I have respected Kai Hansen ever since I heard the song "How Many Tears". A very underestimated song that still gives me the energy to go on again when I am feeling down. After leaving Helloween I followed his career and I have to say he never released a really bad album. O.k., some are perhaps a little inferiors, but even those are still above average. You can compare them a little with Overkill; what Blitz is for Overkill, Kai is for Gamma Ray.
This new album is Gamma Ray all the way, and we don't want it any other way either! Nevertheless, the opening track "Empathy" is not a typical Gamma Ray song - it is a bit more modern (industrial) and has a kind of poppy groove to it. The other tracks are then fast, then mid-tempo and with the last track "No Need to Cry" there is a ballad too. The Iron Maiden and Judas Priest influences are of course everywhere, but in the title track they over-act; "To the Metal" is so much "Metal Gods", you almost think it is a cover. For the rest we get the good old melodic Helloween spiced power metal with choir singing and lots of double bass drums. On "All You Need to Know" there is a guest appearance by good old Michael Kiske and of course I am very pleased with that.
No real surprises on this new album and as a fan I feel as happy as a mouse in a cheese factory when this CD spins it's rounds. Try and buy the Ltd. edition because you get a DVD of 'The making of...' as a bonus. Nice to see the dedication and love for their music and the pleasure in doing what they do.
Cheers: To the Metal!