Gamma Ray

It is safe to say that Gamma Ray's Majestic is probably one of the most […]
By David Kaluza
August 31, 2005
Gamma Ray - Majestic album cover

It is safe to say that Gamma Ray's Majestic is probably one of the most anticipated CDs this year. Not only because it has been almost four years since their last studio album, No World Order (2001, Noise), but perhaps even more because 2005 has been filled so far with rather disappointing releases by more than just a few other major bands (Stratovarius and Running Wild spring to mind instantly) and the genre could do with a bit of a positive boost. The question however is, can Gamma Ray deliver the goods?
Unfortunately enough the answer to that very question is a harsh no. Recorded with the same lineup that the band has existed in for the last couple of years, it continues the slow but steady slide towards the faceless, generic majority of Power Metal releases that was set in motion with the (in my opinion) slightly overrated No World Order.
Let me explain a bit further though. The problem isn't that Majestic is a particularly bad album, it simply is that it isn't a very good one either. If you enjoyed No World Order then chances are that you will also enjoy Majestic. It is obvious from the get-go that  Gamma Ray exists out of accomplished musicians, that Kai has grown into an excellent singer and the production once again manages to rise above that of the average Power Metal release. The problem however lies with the songwriting and the fact that these days it seems that Gamma Ray is running out of steam rather quickly. Once known as innovators and perfectors of the Power Metal genre, you simply cannot help but notice that nowadays the band simply rehashes the same old (and dare I say tired) ideas over and over again. Take for example Fight - not a bad song on its own, but it simply owes a little bit too much to previous Gamma Ray tracks like Man On A Mission or Beyond The Black Hole to really stand out. Hell Is Thy Home is even worse - with the opening riff being almost a straight rip-off of Judas Priest's Leather Rebel (with both Judas Priest and especially their Painkiller album being something that both Majestic as well as No World Order owe a lot to anyway). There hardly is anything on Majestic that does not remind you of something you haven't already heard a million times before and the few moments that are actually genuinely interesting or fun to listen to (like the title track or Condemned To Hell) are sadly too far and few between.
In the end, what you get out of Majestic really depends on what it is that you are expecting from it. If you are looking for something slightly more exciting than the average Power Metal album, you can safely ignore this release. Like I said before however, in essence Majestic is not a bad release, and I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there that will consider it a worthwhile addition to their collection. As for me, I'll simply keep on hoping that for their next studio album Kai Hansen & Co. will invest a bit more time in their songwriting and come up with something a little bit fresher and more exciting than this rather safe and by-the-numbers release.

6 / 10

Had Potential

"Majestic" Track-listing:

My Temple
Strange World
Hell Is Thy Home
Blood Religion
Condemned To Hell
Spiritual Dictator
How Long

Gamma Ray Lineup:

Kai Hansen - Vocals & Guitar
Dirk Schlδchter - Bass
Henjo Richter - Guitar & Keyboards
Daniel Zimmerman - Drums

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