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Spiner202
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PostSubject: Gamma Ray Discography   Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:30 am


Gamma Ray is one of the older and most essential power metal bands. Over the course of 10 albums, Gamma Ray has created numerous classic albums and powerful anthems!

After leaving Helloween (claiming both excessive touring and musical differences), Kai Hansen set out to form his own band. Rather than taking up vocals himself, he brought Ralf Scheepers along (later to join Primal Fear). In 1990, Gamma Ray released their debut album, Heading For Tomorrow.

Gamma Ray - Heading For Tomorrow - 1990, Noise Records



1. Welcome - 00:57
2. Lust for Life - 05:20
3. Heaven Can Wait - 04:28
4. Space Eater - 04:35
5. Money - 03:38
6. The Silence - 06:25
7. Hold Your Ground - 04:49
8. Free Time - 04:57
9. Heading for Tomorrow - 14:32
10. Look at Yourself (Uriah Heep cover) - 04:43

It took me a while to acquire this album because I was told to start with the albums with Kai on vocals first. I really like it, but it feels weird to not hear Kai on vocals. Still, there are a number of very cool tracks: "Heaven Can Wait", "The Silence", and "Heading For Tomorrow" are my favourites. When I saw them last week at Wacken, they even played "Heaven Can Wait". Ralf Scheepers does a good job, but he definitely sounds better on the early Primal Fear releases. Kai does some especially enjoyable work on the title track, which gets a bit more laid back for Gamma Ray, but is still quite enjoyable. I don't really play this one as much as the later ones, but it's still a solid addition to Gamma Ray's catalogue.

The classic Gamma Ray sound is in tact on this album, but it still sounds different from the material on Land of the Free onwards. While Kai is definitely the heart and soul of Gamma Ray, I've always felt that Dirk Schlachter and Henjo Richter also play a very important role in the songwriting, and both are pretty well absent here.

One thing I didn't know about this album until recently is that Kai does all of the guitar playing. I always thought Dirk had been in the band since the beginning, though he does play bass on two of the tracks.

My copy of this album is a double release that includes Sigh No More. I picked it up for 4.99 Pounds from Amazon UK. Definitely a great deal if you can find it!


Last edited by Spiner202 on Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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007
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:23 am

Big Gamma Ray fan here. Heading to Tomorrow was one of the first Gamma Ray cds I purchased. This is a little "raw" I guess,compared to what's to come, but it still is a good listen. My favorite tracks are Heaven Can Wait, Hold Your Gound,the epic title track, and the cover tune Look At Yourself.
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BearOnUnicycle
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:50 am

My favorite of theirs. Worth for the title track alone. Very different and thats probably why I like it that much.
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manny
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:37 am

I am looking forward to this thread since I know close to nothing about this band
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James B.
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:05 am

manny wrote:
I am looking forward to this thread since I know close to nothing about this band

micelf included

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A Handful of Wayne
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:34 am

Great album. I remember when a few friends of mine found out Kai started a new band. One of them picked up the next album and completely hated it, because they were expecting kai to sing. I tracked down the cassette at the time and loved it and I loved this debut album even more. Yea I wanted to hear kai sing but ralph is no slouch and i was fine with it.

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Fat Freddy
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:16 pm

HEADING... is a decent debut though I feel that they got better on later releases. The epic length title track is so overblown and overlong that it's awesome in a ridiculous sort of way.

Some good stuff here but a cople of duff tracks like the goofball "Money" ("moneymoneymoneymoneymoney!") and the godawful party rock song "Free Time" ("free time is something that I enjoy...") drag it down a little bit.

Promising start but better things were yet to come.

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Dark Horseman
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:09 pm

Yep, they would get much better.
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mc666
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:10 pm

Heaven Can Wait & Hold Your Ground are two of their best songs. Free Time was a fun lil jam too, although sounding slightly out of place.

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Spiner202
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:08 pm

Gamma Ray - Sigh No More - 1991, Noise Records



1. Changes - 05:42
2. Rich & Famous - 04:39
3. As Time Goes By - 04:43
4. (We Won't) Stop the War - 03:48
5. Father and Son - 04:26
6. One with the World - 04:47
7. Start Running - 03:58
8. Countdown - 04:20
9. Dream Healer - 06:21
10. The Spirit - 04:18

Sigh No More sees Dirk Schlšchter joining the lineup on guitars (who is still in the band today!), and features new drummer Uli Kusch. As I understand it, Gamma Ray was getting quite popular in Japan around this time.

Admittedly, this is one album I've ignored a bit because I always thought Heading for Tomorrow was the stronger release. I recently gave it another listen and really enjoyed it. "Rich & Famous" should be a classic Gamma Ray track. I'm not really sure why they don't play it live. I can even imagine Kai singing it quite easily. I also really like "Changes" and "As Time Goes By".

As a change from Heading From Tomorrow, I found this to be a much more focused disc overall. There is nothing as silly as "Money", but I also think there are less standout tracks. None of the songs are as long as the title track from the first album, but that helps this album feel a little more coherent.

Once again, this disc makes me think of a different band. Other than a couple of tracks, this just sounds like a Ralf Scheepers-fronted power metal band. There's nothing wrong with that of course, but this band still has yet to release much of their classic material.

Check out this killer performance of "Rich & Famous" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkzSB7ZSkTM
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Fat Freddy
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:40 pm

I liked this one a lot more than Heading for Tomorrow. "Changes" is a great opener, as is "Rich and Famous" (which is essentially a re-working of Helloween's "I Want Out," or is it just me?). "One With the World" and "Dream Healer" are faves too.

See, I told you they'd get better as they went along. Very Happy

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Spiner202
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:44 pm

Fat Freddy wrote:
I liked this one a lot more than Heading for Tomorrow. "Changes" is a great opener, as is "Rich and Famous" (which is essentially a re-working of Helloween's "I Want Out," or is it just me?).

I always thought "Send Me A Sign" was supposed to be "I Want Out Part II" Razz
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mc666
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:58 pm

this one was a lot weaker than the debut. they pull themselves back up with the next one.

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007
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:01 pm

I think that Sigh No More is a little better than the debut. The tunes just seem to stay with me longer than what's on Heading. Every song on it sounds good to me.
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Dark Horseman
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:24 pm

I felt like this was a step up, a more focused album and Ralf sounds great.
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Spiner202
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:26 pm

Insanity & Genius - 1993, Noise Records



1. Tribute to the Past - 05:04
2. No Return - 04:06
3. Last Before the Storm - 04:28
4. The Cave Principle - 06:51
5. Future Madhouse - 04:07
6. Gamma Ray (Birth Control cover) - 05:20
7. Insanity & Genius - 04:30
8. 18 Years - 05:23
9. Your Turn Is Over - 03:52
10. Heal Me - 07:32
11. Brothers - 05:14

Insanity & Genius would be the 3rd and final album to feature Ralf Scheepers on vocals. It is the strangest and most difficult one to get into of the three. Whereas the first album had a couple of songs that didn't fit in, this one has huge differences in quality between the songs. The first three songs, for example, are all pretty awesome, and continue in the fashion of the last two albums, but the fourth track, was not my thing at all. Then, "Future Madhouse" appears and is by far the most amazing song on the album. There are plenty of original riffs in that song and is one that I don't hear much praise for (then again, I've never really heard anyone talk about this album).

I would assume the band was named after the song "Gamma Ray", which was covered here. I'd never heard of Birth Control before, but I did enjoy the song quite a bit. The chorus is particularly catchy, though the rest of the song is a bit unmemorable. Other interesting songs include "Your Turn Is Over" and "Heal Me", which are sung by Dirk Schlacther and Kai Hansen, respectively. Dirk's vocals were surprisingly good, and I wouldn't mind hearing him in another band, but this song didn't do much for me. Hearing Kai's vocals surprised me. He must have made a huge leap in skill between this album and the next, because I was not very impressed by them. The song was still good though.

Unfortunately I don't have too much more to say about this album, because it's a relatively new addition to my Gamma Ray collection, but I'm curious to hear everyone else's thoughts.
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Fat Freddy
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:31 pm

This album lived up to the "Insanity" part of the title, not sure about the "Genius" though.

"Last Before the Storm" and "Heal Me" are the only songs I ever really dug from this one, and honestly I prefer the re-recordings of them from the Blast From the Past compilation.

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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:58 pm

I like Insanity & Genius. It's a pretty good album by them and it's a shame it's the last album with Ralf (although I don't mind Kai's vocals at all). I like the songs Tribute To The Past, Last Before The Storm, Gamma Ray and the title track the best.

Oh, and I have the 2002 re-release that tacks on the extended version of Gamma Ray,the Priest cover Exciter (well done by the band) and the live version of Save Us (originally done by Helloween).
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Orion Crystal Ice
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:42 pm

Full of great SONGS but the live renditions are just so much better, check those out on the 'Lust for Live' or 'Power of Metal' tour tracks. On that latter tour, which was called 'Melodic Metal Strikes Back', they toured with Rage supporting 'The Missing Link', and Conception supporting 'Parallel Minds'. This is in 1993, when everyone is completely convinced that heavy metal doesn't exist.
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Dark Horseman
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:44 pm

I & G is my favorite with Ralf on vox. It's a little scattered but I enjoy every song individuall.
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Spiner202
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:06 pm

Land of the Free - 1995, Noise Records



1. Rebellion in Dreamland - 08:44
2. Man on a Mission - 05:49
3. Fairytale - 00:50
4. All of the Damned - 05:01
5. Rising of the Damned - 00:43
6. Gods of Deliverance - 05:01
7. Farewell - 05:11
8. Salvation's Calling - 04:36
9. Land of the Free - 04:38
10. The Saviour - 00:40
11. Abyss of the Void - 06:04
12. Time to Break Free - 04:40
13. Afterlife - 04:46

For the first time since Helloween's Walls of Jericho in 1985, we have a record with Kai Hansen on vocals. Not only that, but we also have quite possibly the greatest Gamma Ray record ever, and definitely one of the best power metal albums. I'm not quite sure what went right here, because the last three albums only showed glimpses of this brillance, but things really came together here.

The opener, "Rebellion In Dreamland", is my favourite Gamma Ray song and one of the most epic. Not only does Kai deliver one of his best vocal performances, but there are two epic solos that are very face-melting. "Man On A Mission" is next and is probably the fastest song. I love the hilarious high vocals in the bridge. I'm not sure if this was meant to be humourous, but I found it quite enjoyable.

The only weak point on this record is "Time To Break Free". I love Michael Kiske, but this song just doesn't work. The chorus is more annoying than enjoyable, and it ruins the rest of the song for me. It's not like I haven't given it a chance. I've had this album longer than any other Gamma Ray album and I listen to it in full often.

Other than that song, I could really go on about how great every other track is, but I think that may be pointless. This is the one Gamma Ray album EVERYONE needs to hear. Even the short tracks/interludes are amazing!
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:04 am

I like Time to Break Free. Great track. Wouldn't sound out of place on an early Helloween album.

The album itself is a power metal masterpiece.
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:46 am

Fantastic album ! Rebellion In Dreamland is the perfect album opener (love the way it builds up steam as it goes along). And I like Time To Break Free as well. Very catchy tune. Like Spiner said, this is an essential album that every fan of power metal should own.
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:25 pm

This album made me wonder why Kai thought he wasn't given enough creative control with Helloween as he made a Helloween album here. I too think it's the best GR album, it's almost loose, like they were having a good time recording it.
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PostSubject: Re: Gamma Ray Discography   Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:33 pm

Both "Sigh" and "Insanity" are so different from every other power metal albums (if there were any in the early 90's), that might be the reason I like them so much. "Land" is great, but sadly the album has been copied way too many times.
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