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Hansen & Friends - XXX - Three Decades In Metal

Published September 20 2016

=Staff's pick

Born Free*
Enemies Of Fun
Contract Song
Making Headlines
Stranger In Time*
Fire And Ice
Left Behind
All Or Nothing
Burning Bridges
Follow The Sun*

Genre Heavy/Power Metal
Kai Hansen
Tracks 10
Kai Hansen
Running time 55 Min.
Eike Freese
Label earMusic
Alexander Dietz
Release September 16, 2016
Daniel Wilding
Country Germany
Producer Kai Hansen/Eike Freese
Similar artists ---

Additional guest appearances by: Corvin Bahn, Frank Beck, Clementine Delauney, Roland Grapow, Tim Hansen, Michael Kiske, Hansi Kürsch, Steve McTaggart, Tobias Sammet, Ralf Scheepers, Piet Sielck, Richard Sjunnesson, Dee Snider and Michael Weikath.

The bonus disc contains all songs on the album as pre-productions/rough mixes with Hansen on vocals.

Kai Hansen, one of the inventors of power metal, is putting out his first real solo record, even though his main band Gamma Ray partly over the years might be considered kind of a solo thing as well. The German metaller has invited quite a few guests, both on the music part and behind the microphone, on this album where he looks back to where things all began in the first place.

The lyrical content is pretty typical to describe a younger musician with future plans, that in this case worked out quite well in the end. It seems like Hansen has tried to put part of the live feeling of Gamma Ray directly into this album and the sound picture is deliberately a little bit rough in order to get an impression of that the music kind of originates from the time that the lyrics depicture.

Musically, this stuff doesn't significantly differ from much of Hansen's work with Gamma Ray, meaning that the music for the most part end up in the borderlands of heavy and power metal. A few a little bit lighter songs are also present to pick up on the diversity. Besides the fact that some of the songs quite apparently have obvious influences of Hansen's early work as well, I had still expected more songs in a different style since this is a solo record where he would be free to take a step or two in a new direction.

I have listened to the bonus disc almost as many times as I have with the original disc and I think that basically he would have been fine without all those guest vocalists on the record, even if his voice is a little bit weaker than what it once was and even if it's of course a fun thing for him to do after having so many records out over time.

The guests' presence will possibly shed some extra light on the product, but to me personally they don't noticeably enhance the total experience more than occasionally and to a small extent. The only exception is maybe the album's final track, Follow The Sun, which to me, with it's generally older and speedy approach, partially early Blind Guardian inspired appearance and with Hansi Kürsch's vocal effort is the best song on the album.

This is by all means not a carbon copy of Hansen's past work, but who is the mind behind the music definitely can't be mistaken either. The album didn't give me the greatest expression initially, yet after a while I just have to accept that there is a reason to why this dude became successful to begin with, because the songs are, no matter how I twist and turn, quite attractive after all.








7 chalices of 10 - Tobbe

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