It seems earMUSIC are on a roll with their 2015 Gamma Ray reissues as here we have yet another 'Anniversary Edition', this time a re-release of the audio from a show the band played in Tokyo in 1990. In fact, this is being made available on CD for the very first time as it's only ever received a 1990 VHS release and 2003 DVD reissue. I'm sure the hardcore Gamma Ray buffs out there will already own the show on either/both of these two formats, so I'm guessing they'll be wetting themselves at the prospect of getting their hands on this audio-only edition to complete their collections. Actually, I can't see who else this would be aimed at. I mean, the casual Gamma Ray listener and those who might be discovering the band afresh could be tempted to pick up the 25th anniversary reissue of the band's debut album, but I can't imagine a vintage live recording, featuring mainly tracks from said album (along with four songs from Kai Hansen's former band, Helloween), having any kind of far reaching appeal. Still, Gamma Ray's popularity across the globe will undoubtedly secure a healthy number of sales for this album.
Released across two discs (with the first falling just short of half an hour and the second hitting over fifty minutes), the audio has been remastered by Eike Freese and sounds acceptable enough. Not stunning, I must say, but pretty good considering its age, even if sonics are generally 'hollow' sounding at times, lacking resonant punch and incisive bite. Like I say, though, for a live recording that's twenty five years old, this is not too bad, and Freese would only have been able to elevate so much from the original, master recordings. Featuring the Gamma Ray MkII lineup, the exact same recording personnel as 'Sigh No More', 'Heading for the East' serves as a decent live companion piece to the band's sophomore album, which is being simultaneously reissued. Songs sound great in their live guises here, and the Helloween numbers are as good as the core Helloween lineup would've been playing the tracks themselves back in 1990. However, this does feel like one reissue too many... well, at least when considering the frequency with which they've started arriving. As I noted earlier, this is for the diehard Gamma Ray fan only.
HEADING FOR THE EAST (ANNIVERSARY EDITION)
Review by Mark Holmes
29:32 & 53:46
2nd Oct 2015
DISC ONE: 1) Intro; 2) Lust for Life; 3) Heaven Can Wait; 4) Space Eater; 5) Free Time; 6) Who Do You Think You Are?
DISC TWO: 1) The Silence; 2) Save Us; 3) I Want Out; 4) Ride the Sky/Hold Your Ground; 5) Money; 6) Heading for Tomorrow
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Featuring the Gamma Ray MkII lineup, the exact same recording personnel as 'Sigh No More', 'Heading for the East' serves as a decent live companion piece to the band's sophomore album..."