Land of the Free II

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Band Name Gamma Ray
Album Name Land of the Free II
Type Album
Data wpisu 19 Listopad 2007
Styl muzycznyMelodic Power
Zarejestrowanych posiada ten album275


 Into the Storm
 From the Ashes
 Rising Again
 To Mother Earth
 Leaving Hell
 When the World
 Real World
 Hear Me Calling

Total playing time: 01:05:16

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Artykuł @ MetalAngel

28 Październik 2007
Some albums are milestones in the history of metal. It was the case of Helloween’s “Keeper Of The Seven Keys parts I & II” or of Queesryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime”. Nobody will ever forget them! And because they are major works, they deserved to have a continuation which has often been awaited for a long time… and this is indeed what occurred these last 10 years. Gamma Ray is no exception as it has just given birth to the perfect successor to its most masterly album: the excellent “Land of the Free”!

As far as I’m concerned, being a big fan of the Teutonic quartet, I had been waiting for so long that I wasn’t really expecting it anymore, despite deeply crossing my fingers that I would held it in my hands one day. And today, it’s done!! “Land of the Free – part 2” has just arrived on my hi-fi. And, despite the natural apprehensions a metal fan can have in listening to the successor of an album which got huge success 12 years ago, I feel relief in hearing back the original energy and honesty that the band had a little lost with “New World Order” and “Majestic” and that used to be its trend mark. No deviation here: everything is direct and without concession, nearly as if the band had wanted to show it was still at the top and it had still this strength and this will to destroy everything on its way, such as a powerful and fully-armed tank breaking everything while travelling through a solid and strong forest! The album bursts in with “Into The Storm”, coming with a clear and shinny production, as does “From The Ashes”, which is the most seducing track of the album, thanks not only to vertiginous vocals of Mister Hansen, but also to types of riffs Gamma Ray never used to play until then! It sounds like some Helloween from the time of “Keepers I & II” or some Iron Maiden from the time of “Somewhere In Time”… It’s really surprising!! Surprising is also the song “Leaving Hell” with its very pronounced hard fm style and Kai’s extraordinary verses on which he exploits his vocal skills in a quite exocentric way. Then, one can hear an electric intro (“Rising Again”), which name really tells you a lot on the rebirth of that leading band of the melodic power-speed movement. It is followed by a fast rhythmic track as only Kai Hansen can compose some and which is called “To Mother Earth”. Are we hearing there the ecological spirit of the Germans? Probably, as the lyrics are explicit (‘No respect, no heart for nature, led by greed they tear our soil ripped, the sky, the damage major, the air is at the boil / Here create another wasteland, on and on ‘til nothing’s there, here it comes, the devastation poisoning the air’) and show no mercy for the polluters, which, by the way, is only justice! Come after that the second really creative track, “Empress”, which rocks more, is darker and mid-tempo, with a quite surprising refrain, which may remind you of Hammerfall’s ones. And some guitar passages are also surprising because they are acoustic, placed just before the solo! This is a really nice song! The two following tracks (“Rain” and “When The World”) are less innovative, but nevertheless they are very efficient. These songs are true killings which will probably be very good on-stage in front of thousands of fans in fury. “Real World” and “Heal Me Calling” don’t bring much innovation to Gamma Ray’s discography, which is a little sad while looking to their huge potential. Instead, it is the long and epic “Opportunity” and “Insurrection” which will grab all your attention! Indeed, the first one starts as a ballad, but quickly this impression vanished as the guitars appear, transforming the title into a heavy track of great beauty and of grandiloquent chorus during around 7 minutes! The second composition is a magisterial opus by itself! From the first note to the last, Gamma Ray illuminates and subjugates us: so luminous with its nice lyrical passages, Kai Hansen & co have surpassed themselves to give us The Best Of metal in one song. “Insurrection” sounds like an opera, with changing atmosphere every minute, moving instantaneously from a thrash style to a Majestic and speed tone, incorporating in its music a touch of N.W.O.B.H.M. sound like Judas Priest (“British Stee”) or like Iron Maiden (“Powerslave” or “Somewhere In Time”), which shows a enjoyable freshness of innovation, that we highly wish to hear more often in this kind of metal too often overwhelmed with bands of more or less skills. “Insurrection” is a beautiful work which will surely become one of the new war hymns of heavy metal! Rarely a metal song will have given me so much pleasure and chills! For sure, you will feel a musical orgasm as soon as the song starts!!

If you were scared by the bet launched by Kai Hansen and his band when they presented this “Land of the Free – pt. 2”, don’t hesitate: listen to this gigantic album, much more exciting than the last Primal Fear! Not only are you going to be under its charm, but you will be also pleased to own the ultimate masterpiece of melodic power speed metal of these last 15 years! This is an atomic bomb which has just exploded in the world of metal and which will let you speechless!!

Go and get it quickly!!!!!!

Translated by Heavyboy

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Komentarz @ Vinrock666

07 Październik 2008
For those who know Gamma Ray, the 2007 release by the band, "Land of the Free II" is a sequel in name only. The real continuity perhaps stems from two things: one, the 2000 "Blast from the Past" album, which was an experimental re-working of selected tracks from their entire catalog including "Land of the Free", and two, the paradox that is 1995's "Land of the Free" being arguably Gamma Ray's best album while their current line up (since '97) is also arguably their best ever. It then stands to reason that "Land of the Free II" is the full length answer to the question 'how would "Land of the Free" have turned out if it was created by this line up?'instead. On a lot of levels, the project was highly successful.
Perhaps the best song on the album supports this argument the most, "From The Ashes". Lyrically, Kai Hansen, the legendary creative lead guitarist and leader of Gamma Ray, contends that the band's sound isn't meant for anyone looking for the next big thing or what's new right now. "To hell with your tomorrow, we'll do it our own way." is a sentiment backed up by the music in that it's as typical of a Gamma Ray song as you can get, with ear candy levels of tonality and a mastery of melody both in the guitar duets and the refrain and chorus. Hansen and Richter are two of the best guitar duelists in all of heavy metal, and from this song as well as other fine examples like "When The World", "Opportunity", and "Into The Storm" we know that Gamma Ray is all about doing what they do best. They are better off for it.
Still, while they are defined by this (not to mention the relentless double bass beast that is Zimmermann and the ex-guitarist playing style that Schlacter adds to the rhythm section) "Land of the Free II" benefits from songs that aren't typical Gamma Ray fanfare. "Empress" sports some pedal and filter work with the opening guitar parts and stays in mid-tempo throughout the track. Even three lines in the chorus are grunted rather than sung, which is an extreme rarity coming from Hansen. "When The World" has the pensive sound not familiar to the past either, even though the world-in-trouble theme is. Kai Hansen's second solo is worth mentioning here,too, for it has a triumphant feel to it giving the song a happy ending to offset for the most part a song of despair. "To Mother Earth" has an excellent bridge also not heard often, and the drum line behind a very soft chorus is also quite singular.
One negative point must be mentioned. The idea that is "Land of the Free II" was not to reinvent the wheel for there are plenty of riffs and fills that echo past songs and albums. The line must be drawn when something is blatantly taken from another band and if you listen to "Opportunity" you will hear two bars (!) no less from Iron Maiden's patented opening guitar line from "The Clairvoyant." It's just too famous a riff to let it go unsaid. Not only is Gamma Ray much better than that, but the song itself is one of the albums best due to it's atypical sound and it's driving, pounding beat. That being said, overall Gamma Ray's "Land of the Free" is an excellent work of classic power metal written and performed by four of the best metal musicians in their class.

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