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Gamma Ray - "Somewhere Out In Space (re-release)"
Sanctuary / Noise 2002

Land Of The Free story continues. Band faced for the last time some drastic changes in their line-up. (Now I can call him a real Gamma Ray legend) Dirk Schlächter decided to go back to playing bass guitar. Hansen got under band's banner a multi-experienced guy. It was the first time for Kai, after he left Helloween that he was standing side by side with equal guitarist in his band. His name was Henjo Richter. He played solos and harmony duets even better than they were played on previous release. Henjo did all keyboard work and added some sound sampled effects that really improved ambiental climax in the band's music. He was the right man for this band. So there is no doubt that Gamma Ray launched an album that was again better by it's sound production, but their specific sound remained recognizable. So they musically progressed once again. Beside that "computer master" Henjo also took care of booklet design.

Grandiose keyboard work creates perfect background for riffing and tights together structures of songs with giving the whole sound a new and wider range. Well, I forgot another crucial thing here. The drummer. Dan Zimmerman enters here. Rhythm line becomes most aggressive since the band's existence. As if Dan and Dirk would know each other for a long time. Dan represents "a perfect rhythm machine" that uses double bas pedals brilliantly and punches his drum kit with whole body movement. Alive drumming and all sort of fascinating diverse rollings. Pay attention to drums, especially in the title track. Dan is a fantastic drummer, uaauu what superb bridge performance that raises dynamics of the record.

"No Stranger (Another Day In Life)" is a special song. It carries mid tempo beat with opened riffs. A melancholic song. When you find yourself, your inner wizard and you begin to love and respect yourself. This automatically leads you to loving every single person on Earth. Nobody understands you, but you don't care, 'cause you have faced your real self and now you are free. Picking over riffs almost lacks in this song. And it lacks on purpose. Opened riffing drive supported by fat bass line creates a fascinating feeling of sound beat.

This new line-up is a perfect mixture of air, fire, water and earth (also by horoscope signs of the band members). Four raiders of the apocalypse. Chemistry just works stronger than ever. Gamma Ray offered once again a perfect album of melodic heavy metal. Even when they're dealing with "happy" melodies, Kai with his convincible ice cold colour of voice holds all things down to earth. Fast as a shark melody meets aggression in a nice balance through entire record.

Tearing the strings of bass guitar in first beats of opener "Beyond The Black Hole" is a prophecy that leads into pure intergalactic race. Supersonic songs with superb picking over riffs with fluid changes of rhythms and motives inside them: "Beyond The Black Hole", "Somewhere Out In Space", "The Guardians Of Mankind", "Man, Martians And Machines" and not to mention "Valley Of The Kings", which was released also as a single.

Hypothetically. Where do all those ideas derive from? The bonus song is a cover "Return To Fantasy" (Uriah Heep). If Uriah Heep are one of those influential bands for Gamma Ray, then... O.K. this is enough, It's better that I don't say anything. Tactics is the same. Let us complicate and spice up things a little bit, but not too much. This time the band achieved a fantastic balance.

Author:   Ale¹

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