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Gamma Ray - "Insanity And Genius (re-release)"
Sanctuary / Noise 2002

Keyboard involvement became more and more obvious in the band's music at this stage. Gamma Ray kept on working to fulfil their sound range. The whole sound for 1993 was kicking real high. The opener "Tribute To The Past" was a song that I wanted to hear from a band. Are they looking for a way back to the debut release? The two songs ("No Return", "Last Before The Storm") that follow the opener almost convinced me. But that's unfortunately more or less everything. The line-up faced some changes again. The rhythm section was new. Uli Kusch (now in Masterplan) was replaced by Thomas Nack (now in Iron Saviour). Another replacement was Jan Rubach on the bass guitar. Dirk Schlächter remained in the band as a rhythm guitarist.

What happened? Too much experimenting? Yes! The structures of many compositions are fragmented and nothing fits together as it should. If "Sigh No More" offered at least some good copies, now Gamma Ray wasn't even able to offer one good copy or cliché song. The band was looking for something new but with no fortune. Gamma Ray became what they weren't supposed to be. A headless band. Sometimes you begin to hope: "Uaaau, what thundering riffing and punching!" But in the next moment the band kills all that with the use of motives, which are unsuitable. In other words, the songs are not fluid and thus very hard to digest. This record just can't convince. The title track is a real horror as a composition. I don't know what was goin' on inside Kai's head at that time. Gamma Ray was just soulless.

Nevertheless, it is interesting that the back vocal harmonies were done in the vein of all later Gamma Ray albums. Those back vocal harmonies became the band's standard and recognizable trademark. "Heal Me" is also a song that contains what is to be wanted from such a band. Lead vocals were done by Kai. A nice intro on the piano that fluctuates into a powerful riffing drive. This song is a straight link to what this band became in the future. With "Heal Me" the band finally found a nice collision of fast and slower parts inside the song of which you can enjoy every single moment. A strong melancholic chorus. A song that you can consume with maximum joy.

With "Insanity And Genius" (1993) Gamma Ray reached their bottom. Something was going terribly wrong, the band wasn't functioning, as it should. The band members were experienced, Ralf was (and still is) the first voice of German heavy metal, Kai one of the finest guitarists, but the chemistry just didn't work. Maybe, I'm just guessing now, a fight of those two egos resulted in frictions inside the band, and these frictions were more obvious than ever.

Author:   Ale¹

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