HELLISH ROCK – Helloween, Gamma Ray and Axxis in Finland

December 29th, 2007
by Arto Lehtinen

Helloween & Gamma Ray
special guest: Axxis

The 10th of December 2007 Tullikamari, Tampere
The 11th of December 2007 The Cable Factory, Helsinki FINLAND

Review and pictures by Arto Lehtinen and Marko Syrjälä

Both Helloween and Gamma Ray are without any doubts the leading names of the Power Metal genre in Europe and even worldwide. Helloween can be easily labelled as forefathers of modern melodic power metal as it has evolved within three decades. The band’s classic opuses KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS Pt I and Pt II have left immortal marks on the history of Heavy Metal, having influenced several musicians to create melodic powerful hymns of their own. Kai Hansen was one of the originators in Helloween and behind the creation process of these two albums. But Hansen’s own band, Gamma Ray, has as well conquered the heavy metal universe on their own mission. Thousands of metal fans arrived at the Cable Factory and Tullikamari shows in order to witness a special gig by these German metal veterans. Even though the event was historical in many ways, neither of the shows were completely sold out and that was little surprising.

 

AXXIS

Before Weikath’s and Hansen’s groups got on the stage, the third German power/traditional metal combo Axxis had the pleasant task to open the night as an obvious and good headliner to warm the audience up. Although the outfit has been around since 1988, they’ve yet to achieve remarkable fame and glory. The five piece had been backed up by a female singer of the Romanian Magica for the tour with Gamma Ray and Helloween. It has to admitted the Magica female singer handled the job pretty well and was a more pleasant choice for the male metalheads to keep their eyes on. Axxis’ frontman and founding member Bernhard Weib appeared to be such a restless and wild frontman. His stage manners were remisncent to and had been adopted from Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear and even from Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies. Well weird combination indeed. In order to draw more attention from the Finnish audience, the man picked up a piece of paper in order to attempt in communicating in Finnish with pretty good results. As for the Axxis stuff, it can be descreibed as a mix of trad metal, some humor with obvious power metal elements added, but unfortunately not that catchy as their songs could be after all. But Axxis is definitely worth checking out by trad/power metal fans.

  

 

GAMMA RAY

Gamma Ray has visited Finland on every tour since the first appearance at Tuska 2000. Whenever the four piece led by Kai Hansen has made a visit to Finland, places have almost always been packed by hundreds of metal maniacs.

In wake of the opening riffs of “Heaven Can Wait”, the whole quartet entered with passionate and loud cheers from the audience. The 60 minute gig was a pure firework of blasting power metal with melodic tunes and Kai Hansen’s tight playing. Gamma Ray’s majestic power metal joyride is definitely welcomed in the dismal gloomy metal world. The band’s melodic tunes make anyone listening to Gamma Ray in a good mood. The set, for obvious reasons, contained an equal balance of classic and a little bit unknown songs for the masses. Above all a few classic ones: “Land Of The Free”, “Rebellion In Dreamland” and “Somewhere Out In Space” are essential, being a part of setlists at every gig. Ironically the highlight of the Gamma Ray show was the old Helloween tune “Ride The Sky” which was a great surprise on the set list. Another highlight was rarely played gem ”The Silence” which comes from bands debut album “Heading For Tomorrow”. Instead the material off the latest LAND OF FREE PT 2 was absent, despite “Into The Storm” and “Real World”.  Especially those older so called classic ones have belonged to sets for a long time, therefore changing or picking up a few tunes more for example from INSANITY AND GENIOUS or from SIGH NO MORE would be outstanding for sure?

The four piece appeared in good form during the entire 60 minute set and gave us all a lesson in true metal. Kai Hansen always looks extremely humble and polite on stage behind the mic and with guitar in hand. Finnish Gamma Ray fans didn’t have to wait to see Hansen and his comrades in Finland for such a long time. Hopefully Hansen and his men will continue their mission sooner, rather than later here.  

    

 

GAMMA RAY set list
 
Heaven Can Wait
New World Order
Land Of The Free
Into The Storm
Real World
Rebellion In Dreamland
Heavy Metal Universe
The Silence
Ride The Sky
Somewhere out in space

Encore:
Send Me A Sign

 

HELLOWEEN

As stated earlier in this article, Helloween can be labelled as a forefather of the modern day heroic power metal genre. Being a headliner of the night was a justified place for the band having struggeled through years facing up and downs over their long career. The line-up nowadays has found a great working chemistry proven by the new killer studio album GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL being another classic Helloween album. 

The Helloween stage construction was massive and great indeed. A mean backdrop with some kind of evil looking mascot standing next to the drum kit looked extremely grim, referring to the theme to the latest album. The drum kit, which was HUGE, had been placed on a high ramp, seeing the drummer in action was kind of complicated.   
The long epic “Halloween” tune off from the Keeper album pt I was a pleasant way to surprise the audience. The set didn’t include that much new stuff from the latest studio effort, only “As Long As I Fall” and “Bells Of The Seven Hells”. The main weight was focused a lot on material from the first two KEEPER albums such as “Dr. Stein”, “Eagle Fly Free”,“March Of The Time” and â€œThe Tale That Wasn’t Right”. Surprisingly there was only one track, “King for a 1000 Years”, played from the third, also excellent, KEEPER album THE LEGACY. That 10 minute song was one of the hightlights of the show.

For the most of the fans it was great thing when band did so much material from the KEEPERS but on the other hand they ignored many great albums completely. the set didn’t include anything from ”Rabbit Don’t Come Easy”, “Pink Pubbles Go Ape”, “Chameleon”, nothing from pre- Kiske era and only small parts included on medley from “Time Of The Oath” and “Better Than Raw”.

What’s always great in Helloween is that the band don’t take themselves that seriously though although Weikath doesn’t look that thrilled and show happy “happy helloween” in his stone face. The roadie group quickly set up a threatre looklike coulisse, to where a couple of Helloween guys went to play a puppet show with hilarious duck sounding voices. After all Weikath shot them down. For “Perfect Gentleman” Deris had dressed a golden jacket and hat.

Helloween has gone through numerous line up changes in the past but it clearly seems that the current version of band is very strong and they seem to fit perfectly together. Guitarist Sacsha might not have the charisma of Kai Hansen but he’s a perfect fit there and he’s bringing a lot of new, fresh energy for this band. I don’t know if it’s up to him only but it did look that the bands “veteran members” Weikath and bassist Markus Grosskopf have also found some new power on their stage performance. It can even be said that they both looked younger than what they did ten years ago?!?

It has always been pointed out and criticized how Andy Deris’ fits to the older, especially Micael Kiske era, Helloween material . Of course he sounds different and has a personal grip on those so called Helloween immortal tunes. To tell the truth, he has become an excellent singer and frontman on the stage for example compared his first shows in the early 90’s. The songs released during the Deris era, have killer and memorable riffs which have smoothly become new classic ones like “Perfect Gentleman” and “Sole Survivor” as mentioned earlier.

The latest addition, drummer Dani Loeb, is a great player as well but it still must be mentioned that that his long drum solo was really boring and pointless. How about doing some extra songs instead?  

The utter peak of the night was experienced when all the members of Helloween and Gamma Ray got on the stage to perform a couple of encore surprises. Of course the audience went beserk when Kai Hansen spelled the opening chorus of “Future World”. Deris and Hansen shared the vocal duties there and it sounded surprisingly good. It was somewhat hilarious to see all nine band members onstage especially when all four guitarists did play the same solo at “I Want Out” which was the last song on both nights!  

The night was a pure power metal blast from the beginning to the end. We hope and express wishes that this certain reunion would happen.. some time and some where….

 

  

 

HELLOWEEN set list
 
Halloween
Sole Survivor
March Of Time
As Long As I Fall
A Tale That Wasn’t Right
Drumsolo
King For A 1000 Years
Eagle Fly Free
The Bells Of The Seven Hells
If I Could Fly
Dr. Stein

Encore 1
I Can
Where The Rain Grows
Perfect Gentleman
Power
Keeper Of The Seven Keys

Encore 2
Future World
I Want Out

 

MORE PICTURES OF GAMMA RAY SHOW

 

 

 

 

MORE PICTURES FROM HELLOWEEN SHOW

  

 

 

 

 

MORE PICTURES OF GAMMA RAY/HELLOWEEN  

 

FOR MORE INFO GO TO:


HELLOWEEN : www.helloween.org

GAMMA RAY : www.gamma-ray.com

AXXIS : www.axxis.de

 

 

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