Gamma Ray - 'Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome - Live In Montreal'

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Gamma Ray - 'Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome - Live In Montreal'

Nice live package.

Like the once mighty Helloween with whom they share a common bond (guitarist Kai Hansen), Gamma Ray are one of the few German metal bands who, as well as being omnipresent since the 80’s, have pretty much stuck to their guns regardless of whatever flack fickle trends have thrown their way. Their brand of high octane speed metal may not be to everyone’s tastes, but they’re damn good at what they do, and most importantly (as this release proves), they can also put together a pretty authentic live interpretation of their studio output.

Recorded in early 2006 on the North American leg of their ‘Majestic’ tour (coincidentally, their first such outing as headline act), ‘Hell Yeah!!! The Awesome Foursome’ captures perfectly the vibrancy, energy and enthusiasm of what is without doubt one very well oiled machine. Kai Hansen has admitted that they were unsure as to what sort of reaction to expect from the fans, but if the rest of the tour was as enthusiastic as Montreal, they needn’t have worried because this lot sounded as if they were well up for it! Naturally, that audience exuberance has rubbed off on the band because they sound as tight and committed as I’ve ever heard them in the past.

From the moment the lights go up, you just get a feeling that you’re in for something out of the ordinary, and once the bombastic intro reaches its crescendo, Gamma Ray attack the task in hand with relish. The 18 songs set cherry picks many of the more memorable moments from their long and illustrious career - ‘New World Order’, ‘Send Me A Sign’, ‘Valley Of The Kings’, ‘The Heart Of The Unicorn’, ‘Somewhere Out In Space’ and the old Helloween classic ‘I Want Out’ being just a taste of what’s on offer. There is (understandably) some overlap with their 2003 release ‘Skeletons In The Closet’, but in my opinion this isn’t excessive, and in no way mars what is on the whole a most enjoyable spectacle.

The sound quality is excellent throughout, the live dynamic and individual instrument separation captured extremely well. This double CD version also has four additional bonus tracks recorded on the more recent ‘Land Of The Free II’ tour, which again, is a nice little addition to an already smart package.

Obviously, ‘Hell Yeah!’ will hold most attraction for already established Gamma Ray fans, but if you’re new to the band and looking for a great retrospective as a good place to start, this is about as good as it gets.


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