Gamma Ray - Heading For Tomorrow / Sigh No More (2CD Set, Reissue)
Gamma Ray's first and second albums from '90 and '91, now reissued as a double CD set, with 3 bonus tracks each.
There was a real freshness to the debut, indicating that head honcho, Kai Hansen felt liberated by his departure from Helloween. He displays a real affection for his chosen subject and a renewed vigour in pursuing his songwriting and recording craft with the aptly titled 'Heading For Tomorrow'.

He was joined by vocalist Ralf Scheepers, who would later leave for Primal Fear, Uwe Wessel on bass and Matthias Burchardt on drums.
All that pent up creativity - suppressed by Helloween's narrow corridor of fame - came bursting out in a plethora of rafter raising teutonic metal, fabulous melody lines and enough drinking song approximations to satisfy the most exacting heavy metal audience. 
With Hansen, speed is never sacrificed at the altar of expediency.
Theatrical, hi impact singalong songs like 'Money' and 'Hold Your Ground' could have come from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Scheepers, an Axl Rose with an Air raid siren stuck in his throat, weeps and wails through Hansen's soaring, operatic tunes - most notably 'The Silence' and 'Lust For Life'.
Equally, Hansen shows himself to be no slouch at the mixing desk. Inventive, imaginative arrangements come thick and fast. Time changes are used for their true purpose - signalling a change in mood or lyrical thrust - ensuring the music intrigues us as well as holding our attention.
On top of all that, arguably, there's a couple of tracks with a commercial edge - the classic-in-the-making 'Heaven Can Wait' and Scheepers' lighterweight songwriting contribution 'Free Time', beefed up by Hansen's hardbodied riffs - are genuine crowd pleasers.
Too often bonus tracks are endcuts that should have stayed on the cutting room floor.
It's a delight then that 'HFT' includes 3 cracking tracks. 'Mr.Outlaw' was previously only included on the Japanese release, later reappearing on the 'Heaven Can Wait' EP.
Second and third bonuses, 'Lonesome Stranger' and 'Sail On' featured on the EP and the 2002 remastered Box Set.
By 'Sigh No More' it was clear that tomorrow was a helluva lot closer than you think.
Guitarist Dirk Schlater became a permanent member of the band and Uli Kusch replaced drummer Matthias Burchardt.
On this second release we could see Hansen's template for the future of Gamma Ray beginning to take shape.
It was more innovative, experimental perhaps, and displayed a burgeoning confidence. "I Need A New Direction" announces Scheepers on the dramatic, almost biographical opener 'Changes'. Hansen could now see the way ahead for Gamma Ray with crystal clarity. Maybe a tweak was needed here are there, but he had it all mentally mapped out.
You could hear Hansen playing with tempo and backing vocals on 'Changes' -  switching from lower to higher register, sometimes shadowing the lead vocals, at others using tried and tested call & response.
There's no doubt Scheepers sang with increased conviction, Hansen's guitarwork was marginally more aggressive, the music was darker and the songs were shorter, punchier.
There are plenty of straight up crowd pleasers too. 'Rich And Famous' and 'Start Running' echo Halloween. 'Father & Son' affects a more mainstream, Tesla like hard rock style, albeit with a few subtle, progrock twists.
Elsewhere, 'One With the World' continues in an experimental vein - rhythmic metal with pop sensibilities, while 'Dream Healer' is a nice variation on the galloping riff approach. The upbeat, uplifting, hard rockin 'The Spirit' (he'd been listening to Neil Young) closes the album in style.
Well, not quite. Again we have 3 bonus tracks.
For the anorak, there's an interesting pre-production version of 'Dream Healer' and in 'Heroes', we have another, rawer version of 'Changes' (it was originally bonus track on Japanese release of 'Insanity&Genius').
Rounding out the bonus material is the less than memorable 'Who Do You Think You Are', taken from the 'Heaven Can Wait' EP.
A bit of a mixed bag, with an obvious attraction for fans of the band. Casual observers may question the relevance of some of these bonus tracks.
However, two CDs for the price of one, both with 3 bonus tracks. Adds up to cracking value, no matter how you look at it.

Written by Brian
Friday, February 26, 2010
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Rating: 7/10
Gamma Ray's debut album is considered by many one of the most influential Power Metal reco... · Read more ·

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Comment by livefreeordi3 (Member) - Saturday, February 27, 2010
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just ordered from amazon, can't wait to listen...i've only heard a crappy copy of "heading for tomorrow" at a friends house, can't wait to listen to the remaster...

Posted by livefreeordi3
Saturday, February 27, 2010

Comment by gizmo (Member) - Friday, March 5, 2010
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Comments: 140
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IT´s their two best albums so if you like the others you gonna love these 2

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Review by notrap (Member) - Saturday, April 10, 2010
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Gamma Ray's debut album is considered by many one of the most influential Power Metal records of all time.
Well...I've got serious doubts about that.

This record has goods songs and everybody (including myself) respects Mr. Kay Hansen, however Heading For Tomorrow can't match the quality of Helloween's
Keepers Part I&II.
If Helloween made an average work in Pink Bubbles Go Ape, Kay's first "solo" record didn't astonish as well.

Sign No More has an american soul (I believe the band or the record company tried to reach the US Market).
It's more commercial and ambitious than the previous output. One With The World is definitely a good song and a good effort to reach the first league.

In my opinion everybody lost with Kay's departure from Helloween...Just ask Weikath....

Rating: 7/10

Posted by notrap
Saturday, April 10, 2010

Review by Brian

Released by
Cooking Vinyl - 2010

Lust For Life
Heaven Can Wait
Space Eater
The Silence
Hold Your Ground
Free Time
Heading For Tomorrow
Look At Yourself
Mr. Outlaw (Bonus Track)
Lonesome Stranger (Bonus Track)
Sail On (Bonus Track)

Rich & Famous
As Time Goes By
(We Won't) Stop the War
Father & Son
One With the World
Start Running
Dream Healer
Heroes (Bonus Track)
Dream Healer (Pre-Production Version) (Bonus Track)
Who Do You Think You Are (Bonus Track)


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No World Order - (Tommy)

Somewhere Out In Space - (Tommy)

Live at Markthalle, Hamburg, Germany - October 20th, 2005 - (Nina)

Majestic - (Tommy)

Land of the Free - (Steen)

Land of The Free II - (Stuart)

Gamma Ray and special guests: Freedom Call - Live at Kulturbolaget, Malmö, Sweden - February 25th, 2010. - (Nina)

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