Album review: GAMMA RAY – 30 Years Live Anniversary

Ear Music/Edel [Release date 10.09.21]

In 2020, it looked like this could become the new normal. A live gig without an audience. Kai Hansen’s Gamma Ray know what it is to play live…they’ve been doing it for 30 years. It becomes a state of mind.

Last year, in the face of Pandemic restrictions, they set up on a huge stage in an empty arena – the ISS Dome in Dusseldorf. They knew their audience was out there, and that was enough. Now we and their fans worldwide can hear just what that live concert sounds like.

The massive scale and intensity of the 58 second Wagnerian opener, ‘Induction’ seems an appropriate beginning. This brief but emotional clarion call is just the opening gambit in a series of handpicked songs that aim to say something… about the human condition, about a world in turmoil, about unseen hands on the levers of power.

The titles of the songs chosen for the set are something of a clue: almost at random, ‘New World Order’, ‘Land Of The Free’, ‘Dethrone Tyranny’ are stomping, stadium-filling anthems that scream defiance in a glorious rush of amplitude, speed and complexity.

Whether it’s baroque, teutonic metal monsters like the hugely ambitious ‘Heading For Tomorrow’, or the 9 minute ‘Armageddon’ on which Hansen rediscovered a need for speed, the set has an unstoppable rolling momentum.

Original vocalist and human siren, Ralf Scheepers joins the band for ‘Lust For Life’ and ‘The Silence’, key tracks from the band’s debut.

Among the set’s highlights, and there are many, ‘Avalon’ ‘Empathy’ and ‘Master Of Confusion’ harness all that is best in symphonic and power metal, providing full on sonic engagement, testament to Hansen’s vision and his leadership of Gamma Ray over quarter of a century.
This might not be Bach, Brahms or Beethoven, but that rich, German power metal heritage that we know and love lives on. ****1/2

Review by Brian McGowan





The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 12 December. The session above was a Halloween Special streamed on 31 October 2021. Josh’s next session is Sunday 30 January 2022.

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Power Plays w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
SMOKING MARTHA Wild & Free (Xelon Entertainment)
TRUE NORTH Fix (Out Of Line Music)
COLLECTED Say When (indie)
ABOUT KINGS Heaven On Down The Highway (indie)
WHALEDOG Leave Me Alone (indie)
LED BY LANTERNS Six Feet Down (indie)
KROOKED TONGUE Freaky Love (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 BITE THE BULLET End Of The Line (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 CRYSTAL BALL Crysteria (Massacre Records)
14:00-16:00 SEAN TAYLOR The Beat Goes On (indie)



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