Live Report - Gamma Ray with Goat Horn and Valkyrie's Cry - May 4th, 2006, The Opera House, Toronto, Canada
Metal Reviews

Release year: 0
Reviewed by Marty
I had a chance to check out Gamma Ray's show in Toronto last Thursday as part of a small handful of North American dates that they were doing with the very last show in Montreal being filmed for a future live DVD release. I've been a fan of Kai Hansen and Gamma Ray as well as his work as a member of Helloween for over 20 years now and I never thought I would finally get to see them live.

I really can't figure out the Toronto metal scene or the scene in most North American cities anymore. For example, a band like Dragonforce that owes every fibre of it's existence to the power metal legacy created by Helloween and Gamma Ray sold out The Opera House in Toronto (approx. 1000 capacity) just two weeks prior whereas Gamma Ray could only draw a few hundred people. The same thing happened when Helloween played Toronto a couple of years back and with Stratovarius last fall. I talked with drummer Jorg Michael before that show and he was disappointed with the advanced ticket sales for the Toronto show and stated that they probably won't be back. Montreal and Quebec City are the real hot beds for power metal in Canada with Gamma Ray and Stratovarius consistently drawing crowds of well over 1000 people. Tonight was Gamma Ray's first ever Toronto appearance and judging by the small crowd, it was strongly looking like it would be their last.

Opening the show was Toronto's Valkyries Cry who certainly brought a lot of friends/relatives etc. to cheer them on. They play a classic brand of true metal with very technical riffing. Guitarist Justin Godin was an amazing person to watch. He's one of the more talented and extremely technical guitar players that I've seen in a while. With songs about myths, legends and warriors of medieval times and dark ages, I generally like this sort of metal but aside from the fist-pumping riffs and frenzied guitar work, I found very little substance to any of their songs. In the end, the speedy riffing and wild guitar gymnastics that permeate every track eventually get tired and compounded by the band's very muddy mix and scratchy guitar sound, they really failed to capture my interest.

Up next was another Toronto band Goat Horn. These guys are a trio and also play classic heavy metal but more along the lines of Iron Maiden and Motorhead with solid riffs that touch on both thrash metal and doom metal. The pit got very busy during their set and they got a great response from the crowd. The sound was much better this time and with not being at all familiar with them, I liked what I heard and will definitely be checking them out.

It was time for the headliners and Kai Hansen and company did not disappoint! Starting with Gardens Of The Sinner, they ripped through an hour and a half of Gamma Ray classics including a couple of new tracks from the Majestic album. They really seemed to be enjoying themselves and the very enthusiastic 100 or so people at the front seemed to be enough of an incentive to put on a great show. Dipping into the back catalogue of material with tracks like Dream Healer from Sigh No More and The Silence from Heading For Tomorrow, it was a great mix of material that represented all aspects of Gamma Ray's legacy. Heavy Metal Universe from Powerplant really got things going with some great singing by the voices of Toronto and the Majestic album was visited with the tracks Fight and Blood Religion, another one that saw the Toronto crowd in fine voice. The inclusion of Helloween's I Want Out drew a huge response from the crowd and another highlight for me was the 9 min. Rebellion In Dreamland from the Land Of The Free album to close out the set. For encores, the eerie sounds of The Landing lead right into Valley Of The Kings and Somewhere Out In Space; two of my favorite Gamma Ray songs from one of my favorite Gamma Ray albums. A second encore consisted of Send Me A Sign from Powerplant and at the end of it all, a very appreciative Kai Hansen promised to be back.

It was a great show and the fairly small crowd seemed to be more of an issue with me rather than the band themselves. It was a night that was free from lengthy guitar or drum solos and saw everyone in the band (Heinjo Richter, Dan Zimmermann, Dirk Schlachter and Kai Hansen) in fine form. The used a keyboard player who also provided backing vocals and it really added some warmth and color to the live sound. I really hope that they do come back and maybe next time, more of the true power metal fans will pay homage to one of the masters and founders of the Euro power metal sound. There are so many bands that use the same basic premise with their music as Gamma Ray but there's a difference here.....these guys invented it!

Killing Songs :
Marty quoted
Other albums by Live Report that we have reviewed:
Live Report - Mgla, Lvcifyre, Wode - 15th March 2019 - Rebellion, Manchester, UK reviewed by Goat and quoted
Live Report - Pestilence, Grimaze, Damim, Cryptic Shift - 23rd February 2019 - Rebellion, Manchester, UK reviewed by Goat and quoted
Live Report - King Crimson - Uncertain Times Tour - 9th November 2018 - Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, UK reviewed by Goat and quoted
Live Report - Voivod & Bio-Cancer - 6th October 2018 - Rebellion, Manchester, UK reviewed by Goat and quoted
Live Report - Xandria, Kobra and The Lotus, Once Human and Bullet To The Heart reviewed by Joel and quoted No Score
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