Returned to Live: Gamma Ray/Induction

Estimated reading time: 14 minute(s)

Gamma Ray/Induction
EX Theater Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
May 7, 2024

I returned to the same venue where I saw In Flames and Kreator in February to witness Induction and Gamma Ray on a Tuesday night after work in May. Gamma Ray hadn’t played Japan since the 2015 Loud Park festival and I hadn’t seen them since they played a solo club gig in June 2014, so there was quite a bit of pent-up demand in the local market, and it showed: the assigned stand seats were sold out and the floor was very packed (although I could not confirm if the entire gig sold out). The crowd was a mix of grizzled metal heads like myself and a much younger generation of fans with quite a few female members in what was a surprisingly healthy-looking fanbase overall. First up was opening act Induction, a power metal band in which Kai Hansen’s son Tim plays guitar. Induction is relatively new, with a debut album self-released in 2019 (that is hard to find) and a sophomore effort Born from Fire released in 2022 from Atomic Fire Records (the home of Helloween, Epica, Amorphis, Meshuggah, & Opeth, among other notables), as well as some EPs. I like them, especially their singer, who reminds me of Dragonforce’s Marc Hudson, and the crowd gave them an enthusiastic response. However, it has to be said that their sound is hardly that much of departure from first-generation power metal. One puzzle was the absence of second guitarist Marcos Rodriguez (ex-Rage), who was replaced by French guitarist Celine Peren. I don’t know if their line-up has changed or what, but she was a welcome addition, with a dynamic stage presence and a fluid soloing style. Overall, despite the obvious nepotism, Induction served as a very comfortable warm-up act for the headliners.

Induction Set List

  1. Born from Fire (Born from Fire)
  2. Fallen Angel (Born from Fire)
  3. Scorched (Born from Fire)
  4. I Am Alive (Born from Fire)
  5. Set You Free (The Power of Power EP)
  6. Medusa (New Single)
  7. Drum Solo
  8. Go to Hell (Born of Fire)
  9. Queen of Light (Born of Fire)

Band: Craig Cairns, vocals; Tim Hansen, guitars; Dominik Gusch, bass; Celine Peren; guitars; Andreas “Andi” Rohde, drums

After Induction left the stage, I realized the true advantage of having a family member’s band open: the various equipment and sound compromises reached between the two acts allowed for the shortest turn-around time I have ever witnessed, only about ten minutes!

Gamma quickly hit the state running with “Land of the Free.” They sounded great, with Frank Beck and Kai sharing lead vocals due to Kai’s concern with his aging voice (although I have to say the parts he sang sounded as good as ever). The two-vocalist attack (which the band has featured since 2015) keeps the audience on its toes, as the part-switching is constant and you have to pay attention to follow it. As you may know, lead guitarist and regular member Henjo Richter was hit by a car in January and is still recovering from his injuries, so he was replaced by Finnish guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen (Beast in Black, ex-Amberian Dawn), who handled his duties with a professional ease. After powering through three more classic numbers, including my favorite “Rebellion in Dreamland,” the band welcomed its founding vocalist Ralf Scheepers to the stage for the title track from their first album. Ralf’s an imposing figure with a true power metal voice but was ailing from a cold, which became a bit of a good-natured joke as the night went on, including an episode when Ralf took the stage with a cup of tea, which led to some funny banter with Kai.

“One with the World” stood out as a moment when the band was obviously having as much fun on stage as the audience members were in the crowd, and Kai said as much after the song ended. With two encores, it was one of those nights when it seemed the headliner didn’t want to leave the stage, and final number “Heaven Can Wait” really tore down the house. I am so glad I dragged my old ass from work to share in this quite cathartic comeback with a surprising full and enthusiastic crowd and an obviously overjoyed Kai Hansen, whose soloing and singing sounded as good as I remembered. And, yes, I am biased; my son is partially named after Kai Hansen, although there were other considerations behind the name choice as well. Cheers!

Gamma Ray Set List

  1. Welcome (Heading for Tomorrow/Blast from the Past)
  2. Land of the Free (Land of the Free/Blast from the Past)
  3. Last Before the Storm (Insanity and Genius/Blast from the Past)
  4. Rebellion in Dreamland (Land of the Free)
  5. Masters of Confusion (Empire of the Undead)
  6. Lust for Life (Heading for Tomorrow/Blast from the Past) (with Ralf Scheepers)
  7. One with the World (Sigh No More/Blast from the Past) (with Ralf Scheepers)
  8. Man on a Mission (Land of the Free)
  9. The Silence (Heading for Tomorrow/Silent Miracles/Blast from the Past) (with Ralf Scheepers)
  10. Induction (No World Order)
  11. Dethrone Tyranny (No World Order)
  12. Somewhere Out in Space (Somewhere Out in Space/Blast from the Past)
  • Encore 1:
  1. Heading for Tomorrow (Heading for Tomorrow/Blast from the Past) (with Ralf Scheepers)
  • Encore 2:
  1. Send Me a Sign (Powerplant/Blast from the Past)
  2. Heaven Can Wait (Heading for Tomorrow/Blast from the Past) (with Ralf Scheepers)

Band: Kai Hansen, vocals & guitar; Frank Beck, vocals; Dirk Schlächter, backing vocals & bass; Kasperi Heikkinen, guitar; Michael Ehré, drums.
Very Special Guest: Ralf Scheepers, vocals

This post has responses:
July 4, 2024 Re: Returned to Live: Gamma Ray/Induction avatar
Thanks for that—it's always a pleasure to read your in depth reviews! Gamma Ray is not a band that was ever really on my radar, but I know you are...
July 4, 2024 Re: Re: Returned to Live: Gamma Ray/Induction avatar
Happy Independence Day 2024! Hope it's not the last one! My favorite albums from the classic 1990s version of the band are: Land of the Free, Somewhere Out in Space,...
July 5, 2024 Re: Returned to Live: Gamma Ray/Induction avatar
Thanks for the fantastic-as-always concert review! I'm even less familiar with GR than Zig, so I'll have to check 'em out. Here's one bit of trivia that your post touched...

Comments are closed.