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Album Reviews : Gamma Ray – Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome

By on November 23, 2008

Anybody who had the pleasure of witnessing Gamma Ray live on their Australian tour will agree with me in saying that they are a bloody fun live band. The band isn’t afraid to joke around and simply have a good time, and you can hear that on the band’s latest live album “Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome (and the Finnish keyboarder who didn’t want to wear his Donald Duck costume)”. If that title alone doesn’t tell you that these guys are an amusing bunch then the extended version of “Heavy Metal Universe”, complete with a crazy singalong and Kai Hansen making a series of odd noises with his mouth, will.

Gamma Ray have really hit the nail on the head with this release. Recorded in Montreal as part of the “Majestic” tour, and also the bands first tour of Canada and the USA, this release features 18 of the bands best tracks (plus 4 off their new album, ‘Land of the Free II’) and clocks in at just over the two hour mark. On top of that, there is also a live DVD as well that comes with it. Unfortunately, I only have the audio discs at the moment, but the full package with DVD is certainly on my list of future purchases.

It’s a very broad track list that spans most of the bands career. There is a fairly even number of tracks off each release, going all the way back to their first album, “Heading For Tomorrow”. The only album missing here is “Insanity and Genius”, there’s not a single track off that album played here, but that’s really not a bad thing. Kai’s voice is as good as ever and he powers through even the highest bits with relative ease, which is great to hear considering how long he has been in the business. The band is tight and the mix is clear, with a nice balance of crowd and band. Really, there isn’t any way they could improve this.

There is some fantastic crowd participation coming through on this recording too. When it comes to live albums, there’s nothing I hate more than one that simply sounds like a studio album (I’m looking at you Opeth). That most definitely isn’t the case here.  You can regularly hear the band clapping along, and he awesome “Blood Religion” features a fantastic singalong.

As I briefly mentioned earlier, tacked onto the end of the album as bonus tracks for reasons unknown to me are four tracks off the band’s latest album. They are, obviously, recordings from a much later concert and while they don’t really hurt the album, there is no need for them. The actual concert ends on such a high note with “Send Me A Sign” that is should have just been left at that. Four extra songs thrown on after it, from what is probably their worst album, isn’t exactly an improvement.

I could not recommend this more to fans of the band, and if you are looking for an album to introduce you to either Gamma Ray in particular, or just the power metal genre then this is the one. You can read my review of the DVD version here. 9.5/10

Band: Gamma Ray
Album: Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome
Year: 2008
Genre: Power metal
Label: SPV
Origin: Germany
www.myspace.com/gmmaray

Tracklisting:
Disc One
1. Welcome
2. Gardens of the Sinner
3. New World Order
4. Man on a Mission
5. Fight
6. Blood Religion
7. Heavy Metal Universe
8. Dream Healer
9. The Heart of the Unicorn
10. Fairytale
11. The Silence

Disc Two
1. Beyond the Black Hole
2. Valley of the Kings
3. Somewhere out in Space
4. Land of the Free
5. Rebellion in Dreamland
6. I Want Out
7. Send Me A Sign
8. Into the Storm (bonus track)
9. Empress (bonus track)
10. From the Ashes (bonus track)
11. Real World (bonus track)

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.