Somewhere Out In Space is the fifth full-length studio album from the German Power Metal band Gamma Ray. The album is a Sci-Fi/Egyptian themed concept album and like all Gamma Ray albums which preceded it, featured a change in the band’s line up, this time with the appearance of Dirk Schlächter on bass instead of guitar (who incidentally co-produced the album with band leader Kai Hansen) as well as Henjo Richter taking over the guitar spot and Dan Zimmermann playing the drums, completing a line-up which would last for a decade-and-a-half.
The album was released following up the classic Land Of The Free album, and follows on very much in the style with which that album was written. The long, slightly progressive songs are there, the Hard Rock/Hair Metal edges from their 2nd album are largely gone and the Keeper Of The Seven Keys style Power Metal is back in force.
The album serves as the perfect companion to the aforementioned Land Of The Free, and these two albums together sort of exemplify the Gamma Ray sound. Mixing the constant double kicks and speedy drumming of Thrash metal with the theater, song structures and character of Iron Maiden, the parts of Queen’s sound that would be called grandiose and majestic and basically everything else from Judas Priest.
It’s an absolutely constant array of lead guitar work, from shred to character to melody. It’s got an awful lot of character, there are a fairly good mixture of tempos, vocal approaches and riff styles and structurally the album flows together very well as a whole.
Admittedly; if you aren’t accustomed to it, at first listen this sort of thing may seem unforgivingly over-the-top and cheesy, but hopefully you should be won over by the sheer quality and enjoyable nature of the music.
Standout tracks include the brilliant ‘Men, Martians & Machines,’ the immensely fun ‘Valley Of The Kings’ and ‘Watcher In The Skies’ which features guest appearances by Iron Saviour’s Thomen Stauch and Piet Sielck.
Overall, Somewhere Out In Space is a fantastic record and if you are into Gamma Ray or Power Metal at all, then this is definitely an album you should at least consider checking out. It satisfies on a number of levels; it’s well made, well produced, it’s got a lot of variety, its musically impressive and it’s just a lot of fun as well. I highly recommend it.