In the studio: Gamma Ray
© Claudia Ehrhardt
- Gamma Ray - May 2001 - Hamburg (D) -
Gamma Ray at Hansen Studio in May 2001
Production of No World Order!
It's about 2 years since I visited Kai Hansen and the Gamma Ray's the last time in their studio. I arrived late afternoon at the studio. The Hansen Studio is inside an old bunker in Hamburg. It's the home of Gamma Ray for years and so it's not just a simple recording room... They have their own kind of party room with a bar, another room with a TV set and playstation and electronic darts to relax. At the end of this is the control room with lots of technical stuff and computers and then finally.... the recording rooms.
In the controlling room Kai and Dirk were working on a guitar part. Kai tried several versions and then he checked them together with Dirk. In the digital days you can work on sequences which are just a few seconds long. A total different way than in the good old analog days.
Drummer Dan Zimmermann was there, too. His work was done for the moment and so he was hanging out and commenting. Also light tech Chris was there to listen to the first stuff and to discuss the stage concept.
Then it was time to listen to the first 4 tracks which are finished and mixed, but first I got a few more information about the song the guys worked on when I arrived. Eagle (just a working title!!!!) or whatever it will be called at the end is a typical Gamma Ray tune with different tempi, but very powerful! A song the fans will love, especially live!
I was really curious, didn't know what to expect. With the first notes of the song Solid the guys left to play dart. Dirk's comment "Hope it's okay, but we heard this songs a thousand times now...." Solid is a fast track, cool riffs, very melodic and the typical hooks. Heaven Or Hell is a more melodic song with catchy hooks. Even if this songs have the typical Gamma Ray sound, they are different.... Simpler, but still parts with bombastic elements.... Hard to explain when you just heard them once... It seems that the quartet kept the essential Gamma Ray and deleted all the unnecessary elements... Next one... Da Illuminate is a very unusual track for the Hanseatic quartet. The band added some experimental elements, but they are not obvious... More like they are hiding behind the trademarks... Making the songs different to the previous releases... Track no. 4..... It's like "Hey, I know that".... And after a few moments I realized that it's a cover tune..... Gamma Ray did a very interesting version of Thin Lizzy's Angel Of Death. These tracks are the ones which are already finished and it looks like Heaven Or Hell will be the first single.
A little break where Kai told me something about the story. "It's based on a paper I got from a fan. Actually this fan showed up at a show and told me about the secret society, the Illuminate and the Free-Mansions Lodge. It was very interesting, but after a while I told him to stop. Too much information at once. I ask him to send me his ideas and finally I received about 80 pages!" Kai than studied the script and had to learn that this is too much for a conceptual album... "As a concept album it would have become a 10 CD-boxset and it would be in the stores in 2010!" Dan jokes. But Kai could tell that the guy who wrote this got a deal with a publishing house and a book will be released. In the meantime Kai picked different parts of the script and so the songs are linked to the same topic, but it ain't a real conceptual album. "At the moment it seems that the album will be called No World Order. A song will be called New World Order and both it's about the same, coz the secret societies all wanted a new world order, but more or less without rules and regulations. That means that there won't be a new world order..." Kai tries to explain. After this excursion they played some songs which aren't finished yet. Another fast one, then 2 songs from Dan. One is catchy, has some bombastic elements and the other one is a sing-along one... "Future World Pt.2 or something like that" Dan said not very seriously.
Due to the fact that everybody in Gamma Ray is writing songs, they have a larger variety. The best example is the ballad.... Written by Henjo.... I can't tell a lot about it, coz at the moment there are just drums, bass, a guitar solo and the vocal line whistled by Henjo. This can become a real good one... But it's all wait and see.
At the moment the band is in their recording schedule and soon they will be on a promotion trip all around the world.... The album will be in stores early September, as far as I remember it'll be Sept. 10th... Anyway, the tour plans are almost finished. Gamma Ray will start late September to tour Europe. The rest of the world is scheduled, but the band had no details.... "South America will be early 2002!" Kai remembers. And what I heard about the stage set it will be really cool.... At the moment they check out the possibilities and the costs, but if you have the chance to see them at a bigger venue, it'll be the better choice. On the small stages they can't present the scenery. More about the new Gamma Ray album later on!