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Gamma Ray

Date: 5/1/06
Venue: BB King Blues Club New York , NY
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Setlist :
Gardens of the Sinner
No World Order
Blood Religion
The Silence
Heavy Metal Universe
I Want Out
Rebellion in Dreamland
.Land of the Free
Valley of the Kings
Somewhere out in Space
Send me a sign

Gamma Ray, lead by former Helloween guitarist/songwriter (1985 – 1989) Kai Hansen, remain as one of prevalent names when it comes to the pioneers of the European Power Metal sound. Before leaving Helloween in the late eighties, Kai was an important piece to his former bands sound and style as he wrote half of their material and was an integral part of penning their landmark “Keeper of the Seven Keys Parts 1&2. Upon leaving Helloween to start Gamma Ray, he took his songwriting style from Helloween with him while incorporating other elements into Gamma Ray establishing in their own right various trademarks allowing both bands to exist has viable entities.

These short run of dates in the States marks the first major, if you want to call it, tour for Gamma Ray in America as the band has only played once on our shores in 2002 for the esteemed ProgPower festival in Atlanta . That festival appearance was a landmark moment for this genre of Metal as they were joined by other heavy hitters like Blind Guardian, Angra and Edguy basically opening the doors for everyone else. A show I attended and reviewed for my previous publication That's so Metal.com.

I saw the band play the night before this BB Kings show at the New England Hardcore/Metal festival. It was the last night of three and they went on at 12:15 so it explains much, to unfortunately a small but energetic crowd. For the New York show, as with the night before, the boys were full of energy and smiles not allowing crowd size to be a factor, although the die hard New York crowd was noticeably larger and more amped . Then again, when it comes to most Heavy Metal shows, especially for the European bands that rarely come to the States like Gamma Ray, their fans come out in droves and the support is awesome. New York , and BB Kings especially, have become a home for these artists as Edguy , Tad Morose, Helloween , Sonata Arctica , Into Eternity, Hammerfall , Nightwish , Stratovarius , Kamelot and Seven Witches have all graced the stage to a very dedicated audience.

Starting off their set with a track from the “ Powerplant ” album “Gardens of the Sinner” into the title track from their 2001 release “No World Order”, Kai and the boys gave us traditional Heavy Metal fans what we wanted in spades. Dual guitar harmonies, strong vocals, varied song arrangements and just some great upbeat positive Heavy Metal.

Two songs came off their recently released “Majestic” and the rest of the set a mix of classics like the title track off “Land of the Free” and “Rebellion in Dreamland” which are like their “Number of the Beast” and “The Trooper”. I guess you could consider “Heavy Metal Universe” their anthem with its extremely catchy sing along chorus “It's a Heavy Metal Universe with a Heavy Metal sound, masters of the thunder shake you to the ground” and Kai's swansong with Helloween “I Want Out” also saw an uproarious response from the crowd singing along. Need I say more? Well Kai did when he said they would be back and surely cant argue with him on that.


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