Gamma Ray
Insanity and Genius


2.5
average

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
January 15th, 2007 | 15 replies | 9,886 views


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist


It was bound to happen. It happens to pretty much every band that. Iron Maiden had No Prayer for the Dying. Helloween had pretty much every album from Pink Bubbles Go Ape to Better than Raw, Megadeth had The World Needs a Hero, and Primal Fear had Devil's Ground. In 1993 it happened to Gamma Ray. The band in question recorded a sub-par album. For Gamma Ray, this was their third full length offering, Insanity & Genius, an album which turned out to be the final album that the band recorded with Ralf Scheepers on vocals. It's quite strange how the band came up with this release, as it's sandwiched in between the heavily underrated Sigh No More and one of metal's finest albums (certainly Gamma Ray's best) Land of the Free, but somehow, it still managed to happen. Stranger yet is that the album started promisingly enough, only to descend into the utter mediocrity that few associate with the influential power metal band.

Of all Gamma Ray's albums, their first three have always had that Helloween feel to them. As band leader Kai Hansen had written a fair bit for Helloween, this shouldn't quite come off as a surprise. But of each of Gamma Ray's first three albums the Helloween influence is most noticeable here, on Insanity and Genius. And of the Insanity and Genius album, the opening track, Tribute to the Past, contains the most noticeable Helloween influence. But is this element really all that bad? Not really, seeing as Helloween had fallen into the abyss after Hansen left and the Keeper albums are metal classics. Yet then again it really isn't all that great either. A reason why Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 1 doesn't get a 5 from me was because of the relative lack of heaviness and intensity that the album displayed (yeah okay it was 1987, but still, it would have been a much more enjoyable listen). Insanity and Genius has the same problem, only being surrounded by albums with songs like Dream Healer and Rebellion in Dreamland, it doesn't have the same excuse. My personal favourite track, Last Before the Storm breaks away from this slightly passive Helloween-esque sound, foreshadowing an aggressive, more powerful direction that Kai and co explore on Land of the Free. With that all said, the first four or five songs are still excellent outings, Helloween influenced or not. Ralf Scheepers Halford/Kiske impression, as well as the strong guitar interplay between Kai Hansen and Dirk Schlachter does not waste anytime taking control of the album. Strange (it gets even stranger if you watch the music video…), yet humorous fifth track is one of the songs where Ralf displays his impressive falsetto through the vocally inclined verses and distinct, memorable chorus.

But then it stops. The anthematic choruses, tasteful soloing, the fun harmonies, the enjoyable riffs, and superb shouts and wails are no where to be found after the last seconds of Gamma Ray come to a close. Slower songs such as The Cave Principle and 18 Years meander on for far, far too long and do not make a very good effort at maintaining the electricity that the first half of the album created. The album's title track and The Mad House have a couple good riffs, but are inexplicably pedestrian and uninteresting as well. I'm not sure what has going through the minds of the band when they recorded Insanity and Genius, as it just isn't consistent at all. It isn't like Gamma Ray to record a half baked album home to snooze fests such as the British Steel (particularly the song United) influenced Brothers or Heal Me (how this got voted onto Blast From the Past beats me). The incredibly long, dull second half of the album completely negates any effectiveness created by the likes of Last Before the Storm or No Return. Which is a shame seeing as they were such powerful tracks.

If there was ever a Gamma Ray album that did not show the band producing at its top level it would be Insanity and Genius. The album starts off decently with a few classic Gamma Ray offerings but by the end of the LP you'll be wondering why you even started listening to it in the first place. The record has more than a few bad apples which plod along enough to spoil the nearly hour long offering, and unfortunately does not merit more than a few listens. I don't think this is too easy to find nowadays, but unless you want to complete your CD collection, you would not recommend looking into Insanity and Genius outside a few of the recommended tracks. Definitely Gamma Ray at their worst.

Recommended Tracks:
Last Before the Storm
Tribute to the Past
Gamma Ray
No Return



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user ratings (107)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
January 15th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Finished Gamma Ray's discography.

Intransit
January 15th 2007



2797 Comments


Good work, although I find Gamma Ray to be wholly boring and contrived power metal

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 15th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Each to their own I guess.

metallicaman8
January 15th 2007



4677 Comments


pos'd for goodness.

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 15th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

thank'd for ...pos'dness?

You should check out No World Order or Majestic. It's like Iron Maiden/good Judas Priest meets power metal.

metallicaman8
January 15th 2007



4677 Comments


Do they have like a myspace, or purevolume it would be on? 'Cause I can't download

Jom
Staff Reviewer
January 15th 2007



2634 Comments


Cool review, as expected.
These guys sound pretty rad and the album art's pretty nifty.

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 15th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Do they have like a myspace, or purevolume it would be on? 'Cause I can't download
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=39214990
Actually they happen to.
These guys sound pretty rad and the album art's pretty nifty.
They're one of power metal's best, imo. They've got a new album coming out in the fall, as well. Can't wait to hear it.This Message Edited On 01.15.07

JumpTheF**kUp
January 15th 2007



2710 Comments


Great review, I'd get into Gamma Ray if any CD shops here stocked them. I went into the metal section of the local shop and the only album they had more than one of's was Trivium.

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 15th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Meh, the only Gamma Ray albums I've ever seen at the store were Majestic and Blast the Past (only once, and I bought it immediately). You'll have to order it through Amazon or something.

Hatshepsut
January 15th 2007



1997 Comments


Still haven't gotten around to Gamma Ray even though i have most of their discography. meh.

mikem1234
August 9th 2007



108 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Insanity & Genius has about 4 good songs, and about 9 other unmemorable and/or shitty experiments. It's nice to see bands playing in this style at least trying to push the boundaries, but they should also try to make the album a bit more enjoyable (ie. add some good hooks once in a while!). Last Before the Storm rules though.

Willie
Moderator
January 15th 2008



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like the first 7 tracks and track 9... I didn't know this was their most Helloween-like album, but now it makes sense why I like it (I've never heard the two before this one... and don't like the ones after it).
Good review too...

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

TheNotrap
July 19th 2011



7971 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Average is definitely the word that suites Insanity and Genius.

RunOfTheMill
November 27th 2011



1424 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

The bonus tracks on the 2002 remaster are awesome, though.



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