From: Hamburg, Germany
Last Known Status: Active
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.
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):
3. Pale Rider
4. Born to Fly
5. Master of Confusion
6. Empire of the Undead
7. Time for Deliverance
10. I Will Return
11. Built A World (European Bonus Track)
Check out "Hellbent" here: More...
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:
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:
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...
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)."
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:
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...
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...
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:
1. Empire Of The Undead (new studio track)
2. Master Of Confusion (new studio track)
3. Death Or Glory (Holocaust Cover)
4. Lost Angels (Sweet Cover) More...
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:
1. Empire Of The Undead (new studio track)
2. Master Of Confusion (new studio track) More...
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:
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...
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...
German metal act Gamma Ray posted a preview clip from the band's upcoming live DVD/2CD Live LP "Skeletons & Majesties Live." The DVD features the live recording of the band's performance at the legendary Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland on April 29th, 2011 and will now be released on 2CD, Blu-ray and DVD on November 30th, 2012 through earMusic. The DVD and Blu-ray also feature additional bonus tracks, lots of behind the scenes bonus material, rare archive material and interviews with the band.
"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.
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 behind the scenes bonus material, very rare archive material and interviews with the band. More...
German metal icons Helloween announced that the band will once again join forces with Gamma Ray in a redux dubbed "Hellish Rock Tour Part II for March 2013. The full announcement on the band's official website reads:
"Who doesn’t remember the crazy “Hellish Rock Tour” in 2007/2008? HELLOWEEN and their Very Special Guests GAMMA RAY played 95 shows in 34 countries and left ecstatic metal fans in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America in their wake! Those who didn’t have the chance to be there, can now breathe in deeply and make the ‘Remake’ twice as unforgettable! The conditions are right: Booking wires are running red-hot for the “Hellish Rock Tour Part II”, which will start in March 2013 in Europe and go around the globe, once again featuring GAMMA RAY. Watch out for the full-on ‘Metal Ax Made in Germany’ and you can start betting on what kind of awesome final Weikath, Deris, Grosskopf & co. together with Hansen have come up with this time!"
Helloween Guitarist Michael Weikath commented: “The atmosphere on stage and backstage was very special last time, we will be repeating the party and are looking forward to the tour already!”
Gamma Ray frontman Kai Hansen added: “‘The Hellish Rock Tour’ definitely was a highlight of our band’s history, we’ll absolutely go wild once again!” More...
"HelloRay" is a tribute album to Helloween and Gamma Ray made by fans of the bands. The tribute is set to be released on March 26th by Epicus Records and features acts such as Rampart and Gaia Epicus. A teaser trailer can be found below, and the track listing is as follows:
01. Tribute to the Past (Gamma Ray) GUARDIANS OF MANKIND
02. Warrior (Helloween) GAIA EPICUS
03. The spirit (Gamma Ray) PARALLAX
04. Mr. Torture (Helloween) AILLION
05. Anywhere in the galaxy (Gamma Ray) OPERA MAGNA
06. Ain't got nothin` better (Helloween) KICKHUNTER
07. Last before the storm (Gamma Ray) SONEM
08. Where the rain grows (Helloween) ARMORY
09. A tale that wasn't right (Helloween) DRACHEN
10. Just a little sign (Helloween) RAMPART
11. Leaving hell (Gamma Ray) ROTTEN
12. Judas (Helloween) 5th ELEMENT
13. Heaven or hell (Gamma Ray) BURN UNIVERSE
14. Before the war (Helloween) ILUNGARA
15. Land of the free (Gamma Ray) DEIMOS More...
Back in 2005, Dimmu Borgir was a band still basking in the unholy success of its latest outing “Death Cult Armageddon.” And yet instead of launching into a new opus for fans to consume the band members decided on a new approach; they would re-release an early and often praised album (“Stormblåst”) by completely re-recording it, updating the sound with modern production and slap “MMV” on the end. There had of course been prior examples of bands making this choice, but it was perhaps here that best truly crystallized the new era of metal re-recordings. No doubt you have heard of similar re-recordings in the same vein, perhaps most recently Gorgoroth’s “Under the Sign of Hell 2011” or Burzum’s “From the Depths of Darkness”? Perhaps not, but that’s what I aim to uncover for you here. More...
The organizers of Germany's Wacken Open Air festival have announced that next year's edition of the event, scheduled to take place between August 2nd - 4th in Wacken, Germany, has already sold out. A message from the organizers reads as follows:
"Amazing! Wacken is sold out for the seventh time in a row! For the seventh time in a row Wacken Open Air is sold out and never before in such a short time! All 75,000 tickets are sold. Thanx for your support, metalheads! A huge part of the billing is already announced including several special and exclusive shows as well as high-class acts. As every year we have made every effort to provide a terrific billing! And the announcements don´t stop. Via our online advent calendar at least one band will be announced every day during December. Together we will turn the 23. Wacken Open Air into a mega party!"
The currently confirmed bands are as follows: More...
Swedish progressive metal veterans Opeth have been confirmed as the latest band for next year's Wacken Open Air festival, which will take place from August 2nd - 4th in Wacken, Germany.
The lineup for the festival is now as follows:
Axel Rudi Pell
Cradle Of Filth
Henry Rollins (Spoken Word)
Sick Of It All
Six Feet under
Gamma Ray announced on its Facebook page that guitarist Henjo Richter was injured in a bike accident and is currently in the hospital. As a result, he will not be able to attend the Sweden Rock Cruise scheduled for October 6-7, 2011. The band plans to play without Richter, opting to have keyboardist Corvin Bahn use a distortion pedal.
The announcement reads: "Dear All, Unfortunately we are forced to deliver the bad news that Henjo Richter had a bike accident and broke three ribs and the collarbone, so he will not be able to play on the cruise. Since we couldn't find a replacement and did not want to cancel the show and leave our fans disappointed, we have decided to play the show nevertheless and give our longtime live keyboarder Mr. Corvin Bahn (Crystal Breed) some extraspace and a distortionpedal for his organsounds. So if you're on the boat and around 1:45 am hear something that sounds like Deep Purple playing Gamma Ray songs, its us. Hope you'll enjoy this 'Show beyond the ordinary'. Cheerzzz and have fun, Da Rrrrayzzz."