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GAMMA RAY Majestic (2005)

There are very few living legends in the world of heavy metal, specially ones who still contribute to the genre, by producing great music and influencing many bands.

Gamma Ray leader, Kai Hansen is one who can live up to that status. All round nice and a gentleman to boot, Hansen from his time with Helloween, through 15 years at the helm of Gamma Ray, has consistently delivered the goods.

Majestic is an album that Gamma Ray needed to make, the previous two, while not exactly bad, didn't set the world on fire, like their predecessor, 'Somewhere Out In Space' did.

Opener, 'My Temple', shoots out of the blocks like a world champion hundred metre runner, fast furious to the point and all over before it's began. 'Majestic' sounds like Gamma Ray have been drinking fire water and have got ants up there pants. With an onslaught like this not heard for many a album.

'Blood Religion', as song that I saw live at Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, in July in Helsinki, is a classic

Gamma Ray song. While the likes of, 'Strange World', slows things down and is a glorious melodic rocker, with a riff that won't go away and continues to be etched into my brain.

If you know Gamma Ray already, this albums holds no real surprises, the formula, if there is a forluma, has been given a new lick of paint, a super charged engine. An album played with the fire of men half there age not what you'd might expect from power metal's, 'elder statesman'.

Ten songs that will have the younger power metal brigade scratching their collective heads, wondering after so many years, a band can deliver an album that is as farntic as it is melodic.

With Hansen's former bandmates, Helloween, reduced to bashing out the third Keeper album. Gamma Ray will no doubt be the winners in any rivalry that there might be.


Review by Graham Boyle

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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