Gamma Ray

Your regular metal clichés don’t apply to Gamma Ray. Of course, the band from Hamburg have earned their legendary reputation through countless classy melodic metal anthems which frequently race through the speakers at full-speed and are driven by virtuoso craftsmanship. However, this band is capable of so much more than charging ahead at full throttle, blasting their listeners’ auditory tracts and subjecting their neck muscles to incessant twitching. No, this band works the whole range of forms of expression which their multi-layered songs offer.

Gamma Ray have become their own trademark and have long been synonymous with a (metal) cosmos full of surprises – which may be one of the reasons why their many fans were not overly astonished when spring 2011 saw the four musicians embark on a small but sweet club tour of Germany and Switzerland to transport to the stage in an extended format the concept of their exceptional EP Skeletons & Majesties. The show was recorded at the legendary Z7 in Pratteln/Switzerland on 29 April 2011 and will now be released on double CD, Blu-ray and DVD under the title of Skeletons & Majesties Live. The band’s aficionados know that Gamma Ray are guaranteed to deliver yet another full frontal assault on the senses.

Skeletons & Majesties Live has a playing time of two hours and is a tour de force through the band’s history so far, including lots of hits and classics, but also tracks which were undeservedly under-represented to date. “The EP, Skeletons & Majesties, is practically a continuation of our Skeletons In The Closet concept, in other words: new versions of songs which didn’t receive the attention they deserve, as well as unplugged versions of some of our classics,” says Kai Hansen, the band’s vocalist, guitarist and founder. In terms of Skeletons & Majesties Live, this means a thoroughly haunting show, from the dynamic openers ‘Anywhere In The Galaxy’ and ‘Men, Martians And Machines’ to the furioso finale, ‘Future World’. Talking of ‘Future World:’ to accompany the (Hansen-penned) Helloween classic on stage, Gamma Ray enlisted the services of Helloween’s long-standing frontman, Michael Kiske. In addition, Kiske can also be heard and seen on ‘Time To Break Free’ and ‘A While In Dreamland’. The double CD will consist of a total of 18 songs (plus intro & interlude); DVD and Blu-ray will feature six additional bonus tracks with alternative versions of ‘The Spirit,’ ‘Wings Of Destiny,’ ‘Farewell,’ ‘Gamma Ray,’ ‘Time To Break Free’ and ‘Insurrection,’ all recorded the previous day at the Zeche in Bochum.

The release of Skeletons & Majesties Live will mark the beginning of an eventful 2013 for Gamma Ray: after Hansen stayed true to his word and spent 2012 concentrating mainly on his second band, Unisonic, he and his three colleagues Henjo Richter (guitar), Dirk Schlächter (bass) and new addition Michael Ehré (the Firewind/Love.Might.Kill drummer has replaced Daniel Zimmermann, who left the Gamma Ray fold on friendly terms in January 2011) are now focusing exclusively on Gamma Ray again. A co-headlining tour with Helloween has been scheduled for February 2013 and will also mark the arrival of a new Gamma Ray studio recording. “Gammy Ray will have top priority in 2013,” comments Hansen, “and Skeletons & Majesties Live is the perfect harbinger of this!”

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