GAIA EPICUS – Damnation

GAIA EPICUS - Damnation
  • 8.5/10
    GAIA EPICUS - Damnation - 8.5/10


Epicus Records
Release date: December 8, 2008

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Since the days of Power Metal’s classic years of Helloween and Gamma Ray, this sub-genre has evolved here and there but without adding anything shocking and revolutionary. Gaia Epicus is doing it just like many other Power Metal bands, it’s not that original, but who said Thomas Hansen gives a damn about it? Although while hearing the band’s new album, Damnation, one will surely find banal riffs and the new fast paced double mayhem of the drums, but if it’s done good, it makes for the lack of originality.

The story of Gaia Epicus contains a lot of twists and turns along the way. In 1992, Thomas Hansen started out, in Trondheim, Norway, a Punk Rock band, which goes by the name of Raw Meat. A Year later the guys probably decided that Metal is better than Punk , A Metalhead will surely think that, and for 5 years they played Thrash Metal under the name Execution. In 1998 they shifted to a low gear to play Melodic Heavy Metal under the name Millennium but with legal issues surrounding the name, they changed it to Theater Of Pain and used the name until they, with no surprise, changed the name again to Eternal Flame. All of these changes had taken place between 1999-2000. In 2001 , they stopped the “name changing fashion” and picked their current name, Gaia Epicus, and celebrated the new name with playing Power / Speed Metal with the usual themes of Fantasy and History.

Since 2001, the band has released three albums between 2003-2007. Among these albums there are two great titles such as Victory(2007) and Satrap(2003). Near the end of 2008, Thomas Hansen and crew released their fourth album, Damnation, which continues the same line of music throughout Gaia Epicus’s album career. The album, like the previous one, went under the label Epicus Records.

Thomas Hansen, aside from being the band, he also managed the production, which he made it sound like a Gamma Ray / Hammerfall Power Metal attack. Hansen’s additional role was handled with excellence. The mixing and mastering were handled under Dali Sternisa’s care, which were also made with finesse. Overall, the production is just how Power Metal needs to be heard – strong, melodic, and powerful yet with some smoother edges to make it flow.

Hansen, has made fulfilling his role with a high ability, his vocals are much better than previous albums, he is a raw mix of Peavey Wagner of Rage and Kai Hansen of Gamma Ray but without the high-pitched turnouts. As a guitarist, he has some great Power Metal rhythms and various good melodies.

After Joakim Kjelstad, Gaia Epicus’s lead guitarist, left the band after the Victory album, Hansen armed himself and his now ex-drummer, Ole Myrholt with various stars from the Power Metal world on lead guitar solos , keyboard whirlwinds and bass. Stars like Roland Grapow – guitar (Ex-Helloween and one of Masterplan), Dominique Leurquin – guitar (Luca Turilli and Rhapsody Of Fire), Andreas Passmark – bass (Narnia and Rob Rock), Michael Troy – Keys (Malmsteen), Ola Halen – additional vocals (Insania), Jonas Hornqvist – guitar (Treasure Land), Lasse Jensen – guitar (Oceans Of Time) and Fabrizio Muratori – keys (Nhorizon). All these folks were courtesy of some record labels. So Metal fans expect some guitar shreds, melodic , intense solos and smashing keys solos.

Gaia Epicus’s material is very easy to comprehend, the rhythm riffs are simple yet charging and flowing, the lyrical themes are to be expected but here Hansen uses a bit of the Helloween and Gamma Ray humor like in the best of tracks, “You Are A Liar”, which beyond of being excellent musically, it deals with the ones who represent us all around , the political system. With the help of this track, Hansen marks the correct definition of a Politician- “Liar , liar , pants on fire”. “Cyborgs From Hell” comes as a warning to mankind, not to create something you can’t control or you will get hurt. He is doing a good analogy to the Metal Cyborgs who turn against their creators. Along with the lyrical metaphor , this number is a Speed / Power blowout with a great rhythm section and a melodic and energetic solo by Lasse Jensen. “A Hero In All” , “The Savior Will Come” and “Salvation Is Here” can be all categorized as means for future optimism. These songs contradict many who say that Metal is always false about many things. The opener “Damnation” is a very nice epic, kind of like the “Land Of The Free” by Gamma Ray from 1996. In most albums the epic , longs songs are saved as closers. But Hansen , just like the German Hansen, decided it will serve as an opener for the late speed fest.

“Damnation” blames humanity for its own failures and that responsibility should be taken for its downfalls. Most of the track is pure music, which brings great keyboard parts by Michael Troy and a hell of a solo by Roland Grapow. “The Wizard’s Return” is an average instrumental but with a strong solo by Dominique Leurquin who shreds its way through it. “Masters Of The Sea” and “Firestorm” are typical okay Power Metal tracks , but pretty banal ones.

After the album’s release, Thomas Hansen is all alone and he is Gaia Epicus. Drummer, Ole Myrholt, left the band for unknown reasons. But you can be certain that Hansen will continue his work no matter what because he is the man behind it all – a mastermind at work. Cheers for you mate!!


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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