GAMMA RAY - Hell Yeah!!! (The Awesome Foursome)

Gamma Ray - Hell Yeah!!! (The Awesome Foursome)

22 songs
125:02 minutes
***** ****
Steamhammer / SPV


Gamma Ray, founded in 1989, are maybe not among the pioneers of Teutonic metal, although bandleader Kai Hansen played before in Helloween who definitely can be counted among the initiators. There hasn’t been a line-up change since 1997, which is now a little belatedly celebrated with this live recorded double-CD which has been issued at the same time as the same titled DVD.

Hell Yeah!!! is already Gamma Ray’s third live release, making you wonder if you even need this new record. The earlier live albums are from 1995 and 2003, so you will find more recent material this time, although there are also classics like Man On A Mission, Somewhere Out In Space, Heavy Metal Universe and Dreamhealer. The selection is expectedly first class, apart from Send Me A Sign which is in my opinion not one of their best songs… but that’s after all a matter of taste.

The sound has quite an adequate quality, and the band members’ histories are also quite interesting: Henjo Richter plays also the guitar in Avantasia, and Dan Zimmermann is the drummer in Freedom Call. Only bass player Dirk Schlächter keeps all his energies in Gamma Ray. Kai Hansen’s nasal vocals have been disputed by some in the past, but his long years of singing have established his trademark style unshakably in the metal community. The live recording shows that he is always looking for contact with the audience, another sign for his charismatic personality.

It’s hard to say much more about this band that has been around for nearly twenty years, developing all the while their very own brand of metal. The music is playful, contains typical metal clichés and offers an amazing mix of epic and melodic power metal. The music feels very sincere as the band didn’t add any overdubs to recreate the live feeling as precisely as possible. Highlights include the long New World Order and the secular-humanist Real World, proving once and for all that Gamma Ray play in a league of their own.

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