OK, so since I've designated this page as media-themed and that can mean just about anything really, I'm going to start additionally using it as a way to spotlight a musical obsession I've had for nearly 25 years: METAL.
And I'm not talking about that cookie cutter new metal that we get in abundance in the USA. I enjoy listening to that stuff once in a while--even Nickelback takes a few turns on my iPod rotation now and then. What I'm talking about is the stuff that doesn't get much or any airplay on so-called "hard rock and metal" radio stations in this country, at least nowhere I'm aware of. There's a whole world of heavy music out there that the average American hard rock fan has never been exposed to. Many of the bands in these subgenres have very successful careers throughout the world but are relatively unheard of in North America.
I'm going to keep this blog going as before, but when I am at a loss for a "normal" post, I'll toss in a link to a YouTube video, official band site, album review or something else within the realm of legality that features a heavy music act that I think deserves some attention.
Kicking it off with some Gamma Ray. The band was founded by Kai Hansen, the original lead singer of German metal band Helloween. During Hansen's time at the helm, Helloween was a very decent thrash band. They only released a couple of EPs and a full-length album before his departure from the band and their new direction which originated the sound that came to be known as power metal.
Hansen went on to form Gamma Ray in 1988. Their debut album, Heading for Tomorrow, was released two years later on Noise Records. If featured Hansen on lead guitar and Ralf Scheepers on vocals. Scheepers would provide vocals for two additional outings before Hansen took over beginning on the 1995 release, Land of the Free. From that point on, Hansen would do double duty as lead guitarist and vocalist. He's also been the main songwriter during the band's career.
Scheepers went on to found another successful power metal band, Primal Fear, after being turned down as Rob Halford's replacement in Judas Priest.
To date, Gamma Ray has released 10 studio albums, three live discs and three EPs. They have become one of Germany's most successful metal acts ever. And deservedly so.
Here's Gamma Ray doing a live version of one of the catchiest tunes from their debut album, "Heaven Can Wait":