Gamma Ray - Empire of the Undead

by Matt Hensch

.
"Empire of the Undead" is Gamma Ray's "The X Factor" (the Iron Maiden album for the unacquainted). I'm not being facetious: the similarities are striking. Maiden, during that strange, conflicted period, had lost the integral Bruce Dickinson; "Empire of the Undead" shows Gamma Ray without drummer Dan Zimmerman, who had been a surprisingly vital factor in the band's progression. And like that misguided records, "Empire of the Undead" boasts a handful of wonderful songs that are clogged up by sizable chunks of filler, which stick out like yellow teeth on a Brazilian supermodel. Above all else, it's darker and faster than the usual Gamma Ray output, and it continues the evolution of Gamma Ray's discography justly.

One of the unsung glories of Gamma Ray has been the band's diversity between albums-no two Gamma Ray records are exactly identical. The band's structural integrity has remained the same, yet the outer appearance has changed considerably between records. "Empire of the Undead," compared to "To the Metal," which was more of a basic chorus-based record, boasts long, multi-faceted anthems. Some are fairly standard Gamma Ray cuts with no secrets or layers hiding in the shadows. "Master of Confusion" and "Born to Fly," for instance, pitch at the listener familiar melodies, choruses, riffs, and structural ideas-they play it safe, and in turn sound that way. I'm fonder of the album's darker anthems and its elaborate, multilayered tracks.

"Avalon," the record's opener, is an outstanding piece of epic power metal that displays proudly the finest traits of the Gamma Ray squad: excellent riffs, luscious lead guitar work, and a juicy chorus to boot. "Hellbent" and the title track are faster and heavier than the bulk of the band's extensive discography; ripping riffs galore! I like "Seven" and "I Will Return" as well, though they don't have the same stopping power as the aforementioned songs. "Pale Rider" and "Demonseed" are fairly lame and uneventful, and "Time for Deliverance," the record's ballad, is a strong reminder that Gamma Ray needs to stop with the goddamn ballads. I couldn't shove it off a bridge quick enough.

The real cherry on the sundae happens to be the factors unrelated to songwriting. The production gives the album a crisp, clear bite, and boasts the finest sound quality the band has ever had; and Kai Hansen, whose vocals are always fantastic, sounds awesome as expected. "Empire of the Undead' is also a passionate, fiery record with sharp claws and pointy teeth; the faster numbers are especially hostile. I like "Empire of the Undead" for what it is, and for a band like Gamma Ray that has been spitting out records since the dawn of time to continue to release quality albums, what more could a casual fan or diehard prophet ask for?

Gamma Ray - Empire of the Undead
Rating:

Share this article
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pin it Share on Reddit email this article

More articles for this artist .




advertisement

advertisement

News Reports
Day in Rock:
Original Journey Singer Hints At Working With Band Again- Stone Sour Announce New Album Hydrograd, Stream Two Tracks- Blink 182 Streaming Their 'Strangest Song' Yet- more

Former Guns N' Roses Star Cut Ties To Axl Rose- Bauhaus's Peter Murphy Suffering Serious Vocal Cords Issues- Darkest Hour Frontman Slams Victory Records- Avenged Sevenfold- more

AC/DC Kids Video A Big Viral Hit- Paul McCartney Adds New U.S. Dates To One On One Tour- Boston, Deep Purple and Alice Cooper Lead $20 Concert Offer- Radiohead Hoax- more

Day in Pop:
Dave Grohl Laments Tween Photo Of His Scott Baio Haircut- John Lennon's Original 'Sgt. Pepper's' Sketch To Be Auctioned- Madonna Not Happy About Biopic Plans- more

The Temptations Bass Player Kerry Turman Dies After Performance- Drake Declared The World's Most Popular Music Artist- Aretha Franklin Slams Dionne Warwick Over Mistake- more

Every Song On Kendrick Lamar's New Album Charts On Billboard Hot 100- Rihanna Sparks Controversy With Queen Elizabeth Photos- John Mayer Jams With Ryan Adams- more

advertisement


Reviews

On The Record: Jean Jacques Perrey's Moog Indigo

Iron Maiden TBT Month- The Golden Years

Ray Goren - Free

The Psyatics - Famous Monsters

On The Record: Jen Gloeckner - Vine

Iron Maiden TBT Month- Flight 666

RockPile: Hollywood Monsters- The Dahmers

On The Record: Strange Karma - Cold Blooded

Bernie Torme - Dublin Cowboy

Iron Maiden TBT Month- Live After Death DVD

Al Atkins - Reloaded

The Psyatics - Famous Monsters

Road Trip: Travel News, Trips and Tips April 2017

Iron Maiden TBT Month: Number of the Beast

Electric Ray and the Shockers - California Torpedo

Beauty In The Breakdown - NEON

Road Trip: Boise, Idaho's Treefort Music Fest

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

Ministry - The Last Sucker

Ships Have Sailed - Whispers EP

RockPile: Prog Edition: Steve Hillage- Van Der Graaf Generator- Richard Barbieri

On The Record: The Dollyrots - Whiplash Splash more

Rock News Stories
Original Journey Singer Hints At Working with Band Again

Stone Sour Announce New Album Hydrograd, Stream Two Tracks

Blink 182 Streaming Their 'Strangest Song' Yet

Unearthed Beatles 'Sgt. Pepper' Outtake Streaming Online

Guns N' Roses Reunion Tops Billboard's Hot Tours Chart

Imagine Dragons Streaming New Song 'Thunder'

Rolling Stones Win Album And Artist Of The Year Honors

Korn Having Fun Touring With Metallica Star's Tween Son

Phoenix Streaming New Single 'J-Boy'

More Peter Gabriel Deluxe Vinyl Reissues Announced

Dave Grohl Reflects On Loss Of Kurt Cobain During TV Appearance

Cheap Trick Stream New Song 'Long Time Coming,' Announce Album

Chuck Berry's New Single Dedicated To Wife

David Bowie's 'Labyrinth' Soundtrack Vinyl Reissue Coming

Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Reveals 2018 Ceremony Plans

Iggy Pop's First Three Solo Albums Getting Vinyl Reissues

John Mellencamp's Late Night with Seth Meyers Performance Goes Online

Singled Out: Ides Of Gemini's The Rose

more

B-Side Stories
Dave Grohl Laments Tween Photo Of His Scott Baio Haircut

John Lennon's Original 'Sgt. Pepper's' Sketch To Be Auctioned

Madonna Not Happy About Biopic Plans

Kendrick Lamar's 'Humble' Beat Was Intended for Gucci Mane

Miley Cyrus Appears In 'Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2'

Bruce Springsteen Pays Tribute To Jonathan Demme

Ringo Starr Giving Fans Chance To Help Him Celebrate His Birthday

Usher, Hailee Steinfeld Help Raise Over $1 Million At Juvenile Diabetes Research Gala

T-Pain Releases New Track 'See Me Comin'

Chance the Rapper Covers Kanye West Songs At Tour Kick Off

Harry Styles Interviewed by Chris Martin, Ed Sheeran, Ronnie Wood

Justin Bieber Looks Back On His 2014 DUI Arrest

Selena Gomez Celebrates TV Brother's Wedding

Clint Black Adds New Dates To 'On Purpose' Tour

Bananarama Reuniting For Their Very First Tour

Pentatonix Release 'Can't Help Falling In Love' Video

Radiohead Inspire Name Of New Ant Species

Kane Brown Gets Engaged To Girlfriend Katelyn Jae

Beyonce Launches Female Scholarship Program

Ellie Goulding Reunites With Ex-Boyfriend At 'Magic Mike Live'

Lee Brice Suffers Bloody Bite From Brett Young's Tiny Dog

Migos' Quavo Spends $35k On Napoleon Chain

Jennifer Lopez Talks A-Rod Connection During TV Appearance

Rihanna And Lupita Nyong'o Down For Making Buddy Movie

Zayn Malik Gushes Online For Gigi Hadid's Birthday

more



Follow Us:

Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.