To the Metal!
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GAMMA RAY - To the Metal! cover
3.64 | 19 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2010

Filed under Power Metal


1. Empathy (5:03)
2. All You Need to Know (4:00)
3. Time to Live (4:46)
4. To the Metal (5:30)
5. Rise (5:06)
6. Mother Angel (5:20)
7. Shine Forever (3:53)
8. Deadlands (4:23)
9. Chasing Shadows (4:23)
10. No Need to Cry (5:52)

Total Time: 48:21

Bonus disc
1. Wannabees (3:47)
2. One Life


- Kai Hansen / guitars, vocals
- Henjo Richter / guitars, keyboards
- Dirk Schlächter / bass, vocals (track 10)
- Daniel Zimmermann / drums

- Michael Kiske / vocals (Track 2)
- Nadine Nottbohm / Vocals (Tracks 2 and 6)
- Corvin Bahn / Keyboards

About this release

Label: earMuSIC/Edel Music

Thanks to rushfan4, adg211288, DippoMagoo for the updates

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

To The Metal is the legendary German Power Metal band Gamma Ray's tenth full-length studio album. It was produced by band members Dirk Schlächter and Kai Hansen, and was released in 2010.

Musically, the band spend half of the album carrying on in the same direction that made them famous, and half of the album concentrating on slower material. The last few albums had been criticized for a lack of original ideas, riff-recycling and stealing too much from Maiden and Priest. To The Metal doesn't "steal" quite so much, but it does still sound like Gamma Ray.

Basically everything you like about Gamma Ray anyway is out in full-force; Kai's voice and usual lyrical style is there, the guitar solos last for minutes on end and are of a fabulous standard, there are huge catchy choruses with harmonies and choral backing vocals, there are tasteful and low-in-the-mix keyboards augmenting the music without taking it over, occasional cuts to solo bass or drum fills and everything else you'd expect from a post-Scheepers Gamma Ray album. Michael Kiske even provides guest vocals on the track `All You Need To Know.'

There are still nods to Maiden, Priest and Queen but not quiet as blatantly as on the last few records (including the great Title Track, which evokes the spirit of Judas Priest's `Metal Gods,' without actually ripping it off too much).

Basically, it's a big, virtuosic, melodic Power Metal album. There are a few ballad-sounding tracks and a few slower groovier tracks that make the album as a whole feel slower, but it still picks up speed when it wants to, which is often.

The only thing for me that is an actual point against the record is that production is very loud, in a loudness war kind of way. This may provide a bit of a challenge for fans who prefer the production on their classic albums like Land Of The Free and Somewhere Out In Space.

There is also some debate among fans as to whether the album works better with the tracks in a different order, as the running order is different on different editions of the album (eg. Japanese and American releases differ). In my opinion, with the Japanese running order, the album can feel a bit too back-heavy.

Regardless of what order they arrive in however, stand out tracks include `Shine Forever,' `Chasing Shadows' `Time To Live' and the aforementioned `All You Need To Know' which has a brilliant bouncy, out of control feeling in the verses and a great, cheesy, sugary sweet chorus.

Overall; there are better Gamma Ray albums available, and if you are a new listener it may not be the best album to start off with, but as long as you aren't sick of the band's overall formula too much, and as long as you don't mind the material being a bit slower than usual, then it is a fine addition to the catalogue. It may take a few listens to really appreciate, but the thing is, its just a good album plain and simple. The standard of musicianship is incredible, and there's still lots of interesting material on offer.

Members reviews

I've been back and forth when it comes to my opinion of "To The Metal!". At first I actually thought that this album was even worse than "Majestic" with tracks like "All You Need To Know", "Mother Angel" and especially "To The Metal" seem to bring up all of the least interesting/enjoyable qualities in Gamma Ray music for me. Luckily the album began to steadily grow on me and after 20+ spins I can honestly say that "To The Metal!" is one of the band's best records in quite some time.

Unlike most of the previous efforts, this record is composed of a mixed set of tracks that don't actually have much in common with one another, except maybe for the fact that the majority of them are composed by Kai Hansen. Actually, come to think of it, not even this 'so called' fact is a given anymore since both Henjo Richter and Dan Zimmermann have been steadily contributing to the songwriting over the years. This time only half of the tracks have been penned by Hansen and the godfather of Power Metal still has a strong grip on his title with tracks like "All You Need To Know" and "Deadlands" clearly having a punch to them. The problem is that Hansen hasn't exactly been challenging himself as a writer, hence most of his works sound exactly like you would expect them to. Personally that never really bothered me since Hansen's work has a distinct sound to them which is a nice thing and I'll keep it at that.

The thing that does kind of ring a warning bell is the fact that these five compositions aren't anywhere near some of his best work, especially the album's title track which is a blatant Judas Priest rip-off and is easily this album's single worst moment. Luckily, Richter and Zimmermann are once again here to back up Hansen and deliver some of this album's strongest moments like "Time To Live", "Rise" and "Chasing Shadows". All of these tracks are fast-paced, melodic and feature powerful head-banging moments in them that are well worth experiencing!

The album closes on a somewhat unexpected note with the "No Need To Cry". Composed and sung by Dirk Schlächter, this track is clearly meant to be this album's "Lake Of Tears" but the melody and lyrics really make this track one of Gamma Ray's most pretentious pieces. I'm not even gonna talk about the eclectic middle section that completely sounds out of place with the rest of the composition.

Overall, "To The Metal!" is not a perfect record but it does feature enough memorable moments to make me feel nostalgic for the band's classic years (in mid '90s). As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, this is easily the best Gamma Ray record in years and it really brings me a shred of hope that the band will be able to continue making solid Power Metal records even into their 50's!

***** star songs: Rise (5:06) Chasing Shadows (4:23)

**** star songs: Empathy (5:03) All You Need To Know (4:00) Time To Live (4:46) Mother Angel (5:20) Shine Forever (3:53) Deadlands (4:23)

*** star songs: To The Metal (5:30) No Need To Cry (5:52)

Ratings only

  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • powermetal2000
  • DippoMagoo
  • Unitron
  • jsorigar
  • Rendref
  • mickemupp
  • adg211288
  • 666sharon666
  • Zargus
  • Vic
  • IndianaJones
  • Tlön
  • shriiimp
  • irregardlessly
  • flowerpower

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