Gamma Ray
Gamma Ray was originally intended as a side-project for Helloween guitarist Kai Hansen. However Hansen soon left his band to form this new band with vocalist extrodinaire Ralph Scheepers. They started out sounding very similar to Helloween but eventually found their own sound. Following 1993's Insanity and Genius, Ralph Scheepers departed to try out for Judas Priest; he didn't get the job, (too bad!) but opted to form a new band called Primal Fear (who sound a lot like Priest) rather than return to the fold, leaving Hansen to take over vocal duties since 1995. Kai and Ralph recorded a song together for the Judas Priest tribute. I didn' really discover these guys until 1998 when a friend sent me a tape of a few songs. How the heck I let them slip by, I do not know.

Heading for Tomorrow Gamma Ray-Heading for Tomorrow (Noise) 1990

1."Welcome"-instrumental (1:00)
2."Lust for Life" (5:01)
3."Heaven Can Wait" (4:23)
4."Space Eater" (4:34)
5."Money" (3:40)
6."The Silence" (6:20)
7."Hold Your Ground" (4:48)
8."Free Time" (5:01)
9."Heading for Tomorrow" (14:30)
10."Look at Yourself" (4:42)

The first Gamma Ray album sounded very much like Helloween. Great album but very underappreciated. The title track is an excellent epic metal song. "Look at Yourself" is a Uriah Heep cover.

Sigh No More Gamma Ray-Sigh No More (F.A.D. Records) 1991

1.   "Changes" (5:41)
2.   "Rich & Famous" (4:36)
3.   "As Time Goes By" (4:39)
4.   "(We Won't) Stop the War" (3:44)
5.   "Father and Son" (4:22)
6.   "One with the World" (4:44)
7.   "Start Running" (3:54)
8.   "Countdown" (4:17)
9.   "Dream Healer" (6:16)
10. "The Spirit" (4:16)

I've read mixed reviews about this one. Some say it's their best, others say it sucks. I like it as it still retains the Helloween, German metal style. Gone are the gang chants that Helloween used so much, but the music is more streamlined and a bit more focused, in my opinion. Track #8 ("Countdown") is not on the original cassette or vinyl release. Stupid cover art that reminds me of something the Grateful Dead might do. Found this one in a used cd store for a mere $5.99.

Insanity & Genius Gamma Ray-Insanity & Genius (Noise) 1993

1. "Tribute to the Past" (5:01)
2. "No Return" (4:04)
3. "Last Before the Storm" (4:29)
4. "Cave Principle" (6:45)
5. "Future Madhouse" (4:07)
6. "Gamma Ray" -edited version (6:30)
7. "Insanity & Genius" (4:28)
8. "18 Years" (5:23)
9. "Your Torn Is Over" (3:34)
10. "Heal Me" (7:31)
11. "Brothers" (5:13)

Kai Hansen and Ralph Scheepers' German speed metal symphony! This disc rocks supreme!

Gamma Ray-Land of the Free (Noise) 1995

1. "Rebellion in Dreamland" (8:45)
2. "Men on a Mission" (5:57)
3. "Fairytale" (:46)
4. "All of the Damned" (5:00)
5. "Rising of the Damned" (:45)
6. "Gods of Deliverance" (5:00)
7. "Farewell" (5:12)
8. "Salvation's Calling" (4:35)
9. "Land of the Free" (4:41)
10. "The Savior" (:40)
11. "Abyss of the World" (5:59)
12. "Time to Break Free" (4:36)
13. "Afterlife" (4:43)

Very similar to "Insanity & Genius". "Land of the Free" is another exceptional German engineered heavy metal fest. To tell you the truth though I still think Gamma Ray sounds like Helloween. I'm not sure why Kai felt he couldn't express himself in Helloween. Perhaps he didn't have enough control. Who knows, but now there are two bands who's style and sound are very much the same, so I guess I shouldn't complain. Cool cover art too.

Alive '95 Gamma Ray-Alive'95 (Noise) 1995

1.   "Land of the Free" (5:28)
2.   "Man on a Mission" (5:54)
3.   "Rebellion in Dreamland" (8:23)
4.   "Space Eater" (4:44)
5.   "Fairytale" (:54)
6.   "Tribute to the Past" (4:47)
7.   "Heal Me" (7:28)
8.   "Saviour" (1:31)
9.   "Abyss of the Void" (5:53)
10.  "Ride the Sky" (5:47)
11.  "Future World" (7:30)
12.  "Heavy Metal Mania" (6:27)
13.  "Lust for Life" (6:20)
14.   "No Return" (4:01)
15.   "Changes" (5:24)
16.   "Insanity & Genius" (4:10)
17.   "Last Before the Storm" (4:12)
18.   "Future Madhouse" (4:11)
19.   "Heading for Tommorow" (8:19)

Must admit that I don't listen to this one much. It's not that it's bad, actually it's pretty darn good, it's just that I like ther their studio albums so much better. I got this one in an internet trade. (traded some peice of junk that I paid $1 for.) I've heard that there is a single disc version of this as well. "Ride the Sky" is a charged up version of the Helloween classic.

Somwhere Out in Space Gamma Ray-Somewhere Out In Space (F.A.D. Records) 1997

1. "Beyond the Black Hole" (6:00)
2. "Men, Martians and Machines" (3:50)
3. "No Stranger (Another Day in Life)" (3:33)
4. "Somewhere out in Space" (5:26)
5. "Guardians of Mankind" (5:01)
6. "Landing" (1:17)
7. "Valley of the Kings" (3:49)
8. "Pray" (4:43)
9. "Winged Horse" (7:02)
10. "Cosmic Chaos" (:48)
11. "Lost in the Future" (3:38)
12. "Watcher in the Sky" (5:17)
13. "Rising Star" (:52)
14. "Shine On" (6:48)
15. "Return to Fantasy" (5:12)

Gamma Ray continue in their neo-classical, Euro-speed metal tradition with Kai Hanson's melodic vox and killer guitar work. "Somewhere Out In Space," is a concept album paying tribute to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. I lovethe way the opening track starts off with the slap bass and double bass. My copy is from Germany and contains the awesome bonus track "Return to Fantasy."

Power Plant Gamma Ray-Powerplant (Noise) 1999

1. "Anywhere the Galaxy" (6:35)
2. "Razorblade Sigh" (5:00)
3. "Send Me A Sign" (4:05)
4. "Strangers in the Night" (6:04)
5. "Gardens of the Sinner" (5:55)
6. "Short as Hell" (3:55)
7. "It's Sin" (4:57)
8. "Heavy Metal Universe" (5:23)
9. "Wing of Destiny" (6:24)
10. "Hand of Fate" (6:07)
11. "Armageddon" (8:44)

Kai Hanson and Company forge ahead in 1999, giving us more of the speed metal they have become known for. No longer can Gamma Ray be compared to Helloween, as Gamma Ray are much heavier, and more aggressive than anything Helloween has done in the last few years. This is probably my favorite Gamma Ray disc.

No World Order Gamma Ray-No World Order (Metal-Is) 2001

1. "Induction" (:59)
2. "Dethrone Tyranny" (4:14)
3. "The Heart of the Unicorn" (4:46)
4. "Heaven or Hell" (4:16)
5. "New World Order" (5:00)
6. "Damn the Machine" (5:04)
7. "Solid" (4:23)
8. "Fire Below" (5:34)
9. "Follow Me" (4:43)
10. "Eagle" (6:05)
11. "Lake of Tears" (6:47)

Yet another stellar concept disc from Gamma Ray. This time 'round the theme revolves around the conspiracy theories of author Mark Brauneis. The music is less complicated this time around and there seems to be less speed metal songs. In replace there is much more passionate, albeit more basic heavy metal. Thoughts of Judas Priest and fellow German metalheads Accept and Rage spring to mind when I first heard this disc. Songs like 'The Heart of the Unicorn' and especially 'Solid' bring to mind the stylings of KK Downing and Glenn Tipton. (As a matter of fact, 'Solid' has some amazing musical similarities to 'Rapid Fire' and 'Eagle' has some similarities to 'Painkiller.') Check out the melodic lead guitar solos in 'Heaven or Hell' and see if this won't make any true headbanger smile in delight. I'd be willing to bet that this 'new' approach will earn the band some seriously bad reviews in trendy metal rags like Kerrang. However, for those of us who like serious true metal, I think Hansen has made a step in the right direction, even if it is a step back to a time when metal actually had some hooks. (thanks kmorg)

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