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Hell Yea!!! Kinda.... - 84%

GuntherTheUndying, December 29th, 2008

Gamma Ray has inherited a tiny characteristic that would make Aristotle cum in his pants: entelechy. Their drive as a band is unmatchable, and I don’t think a single faction from the primordial stage of power metal can match what Kai Hansen has created throughout Gamma Ray chromatic existence. After several delays, “Hell Yeah” has finally been given a full-fledged release in DVD format, two-discs, and a massive boxset featuring both. Sure, all those delays that pushed back this nifty collection got pretty annoying, but when the day ends, “Hell Yeah” was definitely worth all that watching and waiting. In fact, you might just say, “hell yea!”

Two CDs captured throughout a performance in Montreal, eh? Now that’s what we want. You know, I have every live record Gamma Ray produced before “Hell Yeah,” and I don’t see anything unusual in the occurrence of these two discs completely running over “Alive 95” and “Skeletons in the Closet” with hardly a dab of effort. Musically, Gamma Ray forces unprecedented speed and chaotic precision into their turbo-charged anthems even more than expected; although appearing a little different, these stylistic changes are impeccable. The awesome foursome holds energy within their grasp, whether slower notes like “The Silence” are taking control, or venting into something such as “Blood Religion” that casts stranger ambiences than a majority of Gamma Ray’s magical set. I find “Hell Yeah” unquestionably balanced, and certainly enchanting on a musical level of masterful performances.

However, the music is only a fraction of this release’s power. For example, the recording’ s nature lies within warm fields that brighten each and every instrument in a stellar mixture throughout Gamma Ray’s great exhibition. Interestingly enough, “Hell Yeah” also shows Kai Hansen flexing a braver direction in singing: attempting (and wonderfully mastering) falsetto, replacing studio-version pitches with alternative chimes, and generally proving he’s an equally-blessed musician both on his hands and mouth. As for those legendary monuments bound to be discovered when these CDs hit your spinner, Gamma Ray’s eager display of might easily leads “Fight” and an epic rendition of “I Want Out” above the pack, yet that’s not without saying this two-set completely rips like a wolverine.

But hold on, there are four bonus tracks taken from “Land of the Free II” that was released two years after “Hell Yeah” was recorded! Note the emphasis on emotion with the exclamation point does not reflect the entire form of Gamma Ray’s bag-o-tricks throughout this live effort, because frankly, the four extra tunes are horrendous. The overall list of miscalculations preformed by the band is utterly atrocious: absent solos, keyboards overshadow every musical aspect, backing vocals sound terrible, and literally no energy within each cut, much unlike the album these songs originally appeared on. Not much of a bonus if you ask me.

As for the remaining disc, I really don’t know what to say. With the new age of live films occurring within the music industry, Gamma Ray, like many bands, has gotten around to DVDs instead of videos, or even CDs, with “Hell Yeah” acting against the usual norm. The only problem present in any live DVD seems to be the complete loss of identity, because everything from band ‘x’ will most likely appear on a DVD band ‘y’ releases (think filming, crowd, stage, etc.) so why bother? Personally, I didn’t see anything different when “Hell Yeah” hit my screen. Good? Sure, I liked it, but viewing it wasn’t some godly experience that motivated me to amputate my leg just to see them perform, you know? Overall, if you enjoy live videos, I guess you’ll most likely find comfort within this performance, but don’t expect anything completely mesmerizing.

“Hell Yeah” is a risky package: two-live CDs topped off with a massive DVD. However, Gamma Ray’s third contribution upon a blessed stage is mostly fantastic, albeit some disappointments, but that’s how things work. I can verify with this fantastic crowd of metalheads that the goods are delivered through fantastic audio, wonderful songs, dazzling performances, and a constant barrage of energy that refuses to die; the true essence of a great live recording, all in one package. Overall, “Hell Yeah” will make Gamma Ray fans cheer with glee, and that’s a promise this die-hard fan can make to all you perverts that want Kai Hansen in the sack.

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