GAMMA RAY – Heading For Tomorrow [Remastered & Expanded 2 CD] (2015)
“Heading For Tomorrow” was the debut album by the legendary German metallers band GAMMA RAY. It was intended to be the first solo album of Helloween’s guitarist, vocalist and primary songwriter Kai Hansen after he left the band, but he re-named the project as Gamma Ray.
Now “Heading For Tomorrow” reached its 25 Anniversary, and Hansen is celebrating the event with this expanded double CD edition, remastered 2015.
With Helloween, Kai Hansen created the incredibly influential 2 volumes of Keeper Of The Seven Keys albums. Well, “Heading For Tomorrow” is considered by many as ‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys III’.
“Heaven can wait ’til another day. Cause there ain’t no reason to leave. The world is a stage where we all can play. Another fine reason to live and heaven can wait”. It’s been 25 years since you first heard the call and lead single “Heaven Can Wait” off Heading For Tomorrow. Catchy, classic metal anthem if ever.
Kai Hansen formed Gamma Ray with ex- Tyran Pace vocalist Ralf Scheepers (now at Primal Fear) after leaving Helloween (at their very peak) in 1988.
Hansen lived in a tiny flat in Hamburg at the time and practically slept on his 24-track recorder. He sound proofed the room and was able to do all pre-production work. He wrote most of the material for the release with the exception of “Free Time” (the Tyran Pace leftover) and the Uriah Heep cover of “Look At Yourself”. The first one a hard rock anthem, while the latter it’s a cool version.
Ralf Scheepers definitely delivers a high-octane performance here, perhaps the best of his career. His pipes are powerful, which style and range evokes that of Judas Priest’s Rob Halford, albeit with noticeably greater vocal strength. Gamma Ray’s first set benefits greatly from Scheeper’s presence, but the tunes stand their own ground.
Opening with the grand, symphonic sounding intro track ‘Welcome’ which sets the scene for things to come, the album starts off greatly, kicking into ‘Lust For Life’ which is one of the strongest tracks on the record. Its full of memorable vocal lines, impressive lead guitar work and an interesting structure, therefore pretty much setting the template for Gamma Ray in general.
Other highlights include ‘Money’ which has a bit of an eccentric feel, as well as the catchy ‘Space Eater’ (another groovy hard rocker), the power ballad ‘The Silence’ and the aforementioned “Free Time’.
The double set Anniversary Edition of “Heading For Tomorrow” sounds fantastic with the fresh 2015 remastering by Eike Freese & Alex Dietz (supervised by Kaisen) and with new artwork.
Disc 1 includes the main album with the killer Japanese bonus track “Mr. Outlaw”, plus all single B-sides; “Sail On” (almost melodic hard rock) and “Lonesome Stranger”.
Add to this 12 extensive bonus tracks on disc 2 such as live in Japan 1990 versions of “Heading For Tomorrow” and “Space Eater”. Then you have versions with Kai Hansen on lead vocals of “Money”, “Sail On”, “The Silence”, “Heaven Can Wait” (and I love his vocals too).
Gamma Ray is a band that has evolved their sound a lot since this first release, it’s more and more modern for every album and a bit more power metal. That’s why I consider this “Heading For Tomorrow” as my favorite, because it’s much more melodic, hard rockin’ I’d say, or today called ‘classic rock’.
Seriously, if you do not like Gamma Ray’s present heaviness, you should check “Heading For Tomorrow” as in many places it is more hard rocking oriented than metal.
This 25 Anniversary sounds awesome and the bonus material – mostly previously unreleased – is truly good.
CD 1 : Studio Album Remastered
2. Lust For Life
3. Heaven Can Wait
4. Space Eater
6. The Silence
7. Hold Your Ground
8. Free Time
9. Heading For Tomorrow
10. Look At Yourself
11. Mr. Outlaw (Japanese Bonus Track)
12. Sail On (B-Side)
13. Lonesome Stranger (B-Side)
CD 2 : Bonus CD
1. Who Do You Think You Are
2. Heaven Can Wait (Demo)
3. Money (Demo – Kai on vocals)
4. Sail on (Demo – Kai on vocals)
5. Heading For Tomorrow (Live)
6. Space Eater (Live)
7. The Silence (Demo – Kai on vocals)
8. Mr. Outlaw (Instrumental Version)
9. Heaven Can Wait (Demo – Kai on vocals)
10. Heading For Tomorrow (Karaoke Version)
11. Space Eater (Karaoke Version)
12. Lonesome Stranger (Demo)
Ralf Scheepers – Vocals
Kai Hansen – Guitars, Vocals
Uwe Wessel – Bass (all but 4 and 5)
Mathias Burchardt – Drums (all but 3)
Dirk Schlächter – Bass (4, 5)
Tommy Newton – Guitar (8)
Tammo Vollmers – Drums (3)
Mischa Gerlach – Keyboards
BUY IT !