Gamma Ray Biography
Last updated: 05/16/2012 12:00:00 PM
Retrospect: Back to the year of 1988. The message causes a sensation: guitarist Kai Hansen leaves Helloween, the quintett he co-founded, which managed to move 250.000 units of KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS (Part. II) and reach goldstatus in Germany. Still all the world´s gold could not repress Hansen´s desire to realize his personal vision of modern, melodic Heavy Metal under the name of Gamma Ray (which was the songtitle of an old German band called Birth Control).
As a consequence the first few albums HEADING FOR TOMORROW (1989), SIGH NO MORE (1991) and INSANITY & GENIUS (1993) , featuring the vocals of Ralf Scheepers (now with Primal Fear), had more of an experimental character, marking the obligatory quest for an unique style, that differed from Hansen´s former sphere of activity. The band´s definite style emerged at the latest with the release of LAND OF THE FREE in 1995: powerful Heavy Metal consisting of accessible melodies, anthemic sometimes epic songstructures and the unmistakable voice of the guitarplayer, who again took over vocals duties for now and forever like in the days of old Helloween, with his pink Randy Rhoads guitar. ALIVE ´95, recorded in both Spain and Italy, is a fine documentation of the worldtour that followed the album, which also proved, that bands of this genre can be successful outside of Japan, the all-time strong hold for melodic / power metal.
SOMEWHERE OUT IN SPACE, released in 1997, was another turningpoint in the band´s carreer: On one hand the line-up finally became stabilized to its current form with bassplayer Dirk Schlächter, drummer Daniel Zimmermann and guitarist Henjo Richter, on the other hand this album lifted Gamma Ray up into the European elite of bands, which rang in the comeback of more traditional sounds. Now it payed off that the guys from Hamburg always stuck to their personal, unique style, only refining their sound without giving in to the trends of the time.
POWERPLANT was the continuation of the worldwide triumphant advance for the foursome. They celebrated their tenth anniversary with the release of a double CD entitled BLAST FROM THE PAST - a collection of their greatest hits chosen by the fans through an internet poll. Early tracks then were newly recorded by the current line-up. Another world tour followed, which even took Hansen and company to exotic regions like Mexico.
Now the four guys plan to add another chapter to their success story with their seventh studio offering NO WORLD ORDER. Once again selfproduced by Hansen and Schlächter, the band celebrates a mixture of Heavy Metal within the well-tried tradition, leaving no wishes unfullfilled in terms of diversity. Once again the quartett puts an emphasis on its well known strong points: an inimitable mix of accessible melodies with tremendous highspeed metalpower to be found on tracks like "Solid", a driving anthem with definite NWoBHM flair, "Heart Of The Unicorn", an almost thrashy headbanger or on "Eagle", a definite riff-monster featuring a sing-along chorus and extensive twin guitar harmonies.
The nice guys even put out a potential hit "Heaven or Hell", which lives up to "I Want Out", a track Hansen composed back in 1998 for his former band Helloween, still a favourite at both Helloween and Gamma Ray shows. "Fire Below" heads more in the direction of hard rock reminiscent of Deep Purple, while "Damn The Machine" is based on a churning riff and sounds vaguely like Accept in glory times of BREAKER or RESTLESS & WILD, yet it does not deny modern influences.
Without any doubt: there is no way ingnoring Gamma Ray and their new album NO WORLD ORDER in the third millenium - at least not for all those, who are into high class, diverse, brilliantly executed Heavy Metal with a dominating catchyness and a "Made In Germany"- mark of quality. Gamma Ray - "what you know is what you get" for every metalhead.