Gamma Ray – Master Of Confusion

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Review by Brian McGowan

Edel Records

What is clearly designed as a potboiler to sate the appetites of fans, impatient for new material, turns out to be rather good. Two new songs, two inspired covers and half a dozen live gems make up the priced-to-suit mini album Master Of Confusion, assembled, amusingly, as Side A, Side B and yes, Side C. Now I do like the A Side, but oh, I do like the B side and the C side (geddit?). Ok, no more bad puns. (Ed: Hallelujah!)

Generally, when recordings finish up on the cutting room there’s an obvious reason, but Hansen’s assertion that the six live tracks here didn‘t make the cut for Skeletons… simply because there wasn‘t room, gains credence once you hear them. Most notable are ‘The Spirit’ from 91’s Sigh No More, and ‘Insurrection’ from 2007’s Land Of the Free II, if only because the songs’ intrinsic progressive elements – with nods to Rush and King Crimson – emphatically remind you that Gamma Ray is more than just another heavy metal band. Of the new stuff, the title track does everything that Gamma Ray do best. A ringing guitar riff, subtle underlinings, a fist pumping bridge and a punchy chorus, all measured and primed for major live action during this year‘s world tour with Helloween.

The band have covered Scottish metal band Holocaust’s material before, and the entrenched lyrics of ‘Death Or Glory’ clearly appealed to Hansen. It is an inspired choice, spinning a punky, in-your-face vocal melody on an urgent, archetypal metal riff. It’s neatly contrasted with a cover of The Sweet’s ‘Lost Angel’ – originally rumoured for inclusion on Land Of The Free II. Hansen’s clearly having fun here, but the performance is wholehearted, reverential and full of spine tingling harmonies…you’re conscious of being rigorously entertained. And you can’t say much better than that.

Gamma Ray - Master Of Confusion7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Empire Of The Undead
  2. Master Of Confusion
  3. Death Or Glory
  4. Lost Angels
  5. The Spirit
  6. Wings Of Destiny
  7. Gamma Ray
  8. Farewell
  9. Time To Break Free
  10. Insurrection