Gamma Ray

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Your reaction is probably; "Ghosts with laser swords, flying pyramids, UFOs and the very Earth at stake! Holy s@&%!" 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 and there's much experimentation, thus e.g. Insanity and Genius may be to one's taste, but Power Plant not, 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.

Band Members:

  • Kai Hansen - Vocals & Guitar (1989-)
  • Henjo Richter - Guitar, Keyboards (1997-)
  • Dirk Schlächter - Bass (1990-)
  • Dan Zimmermann - Drums (1997-)

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 - Empire of the Undead

Gamma Ray songs include:

Gamma Ray provides examples of the following tropes:

Song tropes

  • 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 Turn 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 motherf**king liar , uuuh
Well, everybody knows you're fake
And I don't give a sh*t on what you say

Gaze at the stars, the glowing god of Mars
is shinning for us, anywhere in the Galaxy

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...

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 Turn 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 Rockstar 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.

    • "Future Madhouse"

Then you get up and look at the mirror
And you see the beast arise

  • 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.
  • Limited Special Collectors' Ultimate Edition:
    • The digipack version of Land of the Free II subverts this, as it proudly proclaims "Limited First Edition" on the cover, yet it doesn't have anything to be limited for. Technically, it represents the first pressing of the album and is a way to tell apart the first and second/third/etc. pressings of LOTFII, despite having no functional difference.
    • To The Metal, on the other hand, plays this straight, offering up a limited hand-signed version with CD and vinyl that went out of print Short As Hell afterwards.
  • Long Title: The live album "Hell Yeah! The Awesome Foursome! (And the finnish keyboardist who didn't want to wear his Donald Duck costume) - Live In Montreal!"
  • Mascot: Fangface, who appears on their album covers, as well as the cover of the first Helloween album and EP.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Powerplant.
  • The Pete Best: Although it would be difficult for many fans to recognize every other member aside of Kai Hansen, (and Ralf Scheepers, to some extent, because he went to form Primal Fear) some members are more notorious than others, especially those who played before Land Of The Free was released:
    • Former drummer Matthias Burchardt is the best example of this trope in the band. He only played in Heading For Tomorrow and the Who Do You Think You Are? EP.
    • Former drummer Uli Kusch subverts this. Even if he only recorded an album with the band, (Sigh No More) he went later to join Helloween and record the first four studio albums with Andi Deris, (Master Of The Rings, The Time Of The Oath, Better Than Raw and The Dark Ride) before co-founding Masterplan with Roland Grapow. He's also notorious in that he's the only member of Gamma Ray, aside of Kai himself, who played with both Gamma Ray and Helloween.
    • Another example of the trope is former bassist Uwe Wessel, who played bass in the first two albums (Heading For Tomorrow and Sigh No More) before leaving and fading into the shadows.
  • Real Men Play Pink Guitars
  • Recycled in Space: To some extent, the band themselves, having started off with often very political themes to their music and then gradually transformed into sci-fi theming by the time Somewhere Out in Space was released. That continued for a few albums and then dropped away again. Considering that some members changed after each album on their first through fifth, it's not so surprising. Iron Savior could also be considered a space-themed brother band to Gamma Ray, having had fully three quarters of Gamma Ray's membership in it at one point.
  • 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 after failing for an audition to be Judas Priest's singer.
  • The 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!"

  1. It also doesn't help that the song is sometimes referred to as "Carry On".