Gamma Ray (band)

From Academic Kids

Gamma Ray is a power metal band from Germany, founded by former Helloween guitarist and songwriter Kai Hansen.



In 1988, after spending four years with Helloween, guitarist and songwriter Kai Hansen decided to leave the band. He proceeded to do some studio work with Blind Guardian. Eventually, Hansen decided to form his own project, with long-time friend Ralf Scheepers (vocals), Uwe Wessel (bass) and Mathias Burchard (drums). Gamma Ray was born.

That line-up released the album Heading for Tomorrow in February 1990, and later that year the Heaven Can Wait EP with second guitarist Dirk Schlächter. Uli Kusch replaced Mathias behind the drums.

1991 saw the release of their second album, Sigh No More, and in October a 50-date worldwide tour.

The third album, Insanity and Genius, was released in 1993 with two new members; Thomas Nack on the drums and Jan Rubach on bass, replacing Uli and Uwe respectively.

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 Power of Metal, and the videos Power of Metal and Lust for Live, in December.

And then a big change: as plans for the band's fourth album came along, Hansen and Schlächter were annoyed by the fact that Scheepers lived such a far way away from Hamburg. This meant that they could only do band rehearsals and such on weekends, and this put a major stopper on things. Since Scheepers had auditioned for the job as vocalist for Judas Priest, and his chances at getting the spot were considered pretty good, Hansen asked him if he really felt that staying with Gamma Ray was the right thing to do. The two 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. Hansen then took on the guitar-vocals duties.

In 1995 the fourth album, Land of the Free, the first one featuring 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.

And then again, Hansen and Schlächter decided that a change was needed. Out went Jan Rubach and Thomas Nack (both leaving for the band they left earlier, Anesthesia), and in came new drummer Dan Zimmerman. Schlächter decided to drop the guitar and pick up the bass duties. Henjo Richter came in to fill the second guitar spot. The ultimate Gamma Ray, and still current, line-up was formed.

Work started for the next full-length album, and 1997 saw the release of Somewhere Out In Space, which started the band's fascination with space. After two years of touring came the album Powerplant, which was a continuity to 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; The band went back to the studio to re-record old classics. Blast from the Past was the name chosen for the album.

The band then proceeded to the recording of its next album, rumored to be classic-sounded like bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, before taking a year off.

After the break, 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 band, just as rumored. Yet again the album was highly praised. The No Order World Tour saw the band visiting dozens of countries throughtout Europe, and a few gigs in Japan. After resting from the tour, the band went on with the Skeleton in the Closet tour. The Skeletons tour saw the band performing songs that they never or rarely played live before. 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, their finest live album to date.

The band's latest tour featured them as openers for the first 10 gigs of Iron Maiden's European leg. Gamma Ray named that leg Rayzin' Hell With The Beast, and it gave them even more exposure to new fans.


Former members


External links

fr:Gamma Ray pt:Gamma Ray sv:Gamma Ray


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