Tag Archives: kai hansen

Gamma Ray @ Gramercy Theatre (1/28/2011)

Logo - Gamma Ray

Artist: Gamma Ray
Venue: Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Arctic Flame, Kore Rozzik
Date: 1/28/2011
Label: Ear Music

Please don’t take this the wrong way but I hate Gamma Ray. Yep. Totally hate them and the other forty or so bands that just got to enjoy a full week of being on a Metal Cruise to the Caribbean with night after night of playing music and partying hard. My venom towards them all is not entirely serious and more based on the fact that New York City had been getting brutalized by Mother Nature who seems to be enjoying her ability to heap piles and piles of snow onto our Metropolis. I would not usually complain about such things but if you lived here you would probably be in agreement with me and hold a little bit of attitude about some folks who had been sailing their cares away in the warn sun. That being said, this “70,000 Tons of Metal” cruise had only just returned to port down in Florida earlier this morning and now the guys in Gamma Ray had to not only disembark from that without incident but also make their way up to a snow covered terrain that resembled the arctic more than it did a Big Apple. The guys in Gamma Ray were hitting our city for the first time in just over two years having last paid a visit with Helloween over at B.B. King Blues Club. That was a hell of a show, so I was looking forward to seeing them in action again as they delivered the goods from their newest Metal release “To The Metal”. They would be doing this particular show with two local openers and I had to say that with no offense to the pair, this was not all that enticing to the fans that had to trudge and stumble across the ice and slush to get to the venue. Our show was set to have both Desdemon and Arctic Flame, but illness curtailed the first band so the Flame moved up a slot and the opening time was left to a group called Kore Rozzik. I would miss the openers this evening and leave my time and attention to be purely centered on Gamma Ray. Here is how the set went down.
Continue reading Gamma Ray @ Gramercy Theatre (1/28/2011)

Helloween & Gamma Ray @ B.B. King Blues Club (9/21/2008)

The pairing of Helloween and Gamma Ray was nothing less than a dream come true for many of the Power Metal fans of the world and when the “Hellish Rock” tour hit NYC we were there to document it.  So far, September had been one of the craziest months we ever experienced in the role of Metal Media guy but we were still happy to be able to present our views and images of the fun with the worldwide PiercingMetal.com readership.  We shot photos of both groups at some length and those who wish to learn more about it need only click the logo below to be brought to the item on the main website.

Logo - Helloween

Artist: Helloween
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Gamma Ray
Date: 9/21/2008
Label: SPV Records

The concerts to attend on my planning schedule had already been rather fruitful with interesting appearances from the legendary Carcass who brought a bevy of supporting acts with them, all the way through show featuring Trouble, Opeth and the mighty Motorhead which was actually only last night for me. Yet despite the roster of things already done and being worked out for the Metal legions to enjoy – the very premise of both Gamma Ray and Helloween touring together on the same package was enough to make you tremble in your leather jacket even if we were still dealing with the warmer weather that would find such things in our closets for the next few weeks. They called this event “The Hellish Rock Tour” and it would thankfully feature no other openers and only be the two main bands. I say it like this based on the wide assortment of opening talent that I had absorbed over the past couple of weeks and since the longer the show the more exhausting it can be, I was happy to just see the pair of killer Power Metal acts taking the stage. Plus, with no openers to speak of this would mean a much longer set for each of the bands and one cannot go wrong with that. The show once again would be something that took place at B.B. King Blues Club and the venue was jam packed from the moment that I walked inside the place. I won’t lie when I say that I loved seeing that many Metal heads gathered together for the cause. Here is how the very exciting event took place if you were one of the few Metal heads that seemed to miss out.
Continue reading Helloween & Gamma Ray @ B.B. King Blues Club (9/21/2008)

“Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 2” (remaster) by Helloween

Artist: Helloween
Title: “Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 2”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 8/8/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

One might have found it strange that Helloween chose to follow up “Keeper 1” with a successor album immediately afterward but if you heard it originally back then- it made nothing but sense. The band was firming up their dominance in this new Power Metal genre that their music was largely responsible for and as the albums opener “Eagle Fly Free” blasts through your speakers you feel all the majesty and grandeur that Helloween would come to be associated with for a number of albums. With their third album being a sequel there were probably not many who felt it would be the success that is eventually became. Song wise there was no shortage of memorable tunes from the comical “Dr. Stein”, which finds the infamous Doctor now creating monsters who become Rock Musicians and Politicians, to Metal anthem “I Want Out”. The latter track had a very strange video to accompany it on the still fledgling MTV network which at the time showed a lot of Metal bands. This same track still sounds as fresh today almost twenty years later and not many bands can say that about their early material. Kiske has vocal lines on the album that soar high above the stratosphere at times and at others are subtle and passionate and on his own sophomore work with the group you can easily see why he will become one of the most respected Power Metal vocalists of all time and be someone who future singers measure their talents against. The album does not include a sequel to the mega-number “Halloween” from the preceding chapter but in its place we have “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” which serves well as the albums epic number. There is also the appealing heaviness of “Save Us” and this will remind you easily of the appeal of this building genre.
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“Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1” (remaster) by Helloween

Artist: Helloween
Title: “Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1” (remaster)
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 8/8/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 5/5

As the follow up to their debut “Walls Of Jericho”, Helloween would find lead singer/guitarist Kai Hansen choosing to focus on the axe work while they brought in a then 18 year old Michael Kiske to handle the vocal duties. The song writing would grow by leaps as well, and as a result the 1987 release of “Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1” would become one of the most revered albums in Power Metal music history. Interestingly enough, Power Metal was not yet a widely used term and based on their efforts, Helloween is regarded as one of the prime founders of the genre. It’s easy to see why this is the case based on the direction that the group took with the second album for instead of maintaining course to the more thrashy debut they increased the use of melody and double guitar leads. Yes bands like Maiden and Priest also had twin axe men but theirs was a sound based on the influences of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple and while also melodic it did not reach speed levels like the Helloween players delivered. The release in remaster and expanded format is a real treat for any Metal fan or study of the genre as the classics come to renewed life with the cleaner production of this CD.
Continue reading “Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1” (remaster) by Helloween

Gamma Ray @ B.B. King Blues Club (5/1/2006)

Logo - Gamma Ray

Artist: Gamma Ray
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Into Eternity, Arctic Flame
Date: 5/1/2006
Label: Sanctuary Records

Far from being in the shadow of his accomplishments in Helloween, singer guitarist Kai Hansen has made sure that Gamma Ray is one of the most important bands in Power Metal history.

Starting off the festivities for this evening would be Arctic Flame, whose name I had only recently heard but alas I was not in the club when they performed. I was given a copy of the CD by their singer and got to chat with them briefly. Watch for that CD review sometime soon. Opening up the show would be Into Eternity, and as I write this I can hear the Metal concert goers sighing “again?” The band was pretty much a mainstay at some of the biggest shows of 2005 with almost every major Power Metal show having them on the bill as well. Great for the fans that enjoy them as I do, but perhaps not too much in the eyes of those who look to see some different stuff a little more often. Tonight however we would find a very different band on the stage. Gone was drummer Adam Sagan, who had left the band a few months ago and in his place was Jim Austin who recorded the album for them in the first place. The other surprise to me as someone who had seen the band several times was the absence of Rob Doherty who was being filled in for by Collin Craig. While I don’t know the specifics behind his absence I have to say that Craig did a great job on the material that I knew. Once again a number of Metal blasts from “Buried By Oblivion” were delivered and we even were treated to a couple of new numbers that will be on their as yet untitled follow up to the last record. Looking at the calendar of shows made me wonder how many times I will see them this year. Either way I am sure Tim Roth and company will be sure to start off everyone’s Metal evening right so I look forward to it.
Continue reading Gamma Ray @ B.B. King Blues Club (5/1/2006)