GAMMA RAY
Power Metal • Germany

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Founded in 1989 by Kai Hansen in Hamburg, Germany after leaving Helloween, Gamma Ray borrowed straight from the Helloween classics, and continued to pioneer Hansen's style of power metal.

After four years with Helloween, Kai Hansen decided to leave the band at the height of their career. He then went on to do some studio work with Blind Guardian.

Kai and his friend Ralf Scheepers from Tyran' Pace decided to start a project. They recruited bassist Uwe Wessel and drummer Mathias Burchard. The resulting sound was very close to Helloween's power metal style.

The first album Heading For Tomorrow was released in 1990. Two lineup changes resulted in Uli Kusch (who would later join Helloween) becoming the bands second drummer and Dirk Schlachter becoming a new guitarist. The new lineup released the Heaven Can Wait EP.

In 1991 the band released Sigh No More, which
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Empire of the UndeadEmpire of the Undead
Eagle Rock Entertainment 2014
Audio CD$11.64
$12.75 (used)
Heading for Tomorrow/Sigh No MoreHeading for Tomorrow/Sigh No More
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$7.93
$13.40 (used)
Land Of The Free - Part IILand Of The Free - Part II
Steamhammer / SPV 2008
Audio CD$6.95
$10.00 (used)
No World OrderNo World Order
Metal-Is Records 2003
Audio CD$7.72
$7.98 (used)
Empire of the Undead +1Empire of the Undead +1
Import
Loen Entertainment Kr
Audio CD$20.98
MajesticMajestic
Import
Universal I.S. 2009
Audio CD$5.10
$5.34 (used)
Master of ConfusionMaster of Confusion
Import
1-2-3-4-GO! 2013
Audio CD$6.24
$38.00 (used)
Live: Skeletons & MajestiesLive: Skeletons & Majesties
Eagle Rock Entertainment 2012
Audio CD$8.99
$5.20 (used)
To the Metal!To the Metal!
Earmusic 2010
Audio CD$7.99
$6.48 (used)
Live: Skeletons & Majesties [Blu-ray]Live: Skeletons & Majesties [Blu-ray]
Import
Ais 2013
Blu-ray$18.40
$28.90 (used)
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GAMMA RAY Discography

GAMMA RAY albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.90 | 22 ratings
Heading for Tomorrow
Power Metal 1990
.. Album Cover 3.99 | 19 ratings
Sigh No More
Power Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 3.67 | 20 ratings
Insanity and Genius
Power Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 4.23 | 35 ratings
Land of the Free
Power Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 4.20 | 30 ratings
Somewhere Out in Space
Power Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.82 | 28 ratings
Power Plant
Power Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 4.22 | 28 ratings
No World Order
Power Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.74 | 21 ratings
Majestic
Power Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.54 | 18 ratings
Land of the Free II
Power Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.63 | 15 ratings
To the Metal!
Power Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Empire of the Undead
Power Metal 2014

GAMMA RAY EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.67 | 3 ratings
Heaven Can Wait
Power Metal 1990
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Silent Miracles
Power Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Skeletons & Majesties
Power Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.17 | 3 ratings
Master of Confusion
Power Metal 2013

GAMMA RAY live albums

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 6 ratings
Alive '95
Power Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 4 ratings
Skeletons in the Closet
Power Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 4.02 | 5 ratings
Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome (And the Finnish Keyboarder Who Didn't Want to Wear His Donald Duck Costume) (live in Montreal)
Power Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Skeletons & Majesties Live
Power Metal 2012

GAMMA RAY demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

GAMMA RAY boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 3.00 | 5 ratings
Blast From the Past
Power Metal 2000

GAMMA RAY singles (5)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Who Do You Think You Are?
Power Metal 1990
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Future Madhouse
Power Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rebellion in Dreamland
Power Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Valley of the Kings
Power Metal 1997
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Heaven or Hell
Power Metal 2001

GAMMA RAY movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
5.00 | 2 ratings
Heading for the East
Power Metal 1990
.. Album Cover
4.75 | 2 ratings
Lust for Live
Power Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Gamma Ray - Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome: Live In Montreal
Power Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Skeletons & Majesties Live
Power Metal 2012

GAMMA RAY Reviews

GAMMA RAY Somewhere Out in Space

Album · 1997 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Having rekindled my interest in the cheesier end of power metal through my discovery of Rhapsody, I decided to give Gamma Ray another chance, but unfortunately I still find them a bit too airy and cheesy for my tastes. Kai Hansen does a decent job as band leader, guitarist and vocalist, but I just find the proceedings here to be just a little bland, offering not quite enough surprises and compositional departures from Gamma Ray's business as usual to hook me. Essentially, Gamma Ray is quite clearly Hansen's project to continue the sound he hit on with Helloween come hell or high water, and nothing's going to dissuade him from that mission... I just can't help feel that I preferred this sound when it was Helloween doing it for some reason.

GAMMA RAY Somewhere Out in Space

Album · 1997 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kingcrimsonprog
Somewhere Out In Space is the fifth full-length studio album from the German Power Metal band Gamma Ray. The album is a Sci-Fi/Egyptian themed concept album and like all Gamma Ray albums which preceded it, featured a change in the band’s line up, this time with the appearance of Dirk Schlächter on bass instead of guitar (who incidentally co-produced the album with band leader Kai Hansen) as well as Henjo Richter taking over the guitar spot and Dan Zimmermann playing the drums, completing a line-up which would last for a decade-and-a-half.

The album was released following up the classic Land Of The Free album, and follows on very much in the style with which that album was written. The long, slightly progressive songs are there, the Hard Rock/Hair Metal edges from their 2nd album are largely gone and the Keeper Of The Seven Keys style Power Metal is back in force.

The album serves as the perfect companion to the aforementioned Land Of The Free, and these two albums together sort of exemplify the Gamma Ray sound. Mixing the constant double kicks and speedy drumming of Thrash metal with the theater, song structures and character of Iron Maiden, the parts of Queen’s sound that would be called grandiose and majestic and basically everything else from Judas Priest.

It’s an absolutely constant array of lead guitar work, from shred to character to melody. It’s got an awful lot of character, there are a fairly good mixture of tempos, vocal approaches and riff styles and structurally the album flows together very well as a whole.

Admittedly; if you aren’t accustomed to it, at first listen this sort of thing may seem unforgivingly over-the-top and cheesy, but hopefully you should be won over by the sheer quality and enjoyable nature of the music.

Standout tracks include the brilliant ‘Men, Martians & Machines,’ the immensely fun ‘Valley Of The Kings’ and ‘Watcher In The Skies’ which features guest appearances by Iron Saviour’s Thomen Stauch and Piet Sielck.

Overall, Somewhere Out In Space is a fantastic record and if you are into Gamma Ray or Power Metal at all, then this is definitely an album you should at least consider checking out. It satisfies on a number of levels; it’s well made, well produced, it’s got a lot of variety, its musically impressive and it’s just a lot of fun as well. I highly recommend it.

GAMMA RAY Heading for Tomorrow

Album · 1990 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kingcrimsonprog
Heading For Tomorrow is the debut album by the legendary German Power Metal band Gamma Ray. It was released in 1990, after guitarist and primary songwriter Kai Hansen left Helloween who had released the incredibly influential Keeper Of The Seven Keys albums.

The vocals on this album are handled by Ralf Scheepers (later of Primal Fear) as opposed to Kai himself, who took over vocal duties on the band's fourth album. There are additional bass contributions on two of the tracks from Dirk Schlächter, who would later become one of the band's longest lasting members, first as the band's guitarist and later bassist.

Opening with the grand, symphonic sounding intro track `Welcome' which sets the scene for things to come, the album starts off strong, kicking into `Lust For Life' which is one of the strongest tracks on the record. Its full of memorable vocal lines, impressive lead guitar work and an interesting structure, therefore pretty much setting the template for Gamma Ray in general.

Other highlights include `Money' which has a bit of an eccentric feel, as well as the catchy `Space Eater' and `Free Time' which is a sort of out-of-place glam number that shouldn't work but does.

The album ends with a 14-minute title track that has a progressive feel and then a cover of Uriah Heep's `Look At Yourself.'

Later Gamma Ray albums would have a much more direct Queen and especially Judas Priest influence in the sound, and would go further to replicate the sound or at least spirit of Helloween's Keeper Of The Seven Keys albums, which leaves this debut in a sort of unique position in the band's catalogue. If you've only ever heard their later work it should provide an interesting contrast.

Overall; Looking For Tomorrow is a strong debut from a great band. It is a bit more eccentric and covers more ground than their later work, and its full of interesting music all the way through. If you like anything Kai has ever done, or indeed either the band's he was inspired by or that he has inspired then this is certainly worth at least giving a listen.

GAMMA RAY Sigh No More

Album · 1991 · Power Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Sigh No More is the second full-length studio album by the legendary German Power Metal band Gamma Ray. It was released in 1991, just one year after the band's debut.

As with the band's debut the vocals on this album are handled by Ralf Scheepers (later of Primal Fear) as opposed to Kai himself, who took over vocal duties on the band's fourth album.

Dirk Schlächter, who had been a guest bassist on their debut, joined the band properly as a guitarist and Uli Kusch became the band's new drummer.

Musically and lyrically, it is very different than every other Gamma Ray album. The lyrics are less fantasy based and cover topics like the Gulf War, and the music goes the furthest away from the Keeper Of The Seven Keys formula that Kai Hansen has ever been since before those albums were written. It seems as though the band were trying to carve their own niche and escape Helloween comparisons at this point, before finally just giving in and giving the fans what they want with later albums.

On one or two songs, you even get an almost Glam/Early-90s Hard Rock influence audible.

Just because the music is different however, doesn't mean that it isn't good. `Rich And Famous' for example is one of the best Gamma Ray songs out there, `The Spirit' is exciting with its acoustic guitar over electric bass sections and memorable and `(We Won't) Stop The War' is very catchy even if they'd never write anything that sounds like it again.

The standard of lead guitar, the level of entertainment are and the memorable nature of the choruses are all equal to the standard that fans have come to expect from the band. This record simply adds a bit of variety to your Gamma Ray collection. Not that its even an unrecognizable departure anyway; tracks like `As Time Goes By' and `Start Running' still sound like Judas Priest after all. I suppose its really just the `grand' and `epic' part of the sound that is missing.

Overall; Sigh No More is a very good album, that shouldn't be overlooked just because it doesn't fit into the band's signature formula. There are some fine songs on it and it's a very entertaining album in its own right. If you like the band you should at least give it a try.

GAMMA RAY Insanity and Genius

Album · 1993 · Power Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Insanity And Genius is the third full-length studio album by the legendary German Power Metal band Gamma Ray. It was released in 1993, two years after the band's controversial Sign No More record and only three years since the band's debut.

Whereas Sign No More had felt like the band trying to escape the Keeper Of The Seven Keys formula, Insanity And Genius feels like the exact opposite; as if the band are reacting against Sign No More's sound and deliberately making the new album bigger, faster, more bombastic and over the top. Pretty much, if you like the main spirit of Power Metal, then this is an album worth checking out. If you like the NOWBHM and Speed Metal sounds that the band are influenced by this is worth checking out, and if you like Gamma Ray in general this is an album that's worth checking out.

This would be the final Gamma Ray album with Ralf Scheepers who would leave the band to try and join Judas Priest, and later form Primal Fear. It was one album before lead vocal duties were taken over by band founder Kai Hansen, although Kai does contribute lead vocals to one song here, foreshadowing that transition somewhat. As with all the early Gamma Ray records, there was a line-up change. This time the rhythm section changed, with bassist Jan Rubach and drummer Thomas Nack replacing Uwe Wessel and Uli Kusch respectively.

Musically, this album is excellent, in terms of production, this album is excellent and in terms of performances, this album is excellent. Kai is one of the best lead guitarists out there, and if you like guitar solos, Gamma Ray are probably a band that you should be listening to. This album isn't specifically his flashiest or fastest work, but it does display some of his most creative work and the leads and solos are a joy to listen to. Add that to Priest and Maiden influenced riffs and a primarily thrashy pounding rhythm section (that occasionally breaks into hard rock grooves for variety) and a mix of shrieking and melodic high pitched vocals and you have a winning Heavy Metal formula.

If you want really powerful and driving Power Metal with a lot of bombast and energy, you could do a lot worse.

Standout moments include the groovy and slightly out-of-place `The Cave Principal' which has something of a Victim Of Changes feel to it, as well as the speedy and melodic `The Last Before The Storm' and `Future Madhouse.' My favourite song on the album however, is actually a cover, called `Gamma Ray' which was originally by a German band called Birth Control. The track is one of the catchiest, most fun and most memorable moments in Gamma Ray's history.

Then again, the whole album is good. There isn't much in the way of filler, and it flows well from beginning to end. The only thing that I would say is that it's a grower, that reveals more of its character on repeat listens, as opposed to the two albums that would follow it, where all the character is very up-front and obvious. This makes it worth persisting with if you do find it a little dull on first listen, especially after having heard the band's later work before hand.

Overall; Insanity And Genius is a very good album that no Gamma Ray fan should be without for long. If you like anything the band have ever did, you'll probably like this album a lot.

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