Gamma Ray - 'Master Of Confusion'

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Gamma Ray - 'Master Of Confusion'

Still the best post Iron Maiden power metal band on the planet by a country mile.

With a near omnipotent live presence and a steady string of quality releases over the last two decades or so, nobody could accuse stoic German power metallers Gamma Ray of resting on their laurels!

After last year's ball busting live set 'Skeletons & Majesties – Live' you'd be forgiven for thinking that they'd take a break before planning their next move. Not a bit of it...already hard at work in the studio on the follow up to 2010's 'To The Metal' opus (due later in the year I'm told), for those desperately counting the seconds until "G-day", the band offer up yet another tasty morsel in the shape of 'Master Of Confusion'. Not a new album as such (although 60 minutes worth of music must surely put it in that territory, it's billed as a mini album or extended EP and priced accordingly.

Wrapped in some truly stunning artwork (thanks once again to ever brilliant French artist Herve Monjeaud), 'Master Of Confusion' will slake even the most raging of thirsts with its ten song smorgasbord of stylish melodic metal mayhem. For starters there are two brand new songs – 'Empire Of The Undead' and 'Master Of Confusion' – the former a dizbusting riffest that sounds like Metallica meets Stratovarius on steroids; the latter an anthemic, guttersnipe rabble-rouser delivered in true Gamma Ray fashion. Once you've digested those two offerings there's a tantalising amuse-bouche in the shape of two covers – Holocaust's underground metal classic 'Death Or Glory', and 'Lost Angels' from 70s glamsters The Sweet. Neither are obvious choices of cover (all the better in my book), but both work remarkably well with the dynamic Gamma Ray treatment. Finally there are the six additional live songs previously exclusive to the Blu-ray edition of 'Skeletons & Majesties – Live', all of which capture the band in the same devastating form. Recorded live in Bochum, the likes of 'Insurrection', 'Wings Of Destiny' and 'Farewell' are all delivered with that rabid Gamma Ray intensity, and just like the Pratteln show Michael Kiske guests on, 'Time To Break Free'.

Still the best post Iron Maiden power metal band on the planet by a country mile...can't wait for the new album guys, but in the interim this'll do nicely!

Dave Cockett

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