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Guardians of Mankind / Merging Flare
Split CD-EP
April 2007
Released: 2007, Imperiumi Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Finland´s Guardians of Mankind is the world’s best Gamma Ray tribute band because they’re the only Gamma Ray tribute band that I know of! Guardians of Mankind have chosen to perform two songs off Gamma Ray’s highly acclaimed SOMEWHERE OUT IN SPACE album - "Beyond the Black Hole" and "Guardians of Mankind". What they actually do with those songs, is to perform both as perfectly close to the original versions as possible. It impresses me actually very much how close they can get to Gamma Ray. Their playing is flawless and amazingly professional from every aspect, and they do sound almost identical to Gamma Ray. So it´s no wonder why Gamma Ray asked guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen to join them as a session live member in 2006.

However, I have never been THAT excited about any of these tribute bands, so I just wanna say if your curiosity level urges you to check Guardians of Mankind out, then be my guest.

3 out of 5

Merging Flare is a much more interesting case though. Their 3-song demo, titled HELL TO PAY (which they recorded in 2005), made a great impression on me in August 2006. With the two new songs they have recorded for this split-EP with Guardians of Mankind, the band continues impressing even more. Merging Flare plays a modern, fast-tempo - could I say, German-influenced Heavy Metal - that isn’t that far removed from bands like Gamma Ray (not surprising!), Running Wild, and Accept. Some of those familiar elements of the aforementioned 3 bands are undoubtedly there, but it’s hard to talk about plain copycatting either. Matias Palm, and Kasperi Heikkinen who both play in Guardians of Mankind, really shine with their own contributions for these two songs. Matias must be one of the better Finnish vocalists out there nowadays who can easily change his voice from a lower pitch to a higher pitch whenever needed. Kasperi could basically do a solo album on his own as his skills with his 6-stringer, are incontestable. Out of these 2 songs presented on this split-single, “Steel Redeemer” floats the boat by its strong Accept vibe. Great song!

4 out of 5
Track Listing


01. Beyond the Black Hole
02. Guardians of Mankind


03. Under the Fire
04. Steel Redeemer



Kasperi Heikkinen - Guitar, backing vocals
Olli Huoponen - Guitar
Eero Kaukomies - Keyboards, backing vocals
Matias Palm - Lead & backing vocals
Tomi Saksa - Bass


Joni Hattuniemi - Rhythmn guitar
Kasperi Heikkinen - Lead & rhythmn guitar
Harri Leinonen - Bass
Matias Palm - Lead & backing vocals
Henri Pyy - Drums

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» Split CD-EP
by Luxi Lahtinen

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