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Album Reviews : Gamma Ray – The Best (Of)

By on July 17, 2015

ThebestofWhen a band celebrates an anniversary milestone, they do one of two things: they either go on a massive world tour reflecting on their defining, classic work for months on end or they pump out a “best of” album. German power metal pioneers, Gamma Ray, have chosen the latter to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Simply titling the release, “The Best Of“.

Every song on this double disc release has been hand picked by Kai Hansen, reflecting on the band’s full body of work, from ‘Heading For Tomorrow’ with former lead vocalist Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), plus a slew of classic tracks throughout the band’s entire career, including two tracks from the brand new album, ‘Empire of the Undead’, which was only released last year. Totalling in at 25 tracks, the whole purpose of this release is to give a taste of what’s to come from Gamma Ray over the next several months.

Every single Gamma Ray album will be remastered and re-released through earMUSIC with additional liner notes, bonus material, and extended cover art to keep the most hardcore Gamma Ray fans satisfied – myself included. Kai (Hansen) has chosen a great selection of tracks from hard hitting anthems like “Empathy”, “Rebellion in Dreamland”, “Armageddon”, and “Man on a Mission”; as well as the band’s formidable, lengthier tracks, “Heading For Tomorrow” and “Insurrection”. Every single song has been carefully re-mastered by Eike Freese (Dark Age) and Kai Hansen, respectively. What you hear is Gamma Ray at their finest with a fantastic mix that doesn’t sound dated or over produced. Bigger guitars, bigger drums and louder vocals, all of which take nothing away from the original listening experience of each album. Simply put, it’s more a slight tweak, than a complete abuse of resources to make a quick buck.

While heavy metal music is often associated with aggression and negativity from a generalised point of view, Gamma Ray bring to the table a range of simplistic and complex songs which flip this ideology on its head. A sense of understanding and compassion are commonplace with the unity of metal fans reflecting that which should be in all of us. The lyrics go beyond the conventional realms of power metal, exploring everything from human emotion, religion and politics. For me, the music is an escape from the daily grind. It helps me cope through those difficult times in life that affect all of us on an emotional and psychological level, crushing doubt and fear underfoot. You could say the music makes me feel truly free, albeit for a brief moment in time.

While some would argue that their favourite Gamma Ray tracks aren’t listed on this compilation, I see it as a fantastic representation of the band to a new generation. Gamma Ray have 11 studio albums in total so it maybe a little difficult for some to go out of their way to find them all. Not everyone will enjoy every single album, so this is the perfect introduction for a new generation to discover and for veterans of power metal to rediscover Gamma Ray.


Anwar is the editor-in-chief of Metal When Anwar isn't busy promoting tours, interviewing bands and reviewing awesome music, he loves to collect metal vinyl and play video games. Follow Metal Obsession on Twitter and Facebook