Gamma Ray – No World Order!
Reviewed by Kylie McInnes
To me, No World Order! has always been in a tough spot, sandwiched between the incredible Power Plant and the majestic Majestic. It also has a much heavier tone than any other Gamma Ray album (even though the band has always played in Eb tuning). The songwriting is incredible and the performances stellar, and yet I always seem to overlook this album. Strange enough, since “Eagle”, “Heart Of The Unicorn”, and the title track are some of my all-time favorite songs: not just Gamma Ray songs, but favorites ever.
It just seems strange that whenever I’m in a Gamma Ray mood, I rarely listen to this. Which is just wrong. No World Order! is a fantastic album, and half the reason I’m doing this rewind is to give myself a reason to give this a few spins. But enough about my personal experience with the album, let’s talk metal!
Like Power Plant before it, No World Order! is basic, straightforward power/speed metal. Oddly, there isn’t any one single “epic” track (“Lake Of Tears” is a good ballad that closes the album, but not in a way like “Armageddon” or “Revelation”) like the rest of the catalog. “Damn The Machine” and “Fire Below” are the only mid-tempo/”heavy metal” feel songs, so for fans of the old Keepers-era Helloween, this is most welcome.
And continuing with the “Kai songs that have totally obvious nods to Judas Priest” trend, we have not one but two tracks featuring Tipton/Downing riffs. “Solid” is a nod to “Rapid Fire” – and maybe Kai thought he could sneak in a Ripper-era riff and no one would notice. Sorry, Kai, but “Eagle” is totally “Bullet Train”, however, I won’t hold it against you because you worked it in such a way that you turned a thrash riff around into a power metal masterpiece!
Aside from “Fire Below” and “Damn The Machine,” everything fits the bill of your typical speed/power metal song structure (of course, “Lake Of Tears” is a ballad, but every speed/power metal album has a ballad, as is required by law). This makes for a very fun album for just rocking out. “Dethrone Tyranny,” “Heaven Or Hell,” and “Follow Me” are all great Gamma Ray tracks, full of speed metal bliss and catchy sing-a-long choruses (as you’d expect) with “Dethrone Tyranny” being the best of these. And how could it not be: Kai opens the song with his cry of “ALRIGHT!”™
Maybe it’s the track listing that throws off my overall enjoyment of the album as a whole. Closing with a ballad is a risky proposition, and my opinion is that ballads are great as a mechanism for adjusting the listener’s mood or for setting up something grander. Maybe I’ll experiment and adjust my track listing to swap “Eagle” and “Lake Of Tears” and see if it flows better, but until then, No World Order! sounds and feels too much like Somewhere Out In Space without being quite as mind-blowingly amazing. Still, No World Order! is a great place for a Gamma Ray neophyte to get their start. There’s actually no wrong way to start with the classic Hansen/Richter/Schlaechter/Zimmer Gamma Ray (and even if you start with Land Of The Free II and enjoy it, it’s all better from there!), and this serves as a great way to get someone into what Gamma Ray is all about (this is kind of like their Piece Of Mind: while not quite as good as preceding/proceeding albums, it’s the stereotypical “Gamma Ray” sound across the board). So all in all, I love this album even though I tend to neglect it, and still have no logical reason why.
4.5 // 5