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Gamma Ray - "Sigh No More (re-release)"
Sanctuary / Noise 2002

Anno domini 1991. A hard time for power metal, or in better words, for German heavy metal that developed under the late seventies and early eighties influence of bands such as Iron Maiden, UFO, or Judas Priest. In 1991 thrash achieved its highest peak, then grunge exploded (led by Nirvana and Pearl Jam) and shook the Earth as well. Many names that played classic "bad to the bone" heavy metal sold their souls under pressure of record labels. Between them were also Hansen's closest friends Helloween. But anyway, there were a few bands that kept the flame alive such as Blind Guardian with their "Tales From The Twilight World" or Running Wild with their finest demonstration of what I call a true teutonic heavy metal by releasing "Blazon Stone".

Gamma Ray also fell under the influence of the daily trends. They began to sound more commercial and began to copy the trends as well. Their soundbeat became "Americanized". Scheppers's vocal performance was even better in comparison to the band's debut release and the line-up was reinforced with Dirk Schlächter on rhythm guitar and the German drum phenomenon Uli Kusch that replaced Mathias Burchardt. The band's line up was now superb.

But much more than making copies or cliché songs this line-up could not offer. Listen to "(We Won't) Stop The War" which by its intro and prechorus riff reminds of old good Savatage (with Criss Oliva). At least not by its sound. Sometimes funky riffing chords also appear ("The Spirit" or "Changes") or even glam touches in "Countdown" riffing drive. So rhythms became groovier, easier structured, and this also concerns the riffs. I don't know what hardrockin' "Father And Son" is doing here, maybe Gamma Ray tried to become German Bon Jovi? "One With The World" reminds very much of Judas Priest's "Blood Red Skies" with its middle section sampled drum beat. Hansen's solos became easier; he often used the wah effect. This just wasn't the same Kai Hansen anymore, such as we would expect and we would know from "Walls Of Jericho" and up to "Heading For Tomorrow" musical performance.

Due to that fact that this record contains some wonderful pieces, which carry on the lost spirit, such as "As Time Goes By", "Start Running" or "Dream Healer", it isn't bad at all. It is just not a Gamma Ray record. It contains some good Gamma Ray trademark moments, but mainly follows its days trends. The copies are good, but these aren't Gamma Ray tracks. They lost their spirit and forgot who they really are. As a bonus track on this re-master, you'll also find the Rainbow flavoured "Who Do You Think You Are". This song was released as a single and doesn't appear on the original release of "Sigh No More".

Author:   Ale¹

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