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:
Special Gregg Allman Tribute Events Announced- Slayer and Mike Patton Group Dead Cross Detailed By Police- Randy Blythe Explains Need For Lamb of God Hiatus- more

Ex-Guns N' Roses, Journey and Dream Theater Stars In New Group- Robert Plant Teases New Music- Skid Row Idea Of Sebastian Bach Reunion- Metallica Live 'Enter Sandman' Video- more

The Eagles New Lineup Announce 'Evening With' Shows- Nile Rodgers Hospitalized And Misses First Show Of Career- Cliff Burton's 92-Year-Old Dad Tours With Metallica- more

Day in Pop:
Chris Brown Gets Candid About Rihanna Assault- Bonnie Tyler Performing 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' During Eclipse- Lorde Does Intimate Reimagined Performance Of 'Melodrama'- more

Fergie Poses Nude And Hints At New Music- Justin Bieber Reveals His Mayweather V McGregor Prediction- Kenny Chesney Reveals 'Live In No Shoes Nation' Special Guests- more

Taylor Swift Court Battle Jury Reaches A Verdict- Willie Nelson Gives Fans Update After Cutting Concert Short- Justin Bieber Announces New Single 'Friends'- Bruno Mars- more

advertisement


Reviews

Dennis DeYoung Plays The Music Of Styx at Mesa Arts Center

Prong's X - No Absolutes

Yestival Tour Preview With Yes, Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer

ZZ Ward - The Storm

Lollapalooza 2017 - Day Four Report

Lollapalooza 2017 - Day Three Report

Lollapalooza 2017 - Day Two Report

Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie

Lollapalooza 2017 - Day One Report

Haken - Affinity

Road Trip: The Cincinnati Music Festival

Sites and Sounds: Ubersoca Cruise 2017

The Isley Brothers & Santana - Power of Peace

Be'lakor - Vessels

Don Barnes - Ride the Storm

On The Record: Raiders Of The Lost Ark Soundtrack

Lollapalooza TBT Month: 2013 Day Two

Sites and Sounds: Cincinnati Music Festival

Queen + Adam Lambert Live In Chicago

Road Trip: Festival d'ete de Quebec

Junkyard - High Water

Lollapalooza TBT Month: 2015 - Metallica, Brand New And More more

Rock News Stories
Special Gregg Allman Tribute Events Announced

Slayer and Mike Patton Group Dead Cross Detailed By Police

Randy Blythe Explains Need For Lamb of God Hiatus

Ted Nugent Slams David Crosby Over Rock Hall Insult

Queens Of The Stone Age Release 'The Way You Used To Do' Video

Singled Out: Dawn Of Disease's Ascension Gate

10 Years Stream New Song and Announce Tour With RED

Noel Gallagher To Headline Reopening Of Manchester Arena

Danzig And Corrosion Of Conformity Announce Short Tour

KMFDM Release 'Murder My Heart' Video

Mac Sabbath Go VR With New 360 Degree Videos

Venom Inc, Goatwhore, Toxic Holocaust Fall Tour Announced

Anthrax and Nothing More Added To Loudwire Music Awards

Van Morrison Releases 'Transformation' Video

Elvis Presley's Grave Now Requires A Toll

Paramore's Hayley Williams Reimagines John Lennon's 'Imagine'

more

B-Side Stories
Chris Brown Gets Candid About Rihanna Assault

Bonnie Tyler Performing 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' During Eclipse

Lorde Does Intimate Reimagined Performance Of 'Melodrama'

Kip Moore And Tony Hawk Announce Music City Skate Jam

Pink Releases Music Video For New Single 'What About Us'

Singled Out: Cameron Mitchell's Here Comes The Future

Ariana Grande Manchester Concert Bombing Victims to Receive $324K Each

Dolly Parton Announces Her First Children's Album

Taylor Hicks' State Plate Season 2 New Episode Details Revealed

Capital Cities TV Concert Special Preview Released

A$AP Mob Performs 'Feels So Good' On The Tonight Show

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.