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GAMMA RAY - Power Plant cover
3.61 | 36 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1999

Filed under Power Metal


1. Anywhere in the Galaxy (6:37)
2. Razorblade Sigh (5:01)
3. Send Me a Sign (4:06)
4. Strangers in the Night (6:03)
5. Gardens of the Sinner (5:56)
6. Short as Hell (3:57)
7. It's a Sin (4:58)
8. Heavy Metal Universe (5:24)
9. Wings of Destiny (6:25)
10. Hand of Fate (6:11)
11. Armageddon (8:49)

Total Time: 63:34


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

- Piet Sielck / Vocals (backing) (Track 10)

About this release

Release date: March 23rd, 1999
Label: Noise Records

Different editions sometimes use 'Powerplant' as a one word title.

Thanks to rushfan4, adg211288, DippoMagoo, diamondblack for the updates


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Call your power metal album Power Plant, and that's a pretty clear signal to anyone that this album is going to be Gamma Ray business as usual - all power metal, all the time, done in the well-worn Gamma Ray style. The cheese is strong in this one, at points overpowering the band's sense of taste; whilst the idea of a metal cover of the Pet Shop Boys' It's a Sin isn't terrible, the execution here is predictable and doesn't really shed any new light on the song. (If you know the original song and Gamma Ray's style, you can probably guess, without hearing it, what a Gamma Ray cover of It's a Sin sounds like... and, yeah, that's pretty much what it sounds like here.)

On the one hand, you wouldn't want to write off an album like this based solely on one track... on the other hand, if that track is the only one which is especially memorable, that's clearly a huge problem, and I found that that's the case here, with the "Wait a minute... that's a Pet Shop Boys song!" moment being the time the album really manages to make me sit up and take notice. Gamma Ray and power metal fanatics will still enjoy it, but it's a poor starting place for any exploration of their discography.

(Also, though this doesn't affect the grade, I have to call out the cover art here. It's one of those really prize atrocities from that era when people seemed to think that cheap 3D rendering was an acceptable look for an album cover.)
Gamma Ray, the legendary German Melodic Power Metal band fronted by the immensely talented Kai Hansen (Founding member of Helloween, member of Iron Saviour & Unisonic, guest contributor to Angra, Blind Guardian, Primal Fear, Hammerfall, Avantasia and all around fingers-in-many-pies mainstay of the Power Metal scene) really came in to their own with their classic fourth studio album Land Of The Free. They had always been great, but something about that 1995 masterpiece really just elevated them even higher. For me, the three albums that followed maintain that high standard. Most fans will be very familiar with Somewhere Out In Space and the popular No World Order albums. It seems that piggy-in-the-middle record, Powerplant is a bit more overlooked, or in other words underrated.

The album opens with ‘Anywhere In The Galaxy’ which is unquestionable, pure classic Gamma Ray. This sort of song is the reason people love this band. Elsewhere there is the fun tribute to Manowar ‘Heavy Metal Universe’ (filled with constant lyrical references, and musically based on ‘The Gods Made Heavy Metal’) which is great fun. There’s variety with a Pet Shop Boys cover (‘It’s a Sin’), a commercial sounding tune (‘Send Me A Sign’) and a lengthy progressively inclined number (‘Armageddon.’)

The production is a little flatter than the albums which surround it, and sonically it doesn’t perhaps pop out as much, but the songwriting and performances are spot on. ‘Wings Of Destiny,’ ‘Razorblade Sigh’ and the aforementioned gem ‘Anywhere In The Galaxy’ are memorable, melodic ragers that would stand proud on any other Gamma Ray record.

Overall; this album sees Gamma Ray in the middle of a great run of high quality albums. It maybe doesn’t get talked about as much as some other albums but you’ll be damn grateful to have it in your collection once you’ve given it a chance.

Members reviews

The third release of the Kai Hansen-fronted Gamma Ray sees the band continuing on their trail of conceptual Power Metal albums. But unlike "Land Of The Free" or "Somewhere Out In Space", which both featured many memorable moments without actually having any actual singles in the cannon, "Powerplant" seems to invest most of its stakes on a few compositions while leaving other parts of the album seem a bit uninspired. Overall it's still a pretty solid effort by the band that have slowly began to lose some of their momentum after two very strong releases. Great melodies and enthusiastic playing are very much in place but they lack the overall consistency of the previous efforts.

The first three songs are the album's strongest tracks with "Anywhere In The Galaxy" being an excellent opener followed but "Razorblade Sign" and "Send Me A Sign", both being strong but somewhat unusual compositions in Gamma Ray's repertoire. "Strangers In The Night" could be a tribute to the classic Saxon track, but you wouldn't think it while listening to this Power Metal track. The reason for my theory comes from the Biff Byford-inspired vocals featured on "Heavy Metal Universe" where Kai sings the line "masters of the thunder" just like Biff did on "Heavy Metal Thunder".

Unlike the previous albums, that have been re-released with a few cover tracks, "Powerplant" features a cover on the actual album of Pet Shop Boys' "It's A Sin". I used to enjoy this cover a lot earlier but now I, more often than not, press then skip button. "Heavy Metal Universe" is a fun little metal tribute track that doesn't actually bring much to the album but it's nice to hear that Gamma Ray are humble to their roots. "Wings Of Destiny" is a pretty weird track due to it's bombast intro which then transforms into a completely different rhythm during the verse sections while the chorus line is ridiculously out of place... somehow it still makes me enjoy it even more due to all its flaws.

"Hand Of Fate" and "Armageddon" are good closing numbers which unfortunately drag on for too long but, when I think about it, most of the tracks on this album are at least a minute too long for their own good. Still, it's not something that Gamma Ray are about to change any time soon.

Overall, "Powerplant" is slightly weaker than two of its predecessors but I still enjoy listening to it on occasion. If you've loved "Land Of The Free" and "Somewhere Out In Space" then this is definitely the next obvious step for you. Otherwise I'd skip right on to "No World Order", but more on that soon!

**** star songs: Anywhere In The Galaxy (6:37) Razorblade Sigh (5:01) Send Me A Sign (4:06) Strangers In The Night (6:03) Gardens Of The Sinner (5:56) Heavy Metal Universe (5:24) Wings Of Destiny (6:25) Hand Of Fate (6:11) Armageddon (8:49)

*** star songs: Short As Hell (3:57) It's A Sin (4:58)
Two years after Somewhere Out in Space, Gamma Ray stays its course retaining the crude sci-fi lyrics of the previous album, but turns the intensity factor up a notch. These two things, and Kai's masterly songwriting gave Gamma Ray a solid identity in the creatively declining power metal scene. I think I'd consider it their best album, even above Land of the Free. It just has a little more bite and despite a touch of filler, keeps my interest for its hour long run time.

Opening subtly with clean guitar, Anywhere in the Galaxy explodes to life after 30 seconds into a typical opening track for Hansen but the band's fast and furious approach keeps it fresh. I'm still impressed at how varied the song styles are on this album. Razorblade Sigh is slower, robust and more reflective in its lyrics, Send Me a Sign is anthemic and catchy, and concert favourite Gardens of the Sinner reminds the most of an old (but new) Helloween classic. Power metal so often bores with the same things time and again. Short as Hell lets the side down a bit with a laborious pace despite its short length, while Heavy Metal Universe is old school fromage that I just can't deal with too well anymore. But in the middle is an interesting cover. The Pet Shop Boys' hit It's a Sin gets a metal makeover which actually works. I wouldn't say they quite "make it their own", but the galloping rhythm fits with it well.

Towards the end the epic tendencies come out in full force with Wings of Destiny and Hand of Fate being heavy on the bombast and scope paving the way for the incredible finisher. Armageddon more than stands up to Halloween and Rebellion in Dreamland in Kai's collection of lengthy numbers. It has the aggression and dramatic shifts of the former, and the maturity and melody of the latter. While power metal isn't the most serious music and there's plenty of silliness on offer from Kai and company this ranks up with the genre's most concerted efforts to make something of lasting value.

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