Review Summary: A new hope has emerged through the ashes of shame.
The current state of Gamma Ray can be describe in skepticism after their letdown in the 2010 release To The Metal!
. To add insult to injury, they also released a highly redundant EP entitled Skeletons and Majesties
leaving critics laughing. Now it can’t get any worse from here for Kia Hansen’s (possible) career along with his fellow band members, right? Well, it did with Unisonic. Even though Unisonic’s debut was a descent hard rock album that is enjoyable to a degree that is if you don’t overplay it, but the whole Unisonic experience was a letdown in many ways. One of those letdowns was the fact that the album was neither exciting nor groundbreaking with the long awaited reunion of Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske.
Three years later, we see the first glance new material from Gamma Ray on an EP entitled Master of Confusion
, even if it’s only two new songs, two covers, and six live songs. For the cover songs: they are executed with accurate precision and all that happy nonsense and just like most cover songs they are generally not worth anyone’s time unless you’re absolutely bored to tears, or a diehard fan. The same rules apply to the six live songs as did to the cover songs on this EP: well-executed performances that were recorded live in Bochum, and really only meant for the diehard fans (or bored, whichever it may be). However, the main attraction to Master of Confusion
is on the first two songs of the EP, “Empire of the Undead” and “Master of Confusion”. As I said before, skepticism filled the air for Gamma Ray’s future. Fortunately, for any Gamma Ray fan Hell shows no mercy in the opening seconds for “Empire of the Undead”. Classic speed metal comes to mind; old school Helloween comes to mind. If that’s not enough to excite you, what if I told you there was aggression throughout the entire song from Kai’s vocals, ripping guitar solos from Kai and Henjo, fast paced drums from new drummer Michael Ehré, or even Dirk’s bass rhythm.
As for the follow up and also the self-titled song, “Master of Confusion”, it is safe to say after watching the lyric-rehearsal video the lyrics are blatantly generic and extremely cheesy. Despite the absence of any good lyrics, the song still shows simple, yet catchy melodic hooks in every department of instruments, which includes vocals. In the end, there may only be two brand new songs (not including the cover songs). However, there is more to it than just two brand new songs. Gamma Ray’s fan base should have a renewed sense of optimism for this legendary power metal outfit, whose members practically created and defined the genre. For it’s true they started lagging after 2005’s Majestic
, until now it seems that Gamma Ray has finally kicked out something relevant enough for there to be anticipation. Our questions of optimism will be answered until the slated-early 2014 release of the new Gamma Ray album that will include “Master of Confusion” and “Empire of the Undead”.