Bursting into life with a flurry of guitar dive bombs and shrill vocals, there is no chance Gamma Ray are ever going to deviate from their well-trodden path. ‘Empire Of The Undead’ is more of the same – but in the very best way. Trademark riffery from Kai with effortlessly fast and melodic soloing and then we get the title track which is the second of the two ‘original’ tracks on this album. With a hook so gorgeous you’ll want to kiss it, this harks back to early Helloween, laden with gang vocals and twin-lead harmonies.
We’re then into the cover versions with a rather bouncy take on Holocaust‘s ‘Death Or Glory’ and then a superbly boisterous stab at Sweet‘s ‘Lost Angels’. An odd combination to pick but both sit nicely together and lead us into the second half of this album which is comprised of 6 live favourites recorded in Bochum and sounding so clean and polished one struggles not to be cynical as to the amount of overdubbing that may have occurred. Whether it is untouched or has had more cosmetic tweaks than Joan Rivers… it sounds glorious and that’s what really matters.
Closing with the monumental ‘Insurrection’ – in all twelve minutes of its epic pomposity, this is more a stop-gap EP than an album proper, but it’s retailing for half the price of a regular album and is a worthy addition to the collection for all fans of classic power metal.