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Gamma Ray


Most Popular Songs (more)

1Spiritual Dictator lyrics
Gamma Ray
2Gods Of Deliverance lyrics
Gamma Ray
3Heroes lyrics
Gamma Ray
4Born To Fly lyrics
Gamma Ray
5Razorblade Sigh lyrics
Gamma Ray
6Troup De Loup lyrics
Gamma Ray
7Empress lyrics
Gamma Ray
8Heavy Metal Mania lyrics
Gamma Ray
9Rich And Famous lyrics
Gamma Ray
10Leaving Hell lyrics
Gamma Ray

Most Popular Albums (more)

1Heaven Can Wait
Gamma Ray
2Land Of The Free
Gamma Ray
3Heading For Tomorrow
Gamma Ray
4Somewhere Out In Space
Gamma Ray
Gamma Ray
6Who Do You Think You Are?
Gamma Ray
7Insanity And Genius
Gamma Ray
8Sigh No More
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9Future Madhouse
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10Alive 95
Gamma Ray


In 1988, after four years with Helloween, guitarist and songwriter Kai Hansen decided, for reasons that are still the subject of much debate, to leave the band. Hansen claimed that Helloween had become too big for him to handle, although the group's troubles with financial issues and the record company most likely played a part as well. He proceeded to do some studio work with Blind Guardian. Eventually, Hansen decided to form his own project with long-time friend Ralf Scheepers from Tyran Pace. This two-man project grew into a four-man band with the addition of Uwe Wessel (bass) and Mathias Burchard (drums). Thus was Gamma Ray born, bearing a sound understandably close to that of Hansen's former band, Helloween.

The original line-up released the album Heading for Tomorrow in February 1990, and later that year the 'Heaven Can Wait EP' with new guitarist Dirk Schlächter and new drummer Uli Kusch.

In February 1991 the band began rehearsing for the recording of their second album in a small, remote house in Denmark. With some brand new songs written, Gamma Ray entered the studio under the supervision of producer Tommy Newton, and produced their second album Sigh No More, which was released in September 1991. The style vastly differs from that of Heading for Tomorrow, featuring darker lyrics as a result of the Gulf War that was raging at the time. A 50-date worldwide tour followed.

After the Japanese tour at the beginning of 1992, Gamma Ray were in the media again, but this time with no good news for the fans: the rhythm section (Uli & Uwe) left because of a personal disagreement and were replaced by Jan Rubach (bass) and Thomas Nack (drums) of one of Hamburg's old bands, Anesthesia. The band also began to build their own studio, so work on their new album didn't start until 1993. The album Insanity and Genius was released in June 1993, with a style which was closer to that of Heading for Tomorrow than Sigh No More. In September, Gamma Ray, along with Rage, Helicon and Conception embarked on the Melodic Metal Strikes Back tour. The tour contributed to the release of the double CD The Power of Metal, and the videos Power of Metal and Lust for Live, in December.

More changes in the lineup were to follow. Scheepers lived quite far way away from Hamburg, meaning that the band could only rehearse weekends, which was preventing progress with the new album. Since Scheepers submitted his application for the job of vocalist for Judas Priest, and he had a good chance of getting the position, Hansen asked him if he really felt that staying with Gamma Ray was the right thing to do. In the same time Hansen and Schlächter begun to sing their own songs on the new album "Insanity and Genius" which also was not healthy for the relationship. Hansen and Scheepers decided that it would be for the best if Scheepers left the band, and so, with no hard feelings on either side, Scheepers left Gamma Ray (he later failed to be recruited in Judas Priest and then started his own heavy metal band, the acclaimed Primal Fear). Hansen then began to search for a new vocalist, but due to demand from friends and fans took on the guitar-vocal duties as he had for the first Helloween EP and album.

In 1995 the fourth album, Land of the Free, the first to feature Hansen on vocals, was released. Critics around the globe were ecstatic. The following tour, Men on a Tour, brought the recording and release of the live album Alive '95 in 1996.
Dan Zimmermann
Dan Zimmermann

Soon, both Hansen and Schlächter decided that yet another change was needed. Jan Rubach and Thomas Nack both left in order to return to Anesthesia, and in came new drummer Dan Zimmermann, who was also the drummer of Freedom Call. Schlächter wanted to drop the guitar and pick up the bass duties as that was his original instrument, as can be seen on the earlier Heading for the East video when he and Wessel switch instruments for a few songs, and Schlächter performs a bass solo at one point. Henjo Richter came in to fill the second guitar spot. This lineup survives to this day.

Work started on the next full-length album, and 1997 saw the release of Somewhere Out in Space, which marked the beginning of the band's thematic concentration on space. After two years of touring came the album Power Plant, which was a continuation of Somewhere Out In Space's lyrical approach, but a new direction musically. The album was highly acclaimed throughout the world.

The time came for a "Best Of..." album, and Hansen decided to do things differently: he let the fans decide by voting on their website for their three favorite songs on each album, then the band went back to the studio to re-record the old classics on the first three albums and made remixed versions for the songs on the later ones. Blast from the Past was the name chosen for this double album.

After a break of one year where Hansen concentrated on his side project Iron Savior, the band was ready for the recording and release of the album No World Order, with a lot of heavy riffs like classic 80's bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, just as rumored. Yet again the album was highly praised. The No Order World Tour saw the band visiting dozens of European countries and Japan. After resting from the tour, the band went on with the Skeletons in the Closet tour, which saw the band performing songs that they never or rarely played live before. Once again, the setlist was voted by the fans on the band's website. Only a few shows were played but two of those were recorded for the live album Skeletons in the Closet.

Kai Hansen and Henjo Richter also participated in Tobias Sammet's project Avantasia, on both The Metal Opera and The Metal Opera Part II, which are also notably as an another collaboration of Kai with his ex-bandmates from Helloween, namely Markus Grosskopf and Michael Kiske.

A live DVD, "Hell Yeah - The Awesome Foursome (And The Finnish Keyboarder Who Didn't Want To Wear His Donald Duck Costume) Live in Montreal" was recorded on May 6, 2006 in Montreal, Quebec.

Gamma Ray's' ninth studio album and latest release, Land of the Free II was released on November 16, 2007 in Germany, November 19, 2007 in Europe, November 21, 2007 in Japan, and January 15, 2008 in the US.

In recent years Gamma Ray have made use of touring keyboard players to fully augment their sound in a live environment. Axel Mackenrott of Masterplan has fulfilled these duties in the past, and the role is currently occupied by Eero Kaukomies, a Finn who plays in a Gamma Ray tribute band. His bandmate, guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen, also played on part of the Majestic tour in 2006 following an injury to Henjo Richter.

Gamma Ray are to be the "very special guest" on Helloween's HELLISH ROCK 2007/2008 Tour, on some shows along with the band Axxis.

<i>- Wikipedia</i>

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