Rays of Excellence

Day One is drawing to a close, and for two and a half thousand people, the best is yet to come. So far, Bloodstock has shown that Alexi Laiho really can play the guitar, Irish Folk Metal does work live, and Illuminatus are fated to be colossal in the next few years. But Bloodstock still has one more lesson to teach its flock. Gamma Ray rule.

Charging on stage from the word go, Gamma Ray take a hot and tired crowd and lead them on a roller coaster ride of heavy metal. I saw plenty of people who, after being left dazed by Threshold and Sinergy, found their second wind when Gamma Ray frontman Kai Hansenís voice started to reverberate around the Assembly Room hall.

Not that Gamma Ray had much to worry about. Theyíve been regarded as legends of metal for years, with their Power Plant and No World Order albums being highly regarded as some of the best metal albums of the last five years.

So, with no incentive to win over new fans, Gamma Ray should have felt that they could rest on their laurels somewhat during the show. Obviously they donít have the same mentality as I do! They played as if their lives depended on this show, making the crowd part of every song, and filling their set with solos and chants which nobody saw coming, but everyone wants to see again.

Gamma Ray also brought a feeling of professionalism to the stage. Nothing the crowd did fazed them at all, and they never lost time or made any glaring mistakes. The only problem with Gamma Ray is that they neglected their best song, Ride the Sky, deciding not to play it and even refusing to when the crowd made their voices heard. This really put a rather arrogant look on Gamma Ray, which they failed to shake off for the rest of the show. Still, metal bands are there to entertain, not to be polite.

Gamma Ray already has a colossal fan base both in the UK and abroad. But from the looks of things, that following is due to rapidly increase. After all, a lack of manners never stopped anyone, right? If you like your metal fast, heavy and well played, Gamma Ray are your men. If you like your metal to be played by people you could take home to meet your parents, time to look elsewhere.