Gamma Ray

Gamma Ray Biography

In 1988, after spending four years with Helloween, guitarist and songwriter Kai Hansen decided to leave the band due to, as officially announced, the enormous touring activities of the band. Eventually, Hansen decided to form his own project, with long-time friend Ralf Scheepers (vocals), Uwe Wessel (bass) and Mathias Burchard (drums). In the beginning of the project Kai did not have the intention to form a new band but as the recordings with the studio-musicians went so well sourrounded by a relaxed atmosphere among the musicians it soon became obvious: Gamma Ray was born.

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 (in the end he was among the last three candidates), 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 (today Primal Fear) left Gamma Ray. Hansen then took on the guitar-vocals duties.

In May 1995 a masterpiece of melodic metal was released: The concept album Land of the Free as a mixture of the bombast of Heading for Tomorrow and the aggressiveness and heavyness of Walls of Jericho. On this album there was again a cooperation with vocalist Michael Kiske who did the vocals for one complete song called Time to break free and the chorus of the title track. Critics around the globe were extatic. Kai and Dirk entrench themselves in their studio again in August to record the EP "Silent Miracles", an EP of four wonderful ballads. Fans say that Kai did his best ever vocal effort on A While in Dreamland, a beautiful ballad with only piano and Kai’s voice. As the EP’s final mix couldn’t be done before the upcoming tour, the release of Silent Miracles was delayed to February 1996. As said, the band left for a long and excessive european tour (Men on a tour) in September turning the venues into party shacks. This was passed on in form of a live CD called Alive ‘95 released in May 1996.

The songwriting for the new album began in late 1996 with just Dirk and Kai in the band and it took them until February 1997 to find two new members: In the person of Daniel Zimmermann they found the best drummer they ever had. Henjo Richter was engaged as guitarist, a job he had already done very well on the spanish tour the year before. The ultimate Gamma Ray, and still current, line-up was formed.

In early 2004 the band started composing demo material for the new album and finally found itself back in the studio in September to start the recordings of 11 songs, that in contrast to the last two albums, show more complexity and bombast again.The work on Majestic finally was completed in May 2005 and released September, 23rd 2005.

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