JUNE 20th,2011  

Review by: Peter Ruttan

Kai Hansen is regarded as "the grandfather of power metal" and formed the power metal group Gamma Ray which has been going fairly strong now for 20 years. Originally Kai came to be one of the founders of the popular power metal band Helloween. Gamma Ray had decided to release Skeletons & Majesties, an EP designed to celebrate the long history of the band or to be a filler before releasing a full length album.

We start of with the first track “Stand Your Ground” from the debut, Heading for Tomorrow, and “Brothers” from the final Ralf Sheepers-lead vocals album, Insanity and Genius. Both tracks are given a modern production feel and new vocal treatments from Kai Hansen. “Send me a Sign” the new recording plays the cheesy choral vocals from the original, the song is still good. “Brothers” adds even more silliness to the mix but in all honesty i liked it and found myself playing this track a few times over.

“Rebellion in Dreamland” is also in a unplugged setting and felt different enough to feel new and interesting. We are so use to hear power vocals from Kai but this is a nice change from his usual style of screams.

“Wannabees,” is a leftover from the To the Metal sessions that was previously only found as a bonus track on the special edition and Japanese versions. The track which features good melodic riffs and vocals which on this EP is the hardest/loudest track on here.

The EP also has the extended version of “Brothers” which i actually enjoyed, and a karaoke version of “Rebellion in Dreamland,” which is exactly that: an instrumental version with only backing vocals. There’s some random studio vocalizing “hidden” at the end of “Rebellion…”

Overall, considering the consistently high-quality production releases and material by Gamma Ray, this one is not my favorite but still enjoyed it somewhat. Die hard fans should add this to there collection. As for me in the end bring on the new album!