the high expectations they set with "Heading for tomorrow"? Already the first songs made very clear, that Gamma Ray is back even stronger. "Sign no more" came with 10 new songs that have been better than what we heard on the very well perceived debut - a fact that surprised even more since there have been some line-up changes too at that time. "Sign no more" was the first album with Dirk Schlächter. First on the six-string, later on playing bass, Schlächter is still member of the band and an important pillar in the Gamma Ray construction.

"Sign no more" comes with an even higher density of metal classics than the highly appreciated debut. The high-pace "Rich and famous" is still one of my most favorite Gamma Ray songs and the same goes for the power ballad "Father and son". And last but not least the album contains with "Dream Healer" one of the best Gamma Ray songs ever.

Again, those songs have went through a re-mastering and like it was with the debut it's the tracks on CD 2 that are the 'cream topping' when it comes to this anniversary edition. Demo sing with Kai doing the vocals plus some live recordings found a spot on this disc. Little highlight for me is the "One with the world" recording from the Wacken 2001 show, when the well-known open air was far less big than it is today. All those add-ons make the re-release to something special that should at least be a 'must' for each die-hard Gamma Ray fan.

 

(10/10)

 

Tracklist:

CD 1:

  1. Changes
  2. Rich and famous
  3. As time goes by
  4. (We won't) Stop the war
  5. Father and son
  6. One with the world
  7. Start running
  8. Countdown
  9. Dream healer
  10. The spirit
  11. Sail on (Live)
  12. Changes (Live)

CD 2:

  1. One with the world (Live at Waken 2001)
  2. Dream healer (Live in Montreal 2006)
  3. Changes (Blast from the past version)
  4. One with the world (Blast from the past version)
  5. Dream healer (Blast from the past version)
  6. Heroes (Pre-production)
  7. Dream healer (Pre-production)
  8. As time goes by (Pre-production - Kai on vocals)
  9. We won't stop the war (Pre-production - Kai on vocals)
  10. Dream healer (Demo - Kai on vocals)
  11. ​Rich and famous (Demo - Kai on vocals)

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Power Metal

Release Date EU: September 25th, 2015

 

CD review GAMMA RAY "Sign no more" (Anniversary edition)
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CD review GAMMA RAY "Heading for the East" (Anniversary edition)

Veröffentlicht am 19. September 2015 von Markus W. in Gamma Ray, Primal Fear, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Speed Metal, News, CD Review, Live

(8/10) Another highlight of Gamma Ray's anniversary releases is the live album called "Heading for the East". The longplayer was recorded in November 1990 and contains a show that was performed in Tokyo, Japan. The original release was on VHS (for younger readers: this was the predecessor of a DVD). "Heading for the East" was never released on vinyl or on CD; at least to my knowledge. This means that the CD version is a great thing for each Gamma Ray fan. Finally this pretty cool show is available as audio publishing.

Most of the songs are from the band's debut "Heading for tomorrow", plus a few Helloween songs that have been performed that night too. Esp. to listen to "Ride the sky" from Helloween's ""Walls of Jericho" album  is great experience. Another highlight, actuall THE highlight, on this live album is the last song. The debut's title track "Heading for tomorrow" was extended to a fabulous 24 minutes version that puts a spell on you. When it comes to me, this is one of the best versions of  this song ever.

The sound of the album is pretty good, esp. considering that it was recorded in the 90's when 'digital' was more something scary than common. "Heading for the East" sound authentic, by still having a diversified sound with a good mix. That's how a live album has to be.

Even if you might call some if Gamma Ray later releases your own it is worth to invest the money for this longplayer. The joy of listening to the band in an early stage with Ralf Scheppers on vocals and Hansen focussing on guitar is a great onw.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

CD 1:

  1. Intro
  2. Lust for life
  3. Heaven can wait
  4. Space eater
  5. Free time
  6. Who do you think you are

CD 2:

  1. The silence
  2. Save us
  3. I want out
  4. Ride the sky/Hold your ground
  5. Money
  6. Heading for tomorrow

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Power Metal

Release Date EU: September 25th, 2015

CD review GAMMA RAY "Heading for the East" (Anniversary edition)
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GAMMA RAY on tour

Veröffentlicht am 7. Juli 2015 von Markus W. in Gamma Ray, Serious Black, Power Metal, Tour, News, Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, Party, positiveday

Iconic Hamburg-based metal band Gamma Ray will be on tour towards the end of this year. The header for the shows is "Best of the best - Party tour 2015" which is a celebration tour of 25 years of Gamma Ray.

The guys will be supported by Serious Black. All in all a package you shouldn't miss.

GAMMA RAY on tour
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CD review GAMMA RAY "The best of Gamma Ray"

Veröffentlicht am 25. Januar 2015 von Markus W. in Gamma Ray, Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, Thrash Metal, CD Review, News, Unisonic, Helloween, Rock

(*/10) It’s always a good signal if a band is many many years in business. And it’s also a good thing to celebrate certain anniversaries. German metal enthusiasts from Gamma Ray are around since 25 years and it feels like yesterday when I heard their debut “Heading for tomorrow”.

As being a Helloween fan from the early days it was a sad moment when the announcement was revealed that Kai Hansen will leave the band. But the tears dried quite fast when I heard the first songs from the guitar maniac from Hamburg which he released together with his new band Gamma Ray. The debut “Heading for tomorrow” was and is still a masterpiece of metal; enriched by the vocals of Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) in those early days.

To celebrate the bands 25th anniversary Gamma Ray will release a “Best off…” album that contains 25 songs. All of them are hand-picked by Kai Hansen and reflect all eras of the band.  The first single “Heaven can wait” is on the album as well as the Priest-like “Hellbent” from the 2014 release “Empire of the undead”.

There are not that many extras coming with the album. All songs have been re-mastered by Eike Freese and Hansen added some liner notes too. That’s it.

But you can look forward to some bonus material and extensive booklets, since all Gamma Ray records will be re-released during 2015 containing the mentioned benefits. So it will be a lot of Gamma Ray during the year.

However, the “Best of…” album gives value for money and is a great retrospective on the discography of the Hamburger Jungs. And IF someone doesn’t know the band so far, it is a great first touchpoint with the four-piece group.

25 years Gamma Ray, 25 songs, endless metal.

 

(*/10)

 

Tracklist:

CD 1:

  1. Armageddon
  2. Heaven can wait
  3. Hellbent
  4. Dream healer
  5. Land of the free
  6. To the metal
  7. Somewhere out in space
  8. Real world
  9. Induction
  10. Dethrone tyranny
  11. Rebellion
  12. Heading for tomorrow

CD 2:

  1. Eagle
  2. Avalon
  3. Man on a mission
  4. The spirit
  5. Tribute to the past
  6. Empathy\
  7. Valley of the kings
  8. Lust for life
  9. Master of confusion
  10. Blood religion
  11. Time to break free
  12. Insurrection
  13. Send me a sign

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Heavy Metal

CD review GAMMA RAY "The best of Gamma Ray"
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CD review NEOPERA "Destined ways"

Veröffentlicht am 20. Juli 2014 von Markus W. in Neopera, Gamma Ray, Dark Age, Symphonic Metal, Heavy Metal, Rock, CD Review, Yngwie Malmsteen, News

(8/10) Rocking news from Hamburg. The city, which is known as the native town from bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray and Dark Age, to name just a few of them, revealed a new band/project. The name: Neopera. Nomen et omen when it comes to the band. Neopera combines metal with classical music. I would say that "Destined ways" can be seen as a rock/metal opera in the best sense of the word. 

But let's start from the beginning. Jörn Schubert, by the way lead guitarist at Dark Age, had an interest in classical music before he started to explore metal music by listen e.g. to Judas Priests "Painkiller. The first idea of merging both genres came when he listened to Malmsteen's "Marching out".  He liked the idea of this kind of melange, but he wanted to let it sound slightly fifferent than what he heard from the Swedish guitar wizard, but also from bands like Nightwish. 

It was already in 2010 when Schubert started to realize his dream. The first important step was to find some musicians which could help him in this project. The first one was Dirk Schlächter from Gamma Ray who joined. With Nina Jiers and Thorsten Schuck two experienced singers joined Neopera and everything got more shape and form.

The result of all this is the debut of Neopera which is called "Destined ways". It's a refreshing way of interpreting the often stressed word of "Symphonic Metal. It sounds to me more complete and thought through. Doubtless there are some song (-fragments) like "Remote" which show parallels to Dark Age. Not a big surprise thinking about the fact that Schubert is since many years a crucial part in the Dark Age songwriting process. What makes the album interesting is the mix between heavy stuff like the opener "The marvel of chimera" and the six minutes long "The greed" on one side and the operatic songs like e.g. "Falling water" and "Last pantomine" on the other side. A real musical delicacy is the title track. It's a real heavy metal riff that kicks-off the track. Great vocal lines give the tune a special charm, while the Malmsteen-like solo from Schubert half way shows where the inspiration for the album comes from.

The sound of the album is powerful and organic. The production definitely supports the expression of the music in an excellent way. Eike Freese did a good job. 

What I like with the album is the consequent way Schubert goes with his roject. He doesn't only add a classical touch to metal music. He really merged both genres and created an interesting album which has a lot of things to discover. I'm already curious how this will work on the Wacken stage this year.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The marvel of chimera
  2. A call to arms
  3. Remote
  4. Destined ways
  5. Falling water
  6. The greed
  7. Error
  8. Last pantomine
  9. Equilibria
  10. Requiem
  11. Song of revenge
  12. The unspeakable

 

Label: earMusic/Edel

Genre: Symphonic Metal

CD review NEOPERA "Destined ways"
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CD review UNISONIC "Light of dawn"

Veröffentlicht am 10. Juli 2014 von Markus W. in Unisonic, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Power Metal, Heavy Metal, Melodic Metal, CD Review, News

(9/10) I wanted to try writing this review without mentioning Helloween. I failed in the first sentence. 

Unisonic is back with a new album. This is great news. What started more as a project from Michael Kiske (v), Kai Hansen (g), Mandy Meyer (g), Dennis Ward (b) and Kosta Zafiriou (d) became obviously more than just a 'one time thing'. I think that the guys have been overwehlmed by the success of the 2012 debut too. Already the first EP called "Ignition" already started the fire which was fed by the full-length record. 

The new album called "Light of dawn" continues the journey which Unisonoc started two years ago. It's another masterpiece of melodic metal with 12 metal anthems, one better than the other.

After an intro called "Venite 2.0" the album starts with the first real song. A massive drum beat kicks off the track. The opener is a fast metal song with screaming guitars and the typcial Kiske vocals. It's so good to hear him again making this kind of music. His voice is a gift - for him and the listener. "Your time has come" brings you immediately into the world of Unisonic. After the slower "Exeptional" my personal highlight starts. You might know "For your kingdom" already from the EP. The starting riff from Hansen is just awesome. The song keeps the speed and is real metal. Unisonic would not be Unsisonic if they would not be able to also add a catchy melody to the tune too. It's the chorus taking mainly care about the melody and the harmony. The heaviest track on the album and a tornado of sound. "Find shelter", a song which comes a bit later on the tracklist, picks up the same pattern. Those masterpieces are gorgeous and I would wish to get more of this kind of songs. Just listen to the guitar sound; it's heavy like hell. 

But there are other remarkable tracks too. "Night of the long knives" is one of them. Kept a bit slower it's a melodic rocker with good hooklines and a merciless pushing rhythm section. Listening to this song made clear why Kiske was considered as future singer from Iron Maiden. He is, together with Bruce Dickinson, on of the best metal singers. Also to mention is the power ballad "Blood". An acoustic guitar kicks off the song before Kiske joins in with the vocals. "Blood" builds up along the way to a more rocking song which couldn't be done better.  The 'real' ballad on the album is called "You and I". It's a great rock song which expresses a lot of passion and dedication. Thumbs up, since also all the common cliches are avoided. It's just a beautiful song. For one or another reason I was reminded to John Denver's "Take me home, country road". But that's more a side note.

I think, that the secret of Unisonic is the fact, that all the guys don't have the need to prove something to themselves or the fans. They know about their capabilities and they obviously enjoy what they are doing. The result speaks for itself. One of the metal highlights this year and a serious candidat for one of the best ten records in 2014. A must for each metal collection.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Venite 2.0
  2. Your time has come
  3. Exceptional
  4. For the kingdom
  5. Not gonna take anymore
  6. Night of the long knives
  7. Find shelter
  8. Blood
  9. When the deed is done
  10. Throne of the dawn
  11. Manhunter
  12. You and I
  13. Judgement day

 

Label: ear Music

Genre: Melodic Metal

CD review UNISONIC "Light of dawn"
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CD review GAMMA RAY "Empire of the undead"

Veröffentlicht am 28. März 2014 von Markus W. in Gamma Ray, Speed Metal, CD Review, Heavy Metal, News

(9/10) The pre-conditions for the new Gamma Ray album haven't been really good. You all heard about the disaster which happened in Hamburg. In November last year a fire destroyed the entire Hammer Studios in Hamburg. What a shock. And I guess it was even a bigger shock for the band being on tour in South America at that time.

The only good thing was that the first recording for the new album haven't been destroyed. The same goes actually for most of the equipment and Hansen's guitars. Since the own studio wasn't existing anymore Gamma Ray decided to record in the Chameleon Studio in the Hansestadt. In the end Kai Hansen's reflection is that all the sad experience made the band even stronger.

Photo: Alexander Mertsch (Promo)

Photo: Alexander Mertsch (Promo)

Let's have a look into the new songs. The beginning is already a surprise. Not that many bands are brave enough to open with a more than nine minutes long epos. But Gamma Ray don't care about those details and have with "Avalon" an excellent first song. An tune which is convincing. I was reminded in some part to the band classic "Heading for tomorrow". The contrast to "Hellbent", which is also the first single release, could be bigger. Tune number two is a straight to the point speed metal track which includes all trademarks of the band like heavy riffs, fast soli and an awesome melody. The chorus reminds to Judas Priest "Hell bent for leather" which is not only based on the fact that the songtitels sound similar. "Pale rider" follows another pattern. The track grooves like hell, is kept on midpace and reminds from the guitars to Accept. "Master of confusion" is another fave of mine (actually I like all the songs). It's a song Helloween never wrote again after the famous "Keeper..." records. It also shows how important Hansen was for the songwriting of the pumkins gang. "Empire of the undead" just blows you away. High speed metal with exciting riffs and screaming guitar. It's like a tornado of tones. The first moment to breath is when you reached "Time for deliverence". After all those smashers also a needed break. The song is a beautiful half ballad which builds up along the way and becomes more rocking towards the end. The last three songs are also pretty good, but stand a bit back behind the earlier mentioned tunes. Most of the other bands in this genre would wish to have those songs on their albums, but for Gamma Ray it almost feels a bit like standard stuff. But those songs can't limit the very positiv impression of this record. Not at all.

"Empire of the undead" proves again that Gamma Ray doesn't get stuck in stereotypes. The album convinces with great songs and a big variety of styles by not denying the trademarks of the band. Gamma Ray has it's own identity and strengthen it even more with "Empire of the undead".

I'm very happy that after all the difficulties in the last weeks and months Gamma Ray managed to create a really strong record. "Empire of the undead" shows that Hansen was right when he said that the distaster made the band stronger. They are championsleague. An album which will end up in a lot of Top 5 albums charts in 2014 polls.

Just one aish in the end: COME TO HOLLAND ;o)

 

(9/10) 

CD review GAMMA RAY "Empire of the undead"

Tracklist:

  1. Avalon
  2. Hellbent
  3. Pale rider
  4. Born to fly
  5. Master of confusion
  6. Empire of the undead
  7. Time for deliverance
  8. Demonseed
  9. Seven
  10. I will return

 

Label: ear Music

Genre: Speed Metal

 

 

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