“Skeletons In The Closet” by Gamma Ray

Artist: Gamma Ray
Title: “Skeletons In The Closet”
Label: Noise Records
Release Date: 3/9/2004
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 9/10

Gamma Ray has long been considered one of the bands that set the standard in the Power Metal genre and the double CD release of “Skeletons In The Closet” brings you some great songs performed live in concert for a screaming audience. Leader Kai Hansen has always been a force to be reckoned with in this type of music. It showed early in his career when he was a part of the legendary Helloween where he played guitar and also sang. Eventually he formed a partnership with Ralf Scheepers to start Gamma Ray and released the amazing debut “Heading For Tomorrow”. If you owned this album when it came out you knew immediately that Power Metal was going to be headed in a new and exciting direction as long as this band was in existence. This was over fifteen years ago and fast forward to today where almost a dozen records have been released in the bands catalog. Scheepers has been gone for awhile and now performs in Primal Fear which left Kai the vocal duties in the group and to be quite honest he really has an amazing voice. He is also very busy on the guitar and I admit its most impressive to see the range he can hit during the songs while playing that well. I truly enjoyed most of this CD and I had a real love for “Gardens Of The Sinner” for it’s overall power and delivery. “The Silence” has also been one of my very favorite Gamma Ray tracks since the day I first heard them on that debut album & “Heart Of The Unicorn” also seemed to grow on me. This track has a very Judas Priest/Halford feel to it and will appeal to those listeners without a doubt. Joining Kai in the group is Henjo Richter (guitars/vocals), Dirk Schlacter (bass) and Dan Zimmerman (drums); together this powerful lineup gives you 18 of their most rarely heard material in one place.

Yes, this is not an album of hits as one might expect but instead material that the band had left in the closet so to speak. Recorded during the “Skeletons In The Closet” tour in 2002 they band takes these numbers and delivers them full throttle. The idea is a worthy one and the production on the recording sounds excellent as the band rarely slows down to take a breath. Wrapped in a massive and highly illustrated cardboard sleeve there is also a huge 32 page booklet loaded with photos and band liner notes. This is not the best CD for someone looking for an introduction to Gamma Ray and their music yet more of a must-have for the long time fan. It’s great to realize that a band is as good as their albums make them out to be.

Track Listing:
1. Welcome
2. Gardens Of The Sinner
3. Rich And Famous
4. All Of The Damned
5. No Return
6. Armageddon
7. Heavy Metal Universe
8. One With The World
9. Dan’s Solo
10. Razorblade Sigh
11. Heart Of The Unicorn
12. Last Before The Storm
13. Victim Of Fate
14. Rising Star/Shine On
15. The Silence
16. Heaven Or Hell
17. Guardians Of Mankind
18. New World Order

Official Web site: http://www.gammaray.org/

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