Land of the Free
GAMMA RAY

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GAMMA RAY - Land of the Free cover
4.23 | 37 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1995

Filed under Power Metal

Tracklist

1. Rebellion in Dreamland (8:44)
2. Man on a Mission (5:48)
3. Fairytale (0:49)
4. All of the Damned (5:01)
5. Rising of the Damned (0:43)
6. Gods of Deliverance (5:01)
7. Farewell (5:11)
8. Salvation's Calling (4:35)
9. Land of the Free (4:37)
10. The Saviour (0:40)
11. Abyss of the Void (6:03)
12. Time to Break Free (4:40)
13. Afterlife (4:46)
14. H.M. Mania (Holocaust cover)* (4:49)
15. As Time Goes By (pre-production version)* (4:54)
16. The Silence '95* (6:29)

Total Time: 56:43

Line-up/Musicians

- Kai Hansen / vocals, guitars
- Dirk Schlächter / guitars
- Jan Rubach / bass
- Thomas Nack / drums

with

- Sascha Paeth / keyboards
- Hansi Kürsch / vocals (tracks 7, 9, and 11)
- Michael Kiske / vocals (tracks 9 and 12)

About this release

Re-released in 2002 with three bonus tracks (marked with * in track listing)

Farewell features Hansi Kursch (of Blind Guardian) as a guest vocalist.
Time to Break Free features Michael Kiske as the lead vocalist.

Thanks to Vic, rushfan4, adg211288 for the updates

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GAMMA RAY LAND OF THE FREE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Kingcrimsonprog
In 1995, the legendary German Power Metal band Gamma Ray released Land Of The Free, a seminal album for both the band and the genre that has since gone on to be thought of fondly as a classic, and which remains one of the fan's favourite Gamma Ray albums. It was one of the band's most commercially and critically successful albums too, coming at just the right time in Heavy Metal's timeline to catch an anti-grunge zeitgeist of fans who missed this sort of music.

After three albums with singer Ralf Scheepers (who left to try and join Judas Priest, and later formed Primal Fear); Kai Hansen, who was already the band's guitarist and primary songwriter, stepped up to take over the now vacant lead vocals position. A position Kai had not held full-time in a band since Helloween's 1985 debut record Walls Of Jericho a decade earlier.

In addition to Kai; Michael Kiske, the former lead singer of Helloween, who had worked with Kai on their incredibly influential and beloved Keeper Of The Seven Keys albums, provides guest vocals on two tracks. Furthermore Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian provides guest vocals on three tracks.

Musically, the album is a masterpiece. It has just the right blend of all of the band's influences and stylistic leanings, and has become for many fans the definitive Gamma Ray album. The direction, performances and lyrics of the album are all huge, overblown, over the top and bursting out of the speakers. The harmonies are big, the solos are blistering, the choruses are memorable, and when the band thrash, they thrash hard.

The first two tracks alone, the progressive `Rebellion In Dreamland' and the absolutely furious `Man On A Mission' are two of the best tracks that the band ever written.

The rest of the album is just as exciting; the standard of lead guitar is really something special, the additional tasteful keys from multi-instrumentalist/producer Sascha Paeth add a great tone and additional depth to the songs, the production perfectly serves the music perfectly and the band manage to come up with a diverse collection of songs that covers enough ground to stay fresh and interesting throughout, but with enough commonalities to flow cohesively.

If you like bands like Rainbow, Queen, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest as well as early Helloween, this album should stimulate a lot of those parts of your brain, sonically referencing them, without at this point directly ripping them off (something the band would later get accused of on subsequent records).

Its difficult to hear energetic and entertaining tracks like `Gods Of Deliverance,' and `Time To Break Free' or indeed the emotional progressive ballad `Farewell' (about Helloween drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg's suicide) and not be captivated. This is simply one of those albums that's better than the sum of its parts and has that extra something that makes it a classic.

No fan of the band, or any band Kai Hansen has been involved in, should be without this record. I highly recommend it to fans of Power Metal, as well as to any general Metal fans at all, if you love ambitious compositions, energy, conviction and virtuosity then you should at least give it a chance.
Warthur
Whilst I did enjoy Helloween's Keeper of the Seven Keys albums, I find that having two decent albums in that vein alreayd makes me resistant to the idea of accumulating more. Thus, I was disappointed when Kai Hansen's Gamma Ray project seemed - at least to my ears - to chart a course of essentially emulating a certain variant of the Helloween sound in which Hansen's ideas are pre-eminent. Land of the Free is a well-produced and well-performed affair, but to me it just sounds like yet another attempt by a power metal band to recapture the lightning bottled by Helloween on those two classic albums of theirs, and it doesn't really seem to build on it very much.

Members reviews

RuneWalsh2112
I consider myself somewhat of a Gamma Ray fan since I owned "No World Order" and "Majestic" in my collection for years. Eventually, around 2006, I decided to give "Land Of The Free" a proper listen, seeing that it was the band's biggest hit to date. Unfortunately this was when my personal tastes started to deviate from Power Metal sound and I never really give the album it's proper time.

Skip to 2012 and the year where I finally began to embrace Kai Hansen's Helloween-era material. Helloween has never been my favorite Power Metal act but that all changed when I heard their debut EP and "Walls Of Jerico", showing a completely different side of Hansen and the band that I was finally able to embrace. Skip a few weeks later, where I revisited "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" albums and the two Gamma Ray albums that I own, and I was finally ready to give "Land Of The Free" a chance to rediscover itself!

The first spin was not really as enjoyable as I wanted them to be, but this soon changed once I moved on to "Somewhere Out In Space" which managed to give its predecessor a whole new perspective! The two albums are pretty similar in their songwriting, with lyrical themes being their most distinctive features, but somehow I found "Somewhere Out In Space" much more accessible with well defined melodies, lyrics and instrumental sections. Ultimately "Land Of The Free" definitely managed to win me over in almost all of the mentioned categories and thus becoming my favorite release from the band!

The opening 9 minute opus "Rebellion In Dreamland" is probably the main reason of why it took me such a long time to digest this album. It might be considered a classic from the band but I honestly don't enjoy it all too much and think that it's far from a perfect album opener. Just compare it to the "Somewhere Out In Space" opener "Beyond The Black Hole" and you'll know what I mean! The rest of the album flows on by pretty smoothly, except maybe for "Salvation's Calling" which I personally prefer to skip through due to its bland and repetitive chorus. Some of my favorites include "Man On A Mission" with its obligatory followup "Fairytale", "All Of The Damned", slightly cheesy but very appropriate ballad "Farewell", the magnificent title track, "Abyss Of The Void" and "Time To Break Free" with Michael Kiske on lead vocals!

As you might tell there isn't really much space for filler here, which is probably why the album has become the great Power Metal classic that it is.

***** star songs: Man On A Mission (5:48) All Of The Damned (5:01) Land Of The Free (4:37) Abyss Of The Void (6:03)

**** star songs: Rebellion In Dreamland (8:44) Fairytale (0:49) Rising Of The Damned (0:43) Gods Of Deliverance (5:01) Farewell (5:11) The Saviour (0:40) Time To Break Free (4:40) Afterlife (4:46)

*** star songs: Salvation's Calling (4:35)
carmarthen
LAND OF THE FREE is the best Gamma Ray album ever. They had never recorded something so good before, nor they did something so good after. Maybe, excited by the challenge of singing lead vocals again after a long time, Kai Hansen did his best.

This concept album is top of the game in the power / melodic metal genre. All the songs flow in a natural way, with speed, wight, force, dynamism, great lyrics, great solos, great drumming by Thomas Nack. The high points are the opener "Rebellion In Dreamland", followed by "Man On A Mission" and the title track. MIchael Kiske, ex-Helloween, appears as guest vocalist for "Time To Break Free". There's also a "requiem" song called "Afterlife", dedicated to ex-Helloween drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg, who comitted suicide in Germany by jumping ahead of a train.

This is pretty obvious the work of an inspired band at the top of their form. Both the drummer and the bass player are no longer in the band. Kai Hansen pal and guitarist / producer Dirk Schlachter gave up on guitars and assumed bass guitar, giving room to the hiring of guitarist Henjo Richter, a very good player.

LAND OF THE FREE is metal at its best, no matter the genre inside metal.

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