Hansen & Friends: XXX- Three Decades In Metal-2016.

Kai Michael Hansen (born 17 January 1963) is a German heavy metal guitarist and vocalist.

Hansen is the founder, lead guitarist, and vocalist of power metal band Gamma Ray. He is also one of the co-founders of German metal band Helloween, which he rejoined in 2016. He is a prominent figure in power metal and has sold millions of albums worldwide. He is regarded as “the godfather of power metal”, having founded two seminal bands in the genre. In 2011, he joined the band Unisonic featuring former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske. Hansen and Kiske reunited with Helloween in 2017 for a world tour with all current members, celebrating the 30-year anniversary of release of the albums Keeper of the Seven Keys Parts I and II.

Kai Hansen was born in Hamburg, West Germany in 1963. At the age of ten, Kai got interested in music and started playing wash-drums. His parents however, didn’t like the noise and bought him an acoustic guitar instead. He took a six-months course in classical guitar and following it, formed his first band with his classmates after he bought an electric guitar, a white Ibanez Les Paul.[1]

Hansen’s musical career started in 1978 in a band called Gentry, alongside Iron Savior‘s co-founder and producer Piet Sielck. In 1983, he and Michael Weikath founded Helloween, where he was guitarist and singer until Michael Kiske took over the microphone for the albums Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I and Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II. Hansen left the band due to the extensive touring in 1988–89 and went on to form his own power metal band Gamma Ray. Hansen also joined Iron Savior as guitarist in 1997, but quit after a few years to focus his efforts on Gamma Ray. He has now forged a very successful career with Gamma Ray, releasing several albums and playing sold-out tours across the globe.[2]

Hansen participated in a large number of other projects. He appeared as a guest vocalist on Blind Guardian‘s albums Follow the Blind and Tales from the Twilight World. Around the same time, he and fellow Gamma Ray bandmate Dirk Schlächter collaborated on Angra‘s first full-length album Angels Cry, both playing guitar solos in the song “Never Understand”. He also collaborated on Angra’s album Temple of Shadows released in 2004 doing vocals for the song “The Temple of Hate”.[3] With ANGRA He participated as a guest guitarist on Michael Kiske’s debut solo album Instant Clarity. Together with HammerFall he recorded a cover version of Helloween’s “I Want Out“.

Hansen played the role of Regrin the dwarf in Avantasia‘s Metal Opera albums by Tobias Sammet. Later he was featured in the album The Scarecrow playing guitar in the song “Shelter from the Rain”. He was also one of the guest musicians in Avantasia’s 2010 world tour, which have put him to play live together with fellow ex-bandmate Michael Kiske, after more than twenty years since he left Helloween. After this tour it was announced, via Michael Kiske’s official website, that Hansen would join his new band Unisonic, as they “instantly felt the magic of Helloween years again and had a lot of fun together on and off stage”.

In 2005, he toured with the young German power/Viking metal band Stormwarrior from his home town of Hamburg as lead singer, playing material from his classic Helloween debut album Walls of Jericho – the favorite album and greatest influence of Stormwarrior.[4] “Stormwarrior featuring Kai Hansen” returned in 2007 to play at the Magic Circle Festival in Bad Arolsen and at the Wacken Open Air Festival.[5]

In 2008, Hansen played with Stormwarrior at Sweden Rock Festival 2008.[6]

In 2011, Hansen joined the hard-rock band Unisonic, as second guitarist and reunited with old friend and ex-Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske, who formed the band in 2009. The band released its debut album, Unisonic in 2012 and embarked on its first world tour. Hansen stated in an interview that despite being a member of Unisonic, he will not have less focus on Gamma Ray, and that the next Gamma Ray album should arrive in 2013.[7] Unisonic’s second album, Light Of Dawn, was released in 2014 and a European and Japanese tour followed.[8]

In 2015, following the Best of the Best Party Tour, Hansen hired Frank Beck as their second vocalist for the Gamma Ray.[9]

In 2016, Hansen released his first solo album titled XXX – Three Decades in Metal. The album was released via earMUSIC on September 16 of the same year.[2]

In 2017 Kai Hansen played minitour – four shows in Slovakia and Czech republic with the band Ravenclaw, with special set for Ravenclaw 15-Years Anniversary – Ravenclaw feat. Kai Hansen.[10]

On November 14, 2016 was announced the Pumpkins United World Tour – a concert tour of the German power metal band Helloween. Former members Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen joined the current members for this tour for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Discography:

XXX – Three Decades in MetalFull-length2016
Thank You WackenLive album2017 
Alexander Dietz
Bass (2016-?)
See also: Heaven Shall Burn, Erode (Deu), Gruppe Planet, ex-Décembre Noir (live), ex-Neaera (live)
Daniel Wilding
Drums (2016-?)
See also: CarcassTrigger the Bloodshed, ex-Killing Mode, ex-Misery, ex-Aborted, ex-The Order of Apollyon, ex-The Soulless, ex-Heaven Shall Burn (live), ex-Savage Messiah (live)
Eike Freese
Guitars (2016-?)
See also: Dark Age
Kai Hansen
Vocals, Guitars (2016-?)
See also: Gamma RayHelloween, ex-Unisonic, ex-Iron Savior, ex-Avantasia (live), ex-Ancient Call, ex-Gentry, ex-Iron Fist, ex-Powerfool, ex-Second Hell

Songs
1.Born Free04:07  Show lyrics
2.Enemies of Fun07:57  Show lyrics
3.Contract Song05:33  Show lyrics
4.Making Headlines04:23  Show lyrics
5.Stranger in Time06:02  Show lyrics
6.Fire and Ice08:28  Show lyrics
7.Left Behind04:26  Show lyrics
8.All or Nothing05:12  Show lyrics
9.Burning Bridges03:42  Show lyrics
10.Follow the Sun04:32  Show lyrics
 54:22 

1 Comment

  1. kluseba, March 16th, 2019.

    Hansen & Friends is a one-off project by famous German power metal guitarist and singer Kai Hansen who underlines his thirty years in the music industry with ten new songs he has recorded with numerous past and present collaborators. Most of them are obviously related to the most popular bands Kai Hansen has been involved in as former Helloween singer Michael Kiske and former Gamma Ray singer Ralf Scheepers make their appearances. One can also hear more surprising collaborators such as Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider and Heaven Shall Burn vocalist Marcus Bischoff to only name two specific examples.

    Stylistically, this is overall rather a heavy metal record than a typical power metal effort. The different songs also have power metal, gothic metal and even melodic death metal influences depending on the numerous guest vocalists. While the record’s first half is more streamlined and homogeneous, the second half is mellower and more experimental.

    The lyrics mostly deal with Hansen’s personal life and talk about his childhood as in ”Born Free”, the influence of greedy managers in ”Contract Song” and the obsession with fame in ”Making Headlines”. These lyrics make this album Kai Hansen’s most personal release in his career and give interesting insights into his career but they seem a little bit forced and stereotypical at times.

    The shorter tracks are generally the better ones on an overall good average output. Straight heavy metal opener ”Born Free” starts the record with a bang thanks to dynamic heavy metal riffs, tight rhythm section and gritty vocals. ”Left Behind” is a surprisingly airy tune with slow pace and epic atmosphere close to alternative rock and gothic rock stylistics. ”All or Nothing” is a melancholy ballad with modest symphonic rock elements. ”Follow the Sun” ends the album with epic power metal stylistics without neglecting a healthy dose of speed and grit recalling Kai Hansen’s early years.

    The only longer track that is passable is mid-paced gothic metal track ”Fire and Ice” that recalls Helloween’s works about twenty years ago but goes even further with harmonious female backing vocals and sinister male growls. The slow middle section overstays its welcome quite a bit but the song compensates its length with coherent atmosphere and courageous song writing ideas. This is definitely one of the most unusual tracks ever written by Kai Hansen.

    Other songs are overlong and unfocused. The worst offender in that regard is ”Enemies of Fun” with its forced vocals and overtly repeated lyrics that sound as if Avantasia attempted to cover Iron Maiden’s ”The Angel and the Gambler”. The song is only eight minutes long but feels as if it were twice as long.

    In the end, Three Deacdes in Metal will please the numerous fans of Kai Hansen with familiar and new soundscapes. One has to admit that the guitarist and singer continues to experiment and explore in his career instead of repeating himself and delivering tired old tropes. One also has to admit that the material is quite hit and miss and Hansen’s vocals aren’t as versatile as they used to be. The final result is mostly entertaining but truly outstanding songs are missing on this release. If you like heavy and power metal, you can pick this record up for a fair price but it certainly isn’t a mandatory release.

    Like

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