August 12, 2010


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Gamma Ray, To the Metal
Earmusic Records, March 16
We haven’t done this in a while, any serious study of an oldschool NWOBHM metal band. There I was, watching a YouTube of Chalmers Johnson, our planet’s intellectual Yoda, explaining matter-of-factly how America is going to destroy itself, and then I remembered there were CDs to review, and so I randomly threw this in the player just as my wife was coming in to do her hourly check to see if I’ve had a coronary. She liked it, you see, and then I started actually listening to it for the second time since way back in March, and it occurred to me that (A) I always forget that a lot of NH folks are big into Priest and Maiden, and (B) there’s a little Meshuggah drone and Skinny Puppy vocal-growling that goes on here, so by rights I should recommend this band to you. I’d long ago abandoned any hope that this generation would actually add something to the historical record of Maiden/Priest-style metal; I tired pretty quickly of reviewing the endless supply of retro Priestmaiden bands because the reviews were like a game of Name That Tune, viz: ah, I know! “Metal Gods!” Woop, that one’s “Number of the Beast!” and so on. This spandexed foursome, however, do have a rough-edged sound similar to Maiden’s debut (can we all admit yet that Bruce Dickinson sucks?) as well as a legit taste for industrial heaviness, so I can forgive the ripoff of “Metal Gods” on the fricking title track. I don’t know, maybe my main message here is that if you actually want 20 pounds of CDs that sound like Maiden and Priest, e-mail me or whatever and save me the Craigslisting to get them out of my house (this one wouldn’t be included, for what that’s worth). B — Eric W. Saeger