GAMMA RAY – Skeletons & Majesties EP
When a veteran group throws together a fun EP of rare material in full electric mode as well as some classics in acoustic form like Gamma Ray, intrigue sets in. “Hold Your Ground” is re-recorded from the “Heading For Tomorrow” album, benefiting from 21 years of better recording technology. “Brothers” originally came out on “Insanity And Genius”, the last record with Ralf Scheepers on vocals and is more of a fun-spirited metal unity send up.
The stripped down “Send Me A Sign” proves a great song is still great in metal whether electric or acoustically driven – and this one has more of a slight big band-like swing to the chorus. It wouldn’t be Gamma Ray without including one of their epics, so “Rebellion In Dreamland” gets a 9:36 acoustic treatment, a little slower but nonetheless as powerful here as when heard live. You’ll also get the “To The Metal” bonus track “Wannabees” and a karaoke version of “Rebellion In Dreamland” among the bonus tracks- almost filling this out to a normal CD time span to give you more bang for the money.
Liner notes also explain the thought process behind the recording and what the future entails for Gamma Ray – a new DVD and live album for the fall of 2011. I’m glad Kai Hansen still has an ear for the fans and the material they want the band to shuffle in and out of their live shows.
May not be essential to some, but interesting enough for my liking.