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Music / Gamma Ray

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Your reaction is probably; "Ghosts with laser swords, flying pyramids, UFOs and the very Earth at stake! HOLY SHIT!" But for 'Ray, it's just tuesday.

By moonlight there's way... FOR REBELLION!
Here, the world has gone astray... REVOLUTION!
Now, the time has come to pray... HALLELUJAH!
Deep, inside our minds we wait... FOR REBELLION!
Here in dreamland we will not obey the masters...
Rebellion in Dreamland

Gamma Ray is a power metal band from north Germany, founded by former Helloween guitarist, singer, and songwriter Kai Hansen.

In 1988, after four years with his former band, guitarist and songwriter Kai Hansen decided, for reasons that are still the subject of much debate, to leave the band. Hansen claimed that Helloween had become too big for him to handle, although the group's troubles with financial issues and the record company most likely played a part as well. He proceeded to do some studio work with Blind Guardian. Eventually, Hansen decided to form his own project with long-time friend Ralf Scheepers from Tyran Pace. This two-man project grew into a four-man band with the addition of Uwe Wessel (bass) and Mathias Burchard (drums). Thus was Gamma Ray born, bearing a sound understandably close to that of Hansen's former band, Helloween.

One of notable features is that their style is very non-uniform , thus sometimes, e.g. Insanity and Genius but not Power Plant will be to one's taste, or vice versa. This was especially noticeable in the first five albums, which had at least one member different from preceding album, but the style still changes with each album.

Speaking of members, one fun thing to note is that, while there has been a relatively little change in the line-up over the years, there has been several member-changes within the band. After Ralf Scheepers left Kai Hansen took over the vocals (while continuing on guitar) for the next 20 years, and Dirk Schlächter started with guitar but changed to bass in 1997.

Band Members:

  • Kai Hansen - Guitar (1989-), Vocals (1994-2015)
  • Henjo Richter - Guitar, Keyboards (1997-)
  • Frank Beck - Vocals (2015-)
  • Dirk Schlächter - Guitar (1990-1997), Bass (1997-)
  • Michael Ehre - Drums (2012-)

Studio Albums:

  • 1990 - Heading for Tomorrow
  • 1991 - Sigh No More
  • 1993 - Insanity and Genius
  • 1995 - Land of the Free
  • 1997 - Somewhere Out in Space
  • 1999 - Power Plant
  • 2001 - No World Order
  • 2005 - Majestic
  • 2007 - Land of the Free II
  • 2010 - To The Metal
  • 2014 - The Empire of the Undead

Gamma Ray songs include:


    open/close all folders 

    Song tropes 
  • Album Intro Track:
    • Heading for Tomorrow starts with the aptly-named "Welcome", a powerful intro piece leading onto "Lust for Life".
    • No World Order! begins with "Induction", a calling out of the Illuminati and those who would seek to control others, which leads up to "Dethrone Tyranny."
  • Ancient Astronauts: "Valley of the Kings" and its intro track "The Landing" on Somewhere out in Space is about aliens arriving on Earth in ancient times and being seen as gods by early humans.
  • Audience Participation Song: "Heavy Metal Universe", from Powerplant, is transformed into pure pantomime live, with the audience being divided into thirds to sing various sections, along with a call-back section that keeps getting higher and longer until Kai is the only person in the room who can do it without dying. "Blood Religion" and "To The Metal" are following the same path.
  • Bowdlerisation: "Your Tørn Is Over", from Insanity & Genius, has the following lines in the booklet:
    Think I better keep an eye on you
    Cause you're a liar that's what they tell
    There's nothing in the world that you can do
    I'm gonna take you down to hell
    And I don't care just what you do or say
    • Yet in the song itself, these are the sung parts:
    Think I better keep an eye on you
    On every move that you make
    Cause you are motherfucking liar , uuuh
    Well, everybody knows you're fake
    And I don't give a shit what you say
  • Break-Up Song: "Leaving Hell", from Land Of The Free II.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: It's pretty obvious from the lyrics and album covers.
  • Casanova Wannabe: "Who Do You Think You Are?", from the Who Do You Think You Are EP and the Sigh No More remaster, mocks this trope.
  • Cover Version: "Exciter", "Victim of Changes", "Long Live Rock 'n Roll", "It's A Sin" and "Angel of Death". Also the various Helloween covers they've done live, such as "Save Us", "Victim of Fate", "Future World" and "I Want Out".
  • Covered Up: "Look At Yourself", "Return To Fantasy", 'Gamma Ray' (from where the band got its name) and 'Heavy Metal Mania'.
  • "Days of the Week" Song: "Opportunity", from Land Of The Free II.
  • Epic Rocking: Up to fifteen minutes with "Heading For Tomorrow", from Heading For Tomorrow, but eight-minuters are more common, such as "Rebellion In Dreamland", from Land Of The Free.
  • Grief Song: "Afterlife", from Land Of The Free, is dedicated to Ingo Schwichtenberg, the late drummer of Helloween.
  • Heavy Meta: The gloriously cheesy "Heavy Metal Universe", from Powerplant, and "To The Metal", from To The Metal.
  • Heavy Mithril:
    • Somewhere Out In Space and Powerplant deal with space themes. This would be followed by Iron Savior.
    • "Space Eater", from Heading For Tomorrow, may be foreshadowing the above. It seems inspired by Galactus.
  • Large Ham: Kai Hansen.
    • Ralf Scheepers before him.
  • Longest Song Goes Last:
    • Heading for Tomorrow ends with "Heading for Tomorrow" (14:30)
    • Powerplant closes with "Armageddon" (8:48)
    • No World Order! ends with "Lake of Tears" (6:48)
    • Majestic ends with "Revelation" (8:30)
    • Land of the Free II ends with "Insurrection" (11:33)
    • ...To The Metal! ends with "No Need To Cry" (5:56)
  • Lyrical Cold Open: In "Heading For Tomorrow":
    We are heading for tomorrow
    But we don't know if we're near!
    Will we beg or steal or borrow?
    Will we ever lose the fear?
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Real World", from Land Of The Free II. Although it depends on your worldview:
    God is an illusion and there ain't no paradise!
    And there is no underworld below!
    Out there is no heaven, and there ain't no Antichrist!
    • "Hell Is Thy Home", from Majestic:
    Hell is thy home!
    Darkness thy destiny!
    • Or singing about the Apocalypse (or Rapture?) to the happy bounce of "Gardens of the Sinner", from Powerplant. They're a happy bunch.
    • "Armageddon", from Powerplant:
    And now, my brothers,
    annihilation is foretold!
    • "Hold Your Ground", from Heading For Tomorrow:
    Come to plague me,
    rape and take me,
    freeze me up! Freeze me up!
    • Also, "Blood Religion", from Majestic, a happy bouncing with a dark vampyric lyric.
    • "Empathy", from To The Metal:
    Take me down to the place below
    Can't you see I'm falling?
    Pain has come and the world keeps going on
    in empathy...
  • Money Song: "Money", from Heading For Tomorrow, it's about a person with ideals arguing with another who may seem as a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • Nature Metal: "To Mother Earth", from "Land of the Free 2", is an environmentalist-themed song.
  • The Noun and the Noun:
    • Insanity and Genius (both the album and the song)
    • "Rich and Famous", from Sigh No More
    • "Father and Son", from Sigh No More.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: "Blood Religion", from Majestic, is all about this.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: The entire band on "Induction". As Kai Hansen has noted on the liner notes to Gamma Ray: The Best (Of), the gigantic-sounding choral part really is just the four members.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Wings of Destiny", from Powerplant, as in "Sad Wings of Destiny"
    • "Fight" contains the following lines, both of which come from the songs "The Wall" and "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas.
      The path I've chosen now has led me to a wall
      And though my mind could see I still was a blind man
  • Skyward Scream: "Razorblade Sigh", from Powerplant.
  • Step Up to the Microphone:
    • Dirk Schlachter is the one singing in "Your Tørn Is Over", from Insanity & Genius.
    • Prior to becoming a full-fledged vocalist, Kai sung "Heal Me", also from Insanity & Genius. Until then, he was a backing vocalist.
  • * Take That!:
    • The Japan exclusive "Wannabees" (one of the bonus tracks for To the Metal) parodies elitist attitudes.
    • The Rock Star Song "Rich and Famous", from Sigh No More, is one against Money Songs and similar aspects of the rock star lifestyle.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: "All Of The Damned", from Land Of The Free.
    I see a face in my mirror on the wall,
    and I don't know what it can be.
    I see a face inside the rainbow.
    At the end of the dream,
    the face in the rainbow is me.
  • Welcome to the Real World: "Real World", from Land Of The Free II, invokes the trope's name in the lyrics.
  • The X of Y: Mostly between Land Of The Free and No World Order, plenty of titles such as "Wings of Destiny", the eponymous "Land of the Free", "The Guardians of Mankind" and "The Heart of the Unicorn".

    Misc tropes (videos and other stuff) 
  • I Am the Band: Kai is the band's Dave Mustaine, as he's the one who compose almost every song of the band, and is the most recognizable member of it.
  • Futuristic Pyramid: Heading For Tomorrow, Somewhere Out In Space, No World Order and Land Of The Free II, among the examples.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: Kai Hansen, Dirk Schlächter, Henjo Richter and Dan Zimmermann, from 1997 to 2012 (when Zimmermann left).
  • Mascot: Fangface, who appears on their album covers, as well as the cover of the first Helloween album and EP.
  • New Sound Album: Empire of the Undead, which has far more of a thrash metal -feel than the previous albums.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Powerplant.
  • Real Men Play Pink Guitars
  • The Rival: Helloween. Originally not on very friendly terms, the bands now tour and even play encores together.
  • Shout-Out: The booklet designer for To The Metal must be a Warcraft/World of Warcraft player, given the use of the same font as the menus and even the yellow and white scheme of such.
  • Start My Own:
    • This is how Gamma Ray started. After quitting from Helloween, Kai Hansen went to work on some other thing (such as producing Blind Guardian's first album) before forming the band.
    • Ralf Scheepers went to form Primal Fear with several members of Sinner.
  • Workaholic: Kai Hansen. At some point, he was in THREE bands at the same time (working with Avantasia, Gamma Ray and Iron Savior) and spent as much work on Gamma Ray as he did in other bands!

"Heeeeere in Dreamland we will not obey... THE MASTERS!"