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Gamma Ray – Majestic


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If Gamma Ray's rousing power metal sounds a little dated in 2005, well, it is. But with metal's ever-increasing hybridization, it's almost comforting to hear a band standing so proudly outside that fusionist circle. Majestic changes little from 2001's No World Order, or the albums before that. This is power metal through and through, with Kai Hansen's high-pitched wail leading his band at a double bass gallop through songs about Hell, spiritual dictators, and dark destinies. Opener "My Temple" features some great rapid-fire sections alongside a chorus intoning, "Evil comes, evil's done," and "Hell Is Thy Home" — besides its terrifically antiquated title — features lines like "Into oblivion you take their lives." Hansen, of course, pronounces it "lyyy-EEEEVes!" This isn't to poke fun at Gamma Ray. Yes, their lyrics seem torn from fantasy literature. Yes, they're posed with a hairy, cloaked nether-beast in Majestic's liner notes. But it's refreshing to hear and see this, because it gives the music a classicist feel. "Blood Religion," for example, begins as a righteous dirge before switching into a Judas Priest strut. At the four-minute mark everything suddenly drops out; the scary choir is back to stoically sing the song's title, and a tempo change sets up the flailing solos that fill its final minutes. You can't ask for power metal more committed than this in 2005, when bands are either too busy layering wordless screams over chunky hardcore riffs or playing a game of "having a laugh or aren't we?" like the Darkness. With Majestic Gamma Ray prove that, even in their excess, they are nothing but genuine. Track listing: 1. My Temple 2. Fight 3. Strange World 4. Hell Is Thy Home 5. Blood Religion 6. Condemned To Hell 7. Spiritual Dictator 8. Majesty 9. How Long 10. Revelation

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