Thursday, September 24, 2015

GAMMA RAY: "Sigh No More" (Reissue)

Rating: Re-issue
Label: earMUSIC/Edel 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

When this album originally came out in September 1991 it was compared to their debut and of course to what Kai Hansen achieved with Helloween. Hansen remembers feeling confused about the situation and if Gamma Ray had incorporated too many Helloween influences or perhaps not enough? Grunge also caused a great deal of confusion as old metal heroes were considered outdated. They decided in the end to stay faithful to their sound and the five of Scheepers (vocals), Hansen & Schl├Ąchter (guitars), Wessel (bass), Kusch (drums), rented a cottage at the Danish island of Romo to write songs for "Sign No More".

The remastered 2015 Anniversary release includes the ten original tracks, a number of previously unreleased recordings with Kai on vocals, home demos and the pre-production (among them 'Heroes' which later became 'Changes'), plus a number of selected live cuts. There's a total of 12 tracks on the second bonus disc. Generously, the liner notes inform us about recording techniques as well as the story behind the unusual artwork inspired by the second Gulf war. Add to this all the lyrics and the reprinting of some memorabilia photos.

For the most part, Sigh No More is pretty good. About the only thing really wrong with it is the fact that it may just sound a bit too unfocused and uncertain. Ralf Schepper's voice can get pretty annoying on a track such as "Start Running", and "Countdown" does absolutely nothing do cheer up the mood. "One With The World" on the other hand,one of my all-time favourite songs with the band. It's one of those let's get together and sing-a-long moments of metal when the refrain echos the words of "When I'm one with the world. I am one with my mind. Forget all the fury there's no need to cry. There's a place we all go, salvation to find. There's freedom to come when I'm one with the world and my mind".

Final verdict, the bonus songs are pretty cool, and it's decent power metal with several hooks and flashy solos. Bigger and better albums yet to come in the future though.

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