Rating:
7.5
Gamma Ray - To The Metal
29 January 2010


01. Empathy
02. All You Need To Know
03. Time To Live
04. To The Metal
05. Rise
06. Mother Angel
07. Shine Forever
08. Deadlands
09. Chasing Shadows
10. No Need To Cry
11. Wannabees [7" bonus]
12. To The Metal [demo] [7" bonus]
+ DVD: The Making Of To The Metal [limited edition bonus]


Almost as if the band as a whole sustained some form of brain damage from some tragic and unforeseeable accident, Gamma Ray have not been themselves since 2001's great No World Order. The last two albums saw the band as mere shadows of themselves blatantly and obviously ripping off other bands, none more than Judas Priest.

A new year, a new decade, a new Gamma Ray. To The Metal is a huge step towards recovery from this hypothetical accident. Still, the band don't break any new barriers but the overall quality of songs is much higher than their previous two efforts. The songs flow better, there are more original ideas, the whole album seems less forced and more relaxed, almost a throw back to the band's glory times of the late nineties.

In general the first half of the album is the worst, ending with the criminal rip-off of Judas Priest's "Metal Gods" with the title track. The good news is that after the title track, the rest of the album is fantastic.

"All You Need To Know" is like stepping back in time with it's chorus featuring none other than Michael Kiske, and the last couple of "Shine Forever" and "Chasing Shadows" are Gamma Ray at the very best they have been for a decade. The band sound as if they are once again having fun with this half of the album, and it is a pleasure to hear coming from such a respected and influential band that just seemed to loose it with their last two studio albums.

To The Metal is still far from Gamma Ray at their tip top, and suspiciously comes from behind a slightly muffled production. This is without a doubt a leap in the right direction however, and reason to rejoice. By far the band's best effort since 2001, and a sign that the band still have some creative juices locked away. The first half of the album until the abomination of a title track can be effortlessly and without guilt put to one side. Gamma Ray can still deliver the magic in this day and age, and it can be found here on the second half of this otherwise variable but good album.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 5


Band profile: Gamma Ray
Album: To The Metal


 



Written on 04.02.2010 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More reviews by Baz Anderson ››



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JÄY - 04.02.2010 at 20:15  
I dont understand how any gamma ray fan could think land of the free II and majestic were bad....or even not as good as their older stuff, but i hear it over and over again...so it must just be me
So far, i think this isnt as good as the last 2, but time will tell ya know?
its still gamma ray and i love their style
YoreLore - 04.02.2010 at 20:18  
Have to disagree with some points on this review. Disregard Rise, Deadlands and No Need To Cry? In my opinion Rise is one of the best Gamma Ray songs in years, epic and full of energy. Deadlands isn't bad at all and No Need To Cry is probably their best and most original ballad...well its up there anyway. I definitely think Empathy and To The Metal are the worst tracks on the album.
Lawre - 04.02.2010 at 21:03  
Although I agree with most of the review I don't think the first half is so horrible. Rise and Deadlands are according to my opinion the best songs they've made in a long time (you're right about the rest of the tracks though). Apart from that, Good review!
Baz Anderson - 04.02.2010 at 21:13  
I'm not saying the first half is horrible. Just that it can easily be passed when comparing it to the second half.
Zenzero - 04.02.2010 at 21:23  
Written by JÄY on 04.02.2010 at 20:15

I dont understand how any gamma ray fan could think land of the free II and majestic were bad....or even not as good as their older stuff, but i hear it over and over again...so it must just be me
So far, i think this isnt as good as the last 2, but time will tell ya know?
its still gamma ray and i love their style

i love the album majestic! it's one of their best albums!
YoreLore - 04.02.2010 at 22:20  
I like all the Gamma Ray albums but its strange when people say they completely ripped off bands like Judas Priest with their last few albums but then praise No World Order which is the biggest "tribute" to bands like Judas Priest that the band have released. I still love all the albums though
Csuvog - 04.02.2010 at 23:46  
I also think that the previous two albums were better than this one. So far i just didn't like the title track but now when I heard the Judas Priest metal gods song I also think it's a rip off or an influence that they did not realize. But the album isn't that bad.
YoreLore - 05.02.2010 at 00:05  
Some tracks from the new album would fit very well on some of the old classics, I could see Shine Forever on an album like Somewhere Out In Space or Land of the Free. Rise would work on Somewhere Out In Space and Empathy sounds like it should be on No World Order
Baz Anderson - 05.02.2010 at 02:57  
Written by Csuvog on 04.02.2010 at 23:46

I also think that the previous two albums were better than this one. So far i just didn't like the title track but now when I heard the Judas Priest metal gods song I also think it's a rip off or an influence that they did not realize. But the album isn't that bad.

I don't think you realise how big the song "Metal Gods" is... Everyone knows that song... It's one of the ones Judas Priest will always perform live.
Nicko's Nose - 05.02.2010 at 07:29  
7.5 is too much for just another generic power metal album. Oh well, atleast it doesn't rip Judas Priest and Iron Maiden off as much as LOTF II. To The Metal is absolutely pathetic though.
tomasmakina - 05.02.2010 at 13:10  
I think that land of the free part. II, is one of the best albums of Gamma Ray. To the metal is also a good album, with a lot of good things, it's electric and powerfull, and has the colaboration of michael kiskhe, but has not the level of Power plant or land of the free II. In any case is a great album with chorch that you coldn't forget!
YoreLore - 05.02.2010 at 16:58  
Nickos Nose? As in Nose of Nicko from Lastfm? Your hatred of this album is apparant as you seem to bash it on as many websites as possible. Its not really generic when they are performing a style they moulded
wrathchild - 06.02.2010 at 00:02  
I've always found that only a few songs are really great on all Gamma Ray albums, except perhaps Somewhere Out In Space - their best IMO, and the second best would be Land Of The Free 1. It seems that this new one is no exception, unfortunately...
silenius - 06.02.2010 at 04:55  
Gluurg, thats all folks
Iron Priest - 06.02.2010 at 05:17  
:S Majestic is one of my favourite album. Most of the tracks are in my top 20.
DoomGuard - 06.02.2010 at 09:09  
Really? you didn't like the last 2? they were fantastic, I guess you had to be listening to them since their birth or something to not enjoy those two...

This sounds like an interesting album, very nice review and I'll have to check this out
Ag Fox - 06.02.2010 at 13:27  
Pretty accurate I'd say. At least I agree with you on the parts regarding the album itself as I've never tried other gamma ray albums
YoreLore - 07.02.2010 at 03:18  
The tracklist is wrong, unless its a downloaded version. The retail album has Rise as track 5 with Empathy as track 1. Though the collectors edition I have ordered has a completely different tracklist : http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41RDJ-ZcF6L._SS400_.jpg
Metal Maiden - 07.02.2010 at 03:56  
I like the eye candy cover...never been much into gamma ray though...
Legendary - 07.02.2010 at 14:57  
Written by JÄY on 04.02.2010 at 20:15

I dont understand how any gamma ray fan could think land of the free II and majestic were bad....or even not as good as their older stuff, but i hear it over and over again...so it must just be me
So far, i think this isnt as good as the last 2, but time will tell ya know?
its still gamma ray and i love their style

Agreed
Ellrohir - 07.02.2010 at 15:59  
Boring and bad...sorry, Gamma Ray...
Lord_Regnier - 07.02.2010 at 18:37  
Written by Ellrohir on 07.02.2010 at 15:59

Boring and bad...sorry, Gamma Ray...


I found the samples I heard boring, indeed.
Overlord_PT - 07.02.2010 at 18:56  
Its a good album but they have done better in the past (land of the free II)
Ellrohir - 07.02.2010 at 19:12  
Written by Lord_Regnier on 07.02.2010 at 18:37

Written by Ellrohir on 07.02.2010 at 15:59

Boring and bad...sorry, Gamma Ray...


I found the samples I heard boring, indeed.


judging by the samples is unfair, but i have listened to whole album and now i am saying this...
Lord_Regnier - 07.02.2010 at 19:44  
Written by Ellrohir on 07.02.2010 at 19:12

Written by Lord_Regnier on 07.02.2010 at 18:37

Written by Ellrohir on 07.02.2010 at 15:59

Boring and bad...sorry, Gamma Ray...


I found the samples I heard boring, indeed.

judging by the samples is unfair, but i have listened to whole album and now i am saying this...


I also heard "Deadlands" in its integrality. It's only one song, of course, but I find it boring too.


Anyway, I disagree with this thought that "judging by samples is unfair".
Samples are enough for me to know what kind of music I can expect and if I'll like it or not. You don't need to listen to an album from start to end to know if it can please you or not when you're experienced enough with metal. It's not enough to be sure you should buy it or not but it's enough to know if you're interested in the material, so you want to invest more time checking it more deeply.
In this case, I am not.
Ellrohir - 07.02.2010 at 21:58  
I know what "kind of music" should i expect from Gamma Ray even without listening to any samples...the question is, how it will sound in final composition...and this is where Gamma Ray failed this time...at least for now
Battery - 09.02.2010 at 00:04  
I disagree with the review, I liked this album a lot, as I have liked the other albums since 2001. Up the rays!
Pap - 09.02.2010 at 17:34  
I still remember the time that Land of the free was released. After their first 3 albums that was nothing more than moderate efforts to compose melodic metal music they managed to make history. Land of the free could be easily considered as the best pure power metal album of the 90s. Their next album Somewhere out in space was truly good without of course touching the level of Land of the free. When i llistened to Power Plant i thought that we had to do with a good power album with nothing to add. From that point to me Gamma Ray could be easily described as predictable and self-copied. Even worse i totally agree with the comment of the reviewer that they had turned out to be in one way bad clones of Judas Priest. Their new album is decent with some interesting melodies scattered here and there but still i can't find something attractive.If you are young enough and you didn't have the time to explore great power metal albums or anaware of Gamma Ray 's material you might find this album interesting as for the others i think that they will get my point.
Nicko's Nose - 09.02.2010 at 18:34  
Written by YoreLore on 05.02.2010 at 16:58

Nickos Nose? As in Nose of Nicko from Lastfm? Your hatred of this album is apparant as you seem to bash it on as many websites as possible. Its not really generic when they are performing a style they moulded

I gave it 5/10. How is that hatred? and how is stating my opinion on different sites a sign of hatred? I'm not going to say that I like it on a site and that I don't like it on another, right? It is unoriginal when the style that they "moulded" consist of Iron Maiden + Judas Priest + Helloween + Accept. Sure, every band has its influences, but there's a diffence between having influences in your sound and sounding exactly like other bands. There's a difference between having influences in your sound and having riffs/melodies that sound exactly like riffs/melodies from other bands. Cool for you if you can't realize that I guess.
The Shape 1973 - 09.02.2010 at 21:56  
I've changed my mind on this one, after I heard the samples I thought that this was a return to form. Now I have heard it through a decent stereo it is so boring.

The Judas Priest influences seem to have been replaced by Iron Maiden riffs. You just wait for it to really kick off but it doesn't. The only track that really got me going was Shine Forever.

The title track is so bad what was Kai thinking, I think they have now run out of talent.

I feel really bad slagging off Gamma Ray, but this is no where near as good as Somewhere which was their last great album.
Baz Anderson - 10.02.2010 at 06:30  
Haha, you see where I come from calling the title track an abomination then. It is bad.
The last two tracks are the only reason to get this album. And "All You Need To Know" I guess.
alexxhighlander - 10.02.2010 at 15:32  
As a Gamma Ray fan since the band started out I have to say I agree almost totally with the review, but I don't find the first half of the album weak at all, with the exception being the Metal Gods travesty. The ballad doesn't do anything for me either, as I find the chorus pretty awful (the rhyme, no need to cry, no need to die, is lame) and it sounds way too much like Lake of Tears. The rest is just absolutely wonderful, a real step forward, and the artwork is one of the coolest they ever had as well. So, I would have given it a much higher rating.
As for those who don't understand why their material form the last decade is not appreciated by so many, maybe you need to know a few more bands more thoroughly, and Gamma Ray themselves, in order to listen to those albums and realize they have no creativity whatsoever and just rip off every band from the 80's in practically every song. There's no way I can appreciate something like that, specially coming form the genius who invented power metal as we know it. It's just disappointing to say the least.
Lord_Regnier - 10.02.2010 at 16:19  
Written by The Shape 1973 on 09.02.2010 at 21:56

The title track is so bad what was Kai thinking, I think they have now run out of talent.


Maybe not run out of talent but run out of inspiration. Since "No World Order", Gamma Ray's material is quite uninspired and their albums rather boring. But, let's face it, we could say the same about any other Powermetal band who started being active during the 90s or earlier.
This genre has spawned the best it had years ago. I would go as far as saying this genre has spawned all the good it had. I think there's nothing good to expect from PM anymore. The genre has turned into a ridiculous joke.
JÄY - 11.02.2010 at 16:47  
Written by Lord_Regnier on 10.02.2010 at 16:19

Written by The Shape 1973 on 09.02.2010 at 21:56

The title track is so bad what was Kai thinking, I think they have now run out of talent.


Maybe not run out of talent but run out of inspiration. Since "No World Order", Gamma Ray's material is quite uninspired and their albums rather boring. But, let's face it, we could say the same about any other Powermetal band who started being active during the 90s or earlier.
This genre has spawned the best it had years ago. I would go as far as saying this genre has spawned all the good it had. I think there's nothing good to expect from PM anymore. The genre has turned into a ridiculous joke.

sad, but true..erhhm, troo
It sucks...i love power metal and i realize 90% of my favorite PM albums are from the 80/90's and the 00's are over!
I have hope though..... a new generation will come in and reboot the genre
Warzsia - 14.02.2010 at 13:19  
My favorite Band the Gamma Ray!But this new album isn't good!
I am not happy!:noidea:
I hope better in the future...
acidbasement - 22.02.2010 at 21:23  
I initially agreed with the reviewer, but now after several listens I really like the album. There are some bloody catchy songs in there!

Come on guys, it's power metal, not artsy post-rock whose sole purpose is to be different and make the listener think. Power metal doesn't have to be groundbreaking or thoughtful; it just has to rock and emote awesomeness. This album flat out rocks. Give props to Kai for inventing the genre and stop whining about how he hasn't invented another one with every album since.

By the way, I notice that your track listing is incorrect. Did you buy this album before bashing it, or just steal it from the net?
Epyon - 01.03.2010 at 20:27  
Well i really enjoy the album, its not as bad as some people said,
people expect another somewhere out in space from gamma ray, other painkiller from judas priest, etc etc etc. we always want to hear the best album when a new release comes, but compose masterpieces is not something that you can just do always.
Mr hansen kreate a genre and great albums with helloween and then with gamma ray, and not even one of them is a crap as you said.
the fact is that not all can be perfect, just enjoy the rest becouse it is good enough
Robstar - 18.03.2010 at 22:48  
As sooI was really waiting to this album cause I really like gamma was waiting something more heavy riffs I'll give it a 7 not too bad not that great...
jimmy - 06.01.2011 at 14:05  
"I dont understand how any gamma ray fan could think land of the free II and majestic were bad....or even not as good as their older stuff, but i hear it over and over again...so it must just be me
So far, i think this isnt as good as the last 2, but time will tell ya know?
its still gamma ray and i love their style"


i totally agree with that statement. i love both of those records. they're certainly better than 'sigh no more' or 'insanity and genius'. i really dont see why those two albums get such a bad rap.
and this review kind of comfuses me. it's actually the only good review of this album that i've read. every other review talks about how bad this album is yet, this guy says it's better than 'majestic' and 'lotf2'? ummmmm......yeeeaaaah.......ok.
i haven't heard the album yet so i cant say with any certainty that it is a bad album or that it is, or is not, better or worse than other albums. but it just seems weird to me.
beyondtehdarksun - 06.01.2011 at 16:04  
I consider myself a fan and I liked Majestic too, but LOTF2 sounded to me like that not a single idea for the whole record. I heard mostly positive reviews about the new one though, and I think it can be compared to Majestic in terms of quality.
Angelic Storm - 06.01.2011 at 16:22  
Written by jimmy on 06.01.2011 at 14:05
i totally agree with that statement. i love both of those records. they're certainly better than 'sigh no more' or 'insanity and genius'. i really dont see why those two albums get such a bad rap.


Emm... "Sigh No More" probably has the worst rep of all Gamma Ray albums. Certainly in my experience of fellow Gamma Ray fans, this appears to be the case. There are even some who have the opinion that all of the Ralf era albums are inferior to all the ones that came afterwards. As for "Majestic" I really like it, and think its pretty underrated. LOTF II for the most part though, sounded pretty tired to me. There's a small amount of standout tracks on it, but overall, I find it to be a weak GR album. I certainly prefer all the Ralf era albums over it.
RavenKing - 07.01.2011 at 02:06  
Written by Angelic Storm on 06.01.2011 at 16:22

Written by jimmy on 06.01.2011 at 14:05
i totally agree with that statement. i love both of those records. they're certainly better than 'sigh no more' or 'insanity and genius'. i really dont see why those two albums get such a bad rap.


Emm... "Sigh No More" probably has the worst rep of all Gamma Ray albums. Certainly in my experience of fellow Gamma Ray fans, this appears to be the case. There are even some who have the opinion that all of the Ralf era albums are inferior to all the ones that came afterwards. As for "Majestic" I really like it, and think its pretty underrated. LOTF II for the most part though, sounded pretty tired to me. There's a small amount of standout tracks on it, but overall, I find it to be a weak GR album. I certainly prefer all the Ralf era albums over it.


I like "Majestic" and LOTF II much more than "Sigh No More" and "Insanity And Genius". SNM has really boring songs and parts but I still prefer it to IAG. Imo, IAG is the worst album Gamma Ray ever released, apart from "To The Metal" (which is a pile of shit, imo). I hate the sound on IAG and I've never been able to get used to it. It just sounds like crap with extremely annoying drums (snare, especially) and nasal vocals. I'm not fond of the Scheepers era and never listen to those albums nowadays.
Angelic Storm - 07.01.2011 at 08:02  
Written by RavenKing on 07.01.2011 at 02:06
I like "Majestic" and LOTF II much more than "Sigh No More" and "Insanity And Genius". SNM has really boring songs and parts but I still prefer it to IAG. Imo, IAG is the worst album Gamma Ray ever released, apart from "To The Metal" (which is a pile of shit, imo). I hate the sound on IAG and I've never been able to get used to it. It just sounds like crap with extremely annoying drums (snare, especially) and nasal vocals. I'm not fond of the Scheepers era and never listen to those albums nowadays.


I do think your opinion there is probably the same as for most Gamma Ray fans, which is why I objected to the idea that those albums ("Majestic" and LOTF II) have a "bad rep". They perhaps do, but certainly not as much as I&G and especially "Sigh No More". I&G does have pretty lame production, I'll give you that. Ive always loved songs like "Tribute To The Past" and "No Return" though. It is quite patchy, but I still prefer it to LOTF II. "Sigh No More" is an album I didnt like the first time I heard it. I went back to it after some time had past and listened to it a couple of times, and began to really enjoy a lot of the songs on it. I certainly do have a lot of appreciation for the Ralf era stuff, and feel it is underrated. "Majestic" is the only Kai era album I think which is underrated. I wouldnt put it up there with something like SOIS or "No World Order", but its certainly a lot better IMO than a lot of people give it credit for. xD
Valentin B - 10.01.2012 at 12:57  
Lol I'm listening to the title track, what the hell is this? could this be any more an obvious "reference" to Metal Gods?
Angelic Storm - 11.01.2012 at 00:30  
Written by Valentin B on 10.01.2012 at 12:57

Lol I'm listening to the title track, what the hell is this? could this be any more an obvious "reference" to Metal Gods?


It could be, other than that "Metal Gods" is a better song in every way. It's one thing to be inspired by your idols, and another to start making inferior versions of their music. Kai is certainly capable of much better than this.

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