"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Gamma Ray

Formed: 1988
From: Hamburg, Germany
Last Known Status: Active

Background

After 4 years in Helloween, songwriter and guitarist Kai Hansen decided to leave the band in 1988. After some studio work with Blind Guardian, he decided to form he own project. Along with his long-time friend Ralf Scheepers (vocals; ex-Tyran Pace) and Uwe Wessel (bass) and Mathias Burchard (drums), he formed Gamma Ray. They released the album "Heading for Tomorrow" (1990) with guest appearances by Piet Sielck and Dirk Schlächter. Uli Kusch replaced Mathias on drums and Dirk Schlächter is the second guitarist of the band.

In September 1991, the album "Sigh No More" was released. In October of that same year, they started a 50 dates worldwide tour. The third Gamma Ray's album "Insanity And Genius" was released in 1993, when the new band members Thomas Nack (Drums) and Jan Rubach (Bass) were introdudec, replacing Uli and Uwe due to personal problems.

In September, the band along with Rage, Helicon and Conception starts the tour "Melodic Metal Strikes Back". The double CD "Power Of Metal" and the Videos "Power of Metal" and "Lust for live" was released. Singer Ralf Scheepers left the band and was replaced by Kai Hansen. In 1995 the fourth album "Land Of The Free" was released. Jan Jubach and Thomas Nack left the band in 1996 when Dirk Schlächter decided to go back playing bass. Henjo Richter, guitars and Dan Zimmermann on drums. In July of '97, Gamma Ray started an improvised tour in South America (Argentina and Brazil), for delight of their fans. In August '97, they released their album "Somewhere Out In Space."

Latest Gamma Ray News

Below is our complete Gamma Ray news coverage, including columns and articles pertaining to the band. Some articles listed may be indirectly related, such as side projects of the band members, etc.

Note: We began associating news directly with bands in late 2003. Therefore, earlier band news may not be listed on this page.

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Gamma Ray Checks In From The Road

After previously cancelling a show due to vocalist Kai Hansen being ill, Gamma Ray is back on the road and has now checked in with a tour video, which can be seen below.

Gamma Ray is performing live in support of newly released album "Empire of the Undead." The album's track listing is:

1. Avalon
2. Hellbent
3. Pale Rider
4. Born To Fly
5. Master Of Confusion
6. Empire Of The Undead
7. Time For Deliverance
8. Demonseed
9. Seven
10. I Will Return
11. Built A World (European Bonus Track)

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Gamma Ray Cancels Show

Gamma Ray has announced that the band's show in Malmö is now cancelled due to vocalist Kai Hansen becoming ill. The band comments:

"We are very sorry to have to inform you that the Show in Malmö can not be held. Due to recent singing with a heavy Bronchitis Kais voice is in bad condition and the doctor ordered a rest.

"We would have loved to do the show with guests to help out on vocals but unfortunately it was not possible to get the guys together for that day. Again we'd like to apologize for all caused inconveniences and hope to be able to reschedule the Show for another date.

"We are working on organizing all for being able to do the Shows in Gothenburg and Stockholm. Stay tuned!"

The band's new album "Empire of the Undead" is out now, and you can check out the opening track "Avalon" below. More...

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Gamma Ray Posts More Interview Footage

Gamma Ray posted additional interview clips with guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen (co-Helloween founder) on the upcoming new release "Empire of the Undead." The album will be released in Europe this week (March 28th) via earMusic and on April 15th in the U.S. via Armory Records.

The track list for the album is:

1. Avalon
2. Hellbent (see lyric video)
3. Pale Rider
4. Born to Fly
5. Master of Confusion (see lyric video)
6. Empire of the Undead
7. Time for Deliverance
8. Demonseed
9. Seven
10. I Will Return
11. Built A World (European Bonus Track)

Check out the footage here: More...

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Gamma Ray Streaming New Track "Avalon"

Gamma Ray is streaming the new track "Avalon," the opening track from the new album "Empire of the Undead." The album is set for release on March 28th via earMusic.

The track list is:

1. Avalon
2. Hellbent (streaming here)
3. Pale Rider
4. Born To Fly
5. Master Of Confusion
6. Empire Of The Undead
7. Time For Deliverance
8. Demonseed
9. Seven
10. I Will Return
11. Built A World (European Bonus Track)

Check out "Avalon" here: More...

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Gamma Ray Posts Parts III And IV Of Interview

Gamma Ray posted parts three and four in a series of interview clips with guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen (co-Helloween founder) on the upcoming new release "Empire of the Undead." The album will be released in Europe this week (March 28th) via earMusic.

The track list for the album is:

1. Avalon
2. Hellbent (see lyric video)
3. Pale Rider
4. Born to Fly
5. Master of Confusion (see lyric video)
6. Empire of the Undead
7. Time for Deliverance
8. Demonseed
9. Seven
10. I Will Return
11. Built A World (European Bonus Track)

Check out the footage here: More...

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Gamma Ray Posts Interview Footage, Pt. II

German power metal act Gamma Ray posted part two in a series of interview clips with guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen (co-Helloween founder) on the upcoming new release "Empire of the Undead." The album drops on March 28th via earMusic.

The track list for the standard CD (Black Cover):

1. Avalon
2. Hellbent (see lyric video)
3. Pale Rider
4. Born to Fly
5. Master of Confusion (see lyric video)
6. Empire of the Undead
7. Time for Deliverance
8. Demonseed
9. Seven
10. I Will Return
11. Built A World (European Bonus Track)

Check out the footage here: More...

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Gamma Ray Posts Interview Footage, Pt. I

German power metal act Gamma Ray posted the first part in a series of interview clips with guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen (co-Helloween founder) on the upcoming new release "Empire of the Undead." The album drops on March 28th via earMusic.

The track list for the standard CD (Black Cover):

1. Avalon
2. Hellbent (see lyric video)
3. Pale Rider
4. Born to Fly
5. Master of Confusion (see lyric video)
6. Empire of the Undead
7. Time for Deliverance
8. Demonseed
9. Seven
10. I Will Return
11. Built A World (European Bonus Track)

Check out the footage here: More...

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Gamma Ray Posts "Hellbent" Lyric Video

German power metal act Gamma Ray, featuring Helloween co-founder Kai Hansen, released a lyric video for the new track "Hellbent." The song appears on the band's new album "Empire of the Undead," which drops March 28th via earMusic.

The track list for the standard CD (Black Cover):

1. Avalon
2. Hellbent
3. Pale Rider
4. Born to Fly
5. Master of Confusion
6. Empire of the Undead
7. Time for Deliverance
8. Demonseed
9. Seven
10. I Will Return
11. Built A World (European Bonus Track)

Check out "Hellbent" here: More...

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Gamma Ray Posts Second Preview Clip Of New Album

German power metal act Gamma Ray, featuring Helloween founder Kai Hansen, released another preview teaser for the band's upcoming new release "Empire of the Undead." The preview clip features an interview segment featuring Hansen discussing the challenges of making the new release. The album is set to drop March 28th via earMusic.

Check out the preview here:

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Gamma Ray Posts Preview Clip Of New Album

Germany's Gamma Ray released a preview clip of the band's upcoming new release "Empire of the Undead." The preview clip features interview segments from the band concerning the fire the destroyed the band's studio, as well as a snippet of the title track. The album is set for a March 28th via earMusic and will be available as a standard CD, special edition CD/DVD, special boxset, vinyl and digital download.

Check out the preview clip here:

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Gamma Ray Marching On After Studio Fire

The eleventh studio album from power metal icons Gamma Ray is nearing completion. Titled "Empire Of The Undead," it is the record that almost wasn't.

The album was penned throughout 2013 with Eike Freese at the mixing desk supporting the work of bass player and co-writer, Dirk Schlaechter. The band had just landed in South America with tour mates Helloween when some harrowing news reached Kai Hansen and crew: Hammer Studio, the band's home and rehearsal space, had burned down leaving nearly all its contents in ruins, with the exception of the tapes from the nearly-finished new studio album.

Upon returning home Gamma Ray evaluated the losses and decided to move on. "If this could not stop us, nothing ever will," joked a light-hearted Hansen, adding that, "We got rid of a lot of shit that we gathered there. Unfortunately, a lot of good equipment as well. Anyhow, we look towards the future, we saved the production and we can continue now in this new place. By mid-January we should be done with the work on this album."

The title track, "Empire Of The Undead," has appeared on the single/EP "Master Of Confusion," which was released last year and served as precursor to the forthcoming full-length.

"Empire Of The Undead" will be released in North America on CD, LP and digitally via Armoury Records in conjunction with earMusic late this Spring. Further details to be revealed in the coming weeks. In the meantime, view a video message Kai Hansen below. More...

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Gamma Ray Comments On Upcoming Album

Gamma Ray is currently working on new album "Empire of the Undead," due out in March. The band has now checked in with the following update about the coming release:

"Happy New Year to everybody out there! It's time for more news from the studio concerning the new album: all in all there are 10 new songs (plus the two you already know from the EP - so 12) and the credits (number of compositions) are spread out like this: Michael (1), Dirk (2 with one ballad), Henjo (2), Kai (4) and Mandy Meyer (1, left from the first Unisonic album)."

Gamma Ray is continuing work on the album despite the band's studio burning down in November. More...

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Gamma Ray Announces "Empire Of The Undead"

Guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen posted a video on the status of the upcoming new Gamma Ray album "Empire of the Undead." Despite the loss of the band's studio back in November, the album is on track for release in March of 2014 via earMusic. The band will finish mixing the release in January. More information is expected soon.

Check out the video here:

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Headline News

Gamma Ray's Studio Destroyed In Hamburg Fire

Hammer Studios, the home studio for Gamma Ray founder Kai Hansen (ex-Helloween) and guitarist Dirk Schlächter along with Dark Age guitarist/vocalist Eike Freese and others, has been destroyed in a fire at the warehouse building which houses it in Hamburg, Germany.

None of the band members were injured, as Gamma Ray is currently on tour in South America. The fire started in a warehouse that houses refrigeration equipment and car parts.

A statement posted on Gamma Ray's Facebook Page reads:

"Quick and as well very sad info after the [studio] seems to have been destroyed by a huge fire today (18th Nov. 2013):

"Kai: 'Hi everybody, thanks for your concern, we are ok, already on Tour in South America, the Studio is probably gone, we'll know more whenever the Firemen have everything under control. Here's the ironic part: we're at the Waterfront of a lake and the upcoming Deep Purple Live recordings have just been mixed at our place. Remember Smoke On The Water...'"

According to the German news source Bild.de (see article here), firefighters arrived too late to save the building, due to staff shortages. It was determined earlier in the year that the closest Fireboat would concentrate on a neighboring pier. The fireboat arrived about two hours after the fire broke out. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

There was no word on whether the fire will delay the release of Gamma Ray's new LP "Empire Of The Undead," which was targeted for an early 2014 release. More...

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Column

Sunday Old School: Gamma Ray

A short while ago, Sunday Old School took a look at German power metal heroes, Helloween, which was founded by guitarist Kai Hansen in 1984. Hansen left the group in 1989, only to return in some style a year later, with a new band that soon become one of the biggest and most influential in their field, Gamma Ray. The seeds of the group were sewn while Hansen was doing some studio work for countrymen, Blind Guardian, and decided to form his own project afterwards, teaming up with his friend, Ralf Scheepers, who would handle the vocal duties. The duo would soon become a quartet when they added bass player Uwe Wessel and drummer Mathias Burchardt. Despite the problems Hansen had previously had with the company, Gamma Ray signed a deal with Noise Records for their first album, "Heading For Tomorrow," which was released in February 1990 and was received very warmly by the music press and metal fans alike. Shortly after their debut was released, Gamma Ray made several changes by hiring a new drummer and guitarist in Uli Kusch and Dirk Schlächter respectively. This new incarnation of the band released an EP later that year entitled, "Heaven Can Wait," before releasing their first full length studio album together in September 1991, "Sigh No More." Despite it’s somewhat comic album cover, the record was significantly darker than, "Heading For Tomorrow," with lyrics covering topics such as the Persian Gulf War that was ongoing at the time.

Once the band returned from a Japanese tour, they made yet another lineup change, with founding bassist Uwe Wessel and Kusch leaving the group due to disagreements, with Kusch going on to join Helloween, making his debut on the fan favourite, "Master of Rings." The duo were replaced by bass player Jan Rubach and drummer Thomas Nack, who made their presence known to fans in 1993 with the third Gamma Ray album, "Insanity and Genius," which was recorded at the band’s own custom studio. "Insanity and Genius" was closer sonically to "Heading for Tomorrow," and likewise received some very positive reviews. It was notable for Hansen singing on the track, "Heal Me" and Schlächter performing vocal duties on the song, "Your Tørn Is Over." More...

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Gamma Ray Posts "Master Of Confusion" Lyric Video

German power metal act Gamma Ray, featuring Helloween co-founder Kai Hansen, posted a lyric video, featuring the band in rehearsal, for the new track "Master of Confusion." The song is the title track for the forthcoming extended EP, which is scheduled for release on March 15th, 2013 via earMUSIC. The EP features two new tracks, the instant and the title track for the band's new full length LP "Empire Of The Undead," which will be released in January 2014.

The track list for "Master of Confusion" is:

A Side:

1. Empire Of The Undead (new studio track)
2. Master Of Confusion (new studio track)

B Side:

3. Death Or Glory (Holocaust Cover)
4. Lost Angels (Sweet Cover) More...

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Gamma Ray Posts "Master Of Confusion" Teaser

German power metal act Gamma Ray, featuring Helloween co-founder Kai Hansen, posted a teaser for the band's upcoming extended EP release "Master of Confusion." The EP features two new tracks that will appear on the band's follow up to the latest studio release "To the Metal" (2010), the title track and "Empire of the Undead." The EP is scheduled for release on March 15th, 2013 via earMUSIC coinciding with the "Hellish Rock II" tour with Helloween. The full length is not expected before 2014.

Hansen commented: "We have been away for quite some time. We have released what we consider a very beautiful live product, 'Live -- Skeletons and Majesties', but we felt it was time to release some new music by the Rayz..."

Kai & co. are not afraid to celebrate their peculiarity with humour and irony.
Reading the lyrics of the song 'Master Of Confusion' not too many clarifications are necessary...
Gamma Ray are indeed the masters of confusion, a trait all the fans and also the music industry had no option than to accept and appreciate. They bring chaos to other people's lives, they miss important deadlines, they reschedule the release of the desperately awaited new long player, but they never miss a show, they never let a fan down, and in a world of calculated and career-driven rock stars, they are among the few remaining honest true heavy metal heroes.

"Master Of Confusion" is rounded off with six live versions ('The Spirit,' 'Wings Of Destiny,' 'Farewell,' 'Gamma Ray,' 'Time To Break Free' and 'Insurrection' recorded in Bochum) that were already included on the Blu-ray "Live -- Skeletons and Majesties" but were not featured on the CD release (which included the show recorded in Pratteln).

The full track list is:

A Side:

1. Empire Of The Undead (new studio track)
2. Master Of Confusion (new studio track) More...

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Gamma Ray Unveils "Master Of Confusion" EP Cover

German metal act Gamma Ray, featuring Helloween founder Kai Hansen, have unveiled the cover artwork for the band's upcoming EP "Master Of Confusion." The EP is scheduled for release on March 15, 2013 via earMusic. The band recorded the EP in December 2012 at Hammer Recording Studios. A full length is expected in 2014.

Check out the artwork here:

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Gamma Ray Posts "Time To Break Free" DVD Clip

Gamma Ray posted a clip from the upcoming DVD/2CD live release "Skeletons & Majesties Live." The clip for "Time to Break Free" (which originally appeared on the 1995 studio release "Land of the Free") features former Helloween singer Michael Kiske on guest vocals. The release will come in the following formats: 2CD, Blu-ray and DVD on November 30th, 2012 through earMusic.

The double CD includes 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 at another show at the Zeche in Bochum, the day before the Pratteln show . In addition, the DVD and Blu-ray feature tons of behind the scenes bonus material, very rare archive material and interviews with the band.

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!" More...

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Gamma Ray To Unleash Live Set Next Month

Legendary German power metallers Gamma Ray will unleash "Skeletons & Majesties Live" as a two-CD set next month via Eagle Rock imprint Armoury Records. Set for North American release on December 4th, 2012, "Skeletons & Majesties Live" is a near two-hour magnum opus spanning the band’s history and includes classics as well as tracks which were under-represented to date.

A DVD version will be released stateside in January. "Skeletons & Majesties Live" was recorded and filmed during the band’s 2011 European tour at the legendary Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland and is the first properly HD-filmed live video production of the band’s 20+ year career.

"The [2011 released] 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," notes founding vocalist/guitarist Kai Hansen.

As a special bonus, to accompany the Hansen-penned Helloween classic on stage, Gamma Ray enlisted the services of former Helloween frontman Michael Kiske. In addition, Kiske can be heard and seen on "Time To Break Free" and "A While In Dreamland." More...

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