Saturday, May 21, 2016

GAMMA RAY: "Insanity and Genius"

Rating: Re-issue
Label: earMUSIC 2016
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

"There's no return from the other side of heaven". There's another side to heaven? Blimey. Anyhow. Here's the posh 2016 2-CD version of Insanity and Genius. Remastered and expanded with rare B-sides, demo versions, unreleased live versions, extensive liner notes, and new art cover based on the original. It was originally recorded March to May 1993 and released the very same year, it's a more than decent throwback to the Helloween era.

Powered by a ferocious Kai Hansen, Ralf Scheepers steams in with raw, powerful vocals that border on the possessed. Opener, Tribute To The Past, is superb, an electrifying slice of Teutonic metal and tribute to the classic Helloween sound. While listening to the remastered album, you think you've at long last managed to get the grips with a song when suddenly "Gamma Ray" pops up like a Freddy Kruger-ish nightmare of the past. This haunting piece is still out to kill you in your sleep and there's no coming back from the dead?

"No Return", nearly up there among the likes of 'I Want Out' and the sound of 'Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II'. Insanity & Genius is notable for being Scheepers' final fling with Gamma Ray prior to leaving (getting sacked?) and eventually forming Primal Fear. The commercial success back in the day and especially in Japan where 100,000 units are sold. The bonus disc on this anniversary edition includes a couple of tracks performed live at Chameleon Studios in 2016. Extended version of Gamma Ray. Demo versions of Money and Silence, plus an decent enough version of "Exciter" (Judas Priest). Neat!

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