The Bottom Line
- Another solid effort from a genre leader.
- Workmanlike, Teutonic riffing.
- Kai Hansen's rasp echoes that of Helloween's glory days.
- The band's low radar results in a niche audience appeal.
- Released March 16, 2010 on Earmusic.
- This is Gamma Ray’s tenth album.
- Features ex-Helloween singer Michael Kiske as a guest.
Guide Review - Gamma Ray - 'To The Metal'
What you’re going to get here is classic metal riffing—a la Accept and Judas Priest—with that classic Teutonic touch that only a talent the caliber of Hansen can possibly make interesting in 2010. This is due to the fact that the man simply knows how to write a catchy, memorable metal song without pretension or heavy handed conceptual delusions, with the simple joy of a man who LOVES his work.
Helloween fans should certainly love the fact that ex-Weenie frontman Michael Kiske makes a guest appearance here on To The Metal (boy, for someone who seems to hate metal so much, he sure seems to get around, doesn’t he?), to a wondrously iconic effect, of course. Meanwhile, Hansen and Co.’s songwriting skills should not be doubted on their own merit, as the songwriting level here on To The Metal easily rivals that of Gamma Ray’s best and most beloved work.
It actually is quite astonishing how consistent Gamma Ray has been over the years. From the band’s early, Ralf Sheepers-fronted years (Heading For Tomorrow, Insanity and Genius) to their impervious mid-period success with Hansen as frontman (Somewhere Out In Space, Power Plant, No World Order), Gamma Ray has remained a constant reminder that this sort of classic metal can indeed be just as blood-boiling and fist-pumping as it ever was, when delivered from the well-trained hands of master craftsmen.
To The Metal is an energetic reminder of this fact, and yet another feather in the cap for Kai Hansen and Gamma Ray: truly one of heavy metal’s most unsung heroes.