I believe we are all familiar with legendary German power metal band, GAMMA RAY. Formed by former HELLOWEEN guitarist and songwriter Kai Hansen as a “solo band” and now the band’s seventh studio album, “No World Order,” is now celebrating 20 years since its release. The album was heavily inspired and influenced by standard stereotypical heavy metal genres, which made this a much heavier and darker theme than its previous albums. This time they turned to fantasy rather than the previous two which had more sci-fi themes. The overall soundscape of the album is powerful and explosive and grandiose on a huge scale.
The album starts with the “Induction” intro, with theatrical drums and operatic singing, with Kai Hansen giving the impression of something great awaiting behind the curtain that, with every beat of the drum, is opening and smoothly emerges into “Dethrone Tyranny“. The heavy-toned and fast-paced power metal cannon, guitar sweeping brings some 80’s good proofed power metal riffs. With this song they set the tone of the album.
“The Heart Of The Unicorn”… this song is very tight with the double pedal on the drums alongside speedy guitar riffs. Besides that, the song gives the listener something that is immediately familiar, which is the hidden influences or inspirations from JUDAS PRIEST’s “All Guns Blazing” and “Metal Meltdown,” spiced up with an IRON MAIDEN-like solo section. It looks like the metal bands that were big influences for GAMMA RAY were heavily paid tribute on the “No World Order” album. Still, it is very typical: atmospheric, melancholic, melodic, and very heavy.
It would not be a proper heavy metal album without the topic of heaven or hell, so the next track, “Heaven Or Hell,” gives that sweet ’80s synth feel. There is a melodic solo melody that leads into the core of the song, far from the lines that are characteristic of power metal. The album title track, “No World Order,” starts with the catchy little bluesy-yet-heavy guitar riff. All other instruments, especially the drums, allow the tempo to slowly rise until Kai Hansen starts to sing, where it turns into a pleasant gallop. “Damn The Machine” has guitar like a chainsaw, rising to give the feel of a heavy machine, slowly covering ground while moving forward.
“Fire Below” and “Follow Me” are both solid, good heavy metal songs. “Follow Me” feels pretty loud – an unshakable grenade-fire of heavy metal, and “Eagle” has a power metal chorus to remind us what we’re listening to. To give the album some dynamic, the ballad “Lake Of Tears” is the perfect match for the overall soundscape. These kinds of power ballads can be found on the records of almost any power metal band.
The album ends with the song “Trouble.” On first listening, it sounds like another typical heavy song, but then it surprises you with an organ solo, bringing the listener back to the ’70s. Furthermore, the solo has a lot more to say than the lyrics.
The production of the record is amazing work and all the instruments and sounds can easily be distinguished, but also have their own role. This is a true power metal album with a lot of layers and innovative ideas, wrapped with recycled old GAMMA RAY and HELLOWEEN elements and a little extra flavor from their influences. To this day, it still contains brilliant guitar solos, memorable choruses, and the riffs and drumming are driving, heavy, and energetic. This is a really entertaining record and as long as you haven’t overdosed on its formula beforehand, should still be of a high enough quality to excuse that one issue.
Written by Peter Jerman
- Dethrone Tyranny
- The Heart Of The Unicorn
- Heaven Or Hell
- New World Order
- Damn The Machine
- Fire Below
- Follow Me
- Lake Of Tears
Kai Hansen – guitars, vocals
Henjo Richter – guitars, keyboards
Dirk Schlächter – bass
Daniel Zimmermann – drums