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Gama Bomb - "Tales From The Grave In Space" (CD)

Gama Bomb - "Tales From The Grave In Space" CD cover image

"Tales From The Grave In Space" track listing:

1. Slam Anthem (2:34)
2. New Eliminators Of Atlantis B.C. (3:05)
3. Three Witches (2:40)
4. Last Ninjas Unite (2:17)
5. Escape From Scarecrow Mountain (2:36)
6. Mussolini Mosh (1:13)
7. We Respect You (2:28)
8. Apocalypse 1997 (2:32)
9. Return To Blood Castle (2:44)
10. Polterghost (2:51)
11. Skeletron (3:09)
12. Mummy Invasion (2:48)

Reviewed by on November 15, 2009

"The album comes off like a summer blockbuster; loud, mindless, and full of explosions, but lacking any substance or lasting value. "

The rise of the digital age brought forth a musical revolution that many in the music industry were not prepared for. Illegal downloading became rampant, sales were down, and nobody seemed to have a solution. This has been going on for years now and it is a growing concern, especially within the metal community. Record labels, both independent and major, are stuck in a bind that they are still trying to work their way out of. In this type of dire situation, when it comes to putting attention on a band, innovation is the key. It just so happens that Earache Records knows one way to get the music out; give it away to the masses for free.

That is the selling point to Gama Bomb’s third album, “Tales From The Grave In Space.” With one easy click of the mouse, anybody can get the entire album free of charge, with no hidden clauses or fees. For any label to basically hand over one of their big releases of the fall with no struggle is a major risk that could either have serious consequences or triumphant success in the long run. While the answer to that is one that looms ahead in the near future, the inquiry of the present day is whether Gama Bomb has put out another solid collection of crossover thrash that can top last year’s “Citizen Brain.”

While “Citizen Brain” was a huge leap forward musically, with stronger songwriting and catchier melodies, “Tales From The Grave In Space” is a continuation of the direction Gama Bomb was heading in on their sophomore album. The band engages in playing tight, adrenaline-fueled thrash metal that powers ahead with the ferocity of a rabid squirrel in a Planters factory. The twelve tracks are simple and fast, making songs like “Mussolini Mosh” and “Last Ninjas Unite” fly by with little warning.

On the musical front, Gama Bomb is still at the top of their game. The guitars rip and iron out riffs of steel, with the cataclysmic rhythm section hammering everything into oblivion. The solos are wild and unfettered, a throwback to the days where Nuclear Assault and Whiplash were the supreme overlords of underground thrash. Vocalist Philly Byrne screams his way through the album like a banshee, howling at the top of his lungs about ghosts, robots, and killer ninjas.

“Tales From The Grave In Space” has fantastic musicianship backing it up, but the songwriting has taken a hit in the year since “Citizen Brain.” There are a few stand-outs, including opener “Slam Anthem” and the mechanical-sounding “Skeletron,” but the album seems rushed. A large portion of it sounds like leftovers and B-sides from their last album. For those that thoroughly enjoyed “Citizen Brain,” it won’t be much of a problem, but the cracks on the songwriting front are starting to become more noticeable. There isn’t anything on this album that equals to the infectious qualities of “Zombie Blood Nightmare” and “Global Warming,” helping to make the songs mesh together in a haphazard fashion.

It is commendable for a label to take a chance in this day and age, but that doesn’t mask the fact that “Tales From The Grave In Space” comes off as a stagnant and bland attempt to repeat the success of their sophomore album. The album comes off like a summer blockbuster; loud, mindless, and full of explosions, but lacking any substance or lasting value. Since it is legally free to obtain, “Tales From The Grave In Space” is worth at least a listen, especially from those that couldn’t get enough of “Citizen Brain.”

Highs: Free to download, great musicianship, fast as hell and retains a lot of the characteristics of "Citizen Brain."

Lows: Sounds like "Citizen Brain" part two, lack of any progression and over in a short half-hour.

Bottom line: Gama Bomb takes a chance with releasing the album for free, but it isn't up to the high expectations that "Citizen Brain" set.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)