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(9/10) There is definitely more than the 'H" in the beginning of 'Hamburg' and 'Hansen' that connects the two of them. The German guitarist is a figurehead of the Hanseatic metal scene and started a journey towards worldwide prominence more then thirty years ago. Gentry was the name of his first band but awareness rose with Helloween's debut "Walls of Jericho", an album that started a new era in German metal. After the Helloween period, successful bands like Gamma Ray and recently Unisonic followed, all making an impact on contemporary metal with an oldschool background.

So, what better than standing still for a moment and reflecting on all these years in metal. Kai Hansen did this and worked on an album that can be seen as a retrospective - a story told by new songs that ended up on "XXX - Three Decades in Metal". In a wider perspective this album and its songs tell the story of Hansen without being strictly autobiographic. However, lyrics like "Born in Hamburg in 1963" speaks for themselves.

The new album couldn't have been realized without a few guys supporting Hansen on this project, so he brought together some musicians in the Chameleon Studio in Hamburg. Alex Dietz from Heaven Shall Burn did the bass, Eike Fresse, who worked with Hansen already as engineer and producer, took the guitar duties and Carcass drummer Daniel Wilding completed the basic gang for recording this album. But it's not only these guys that contributed to the longplayer. Hansen invited several friends and guests to add mainly vocal parts to "XXX - Three Decades in Metal". Long time Gamma Ray singer Ralf Scheepers added vocals as well as Michael Kiske, Dee Snider and many more. The result is a unique portfolio of metal tracks that are all 100% Hansen, but all with a slightly different touch. The mentioned "Born Free" is a dirty metallic hardrocker, followed by a Judas Priest inspired "Contract Sun", with, of course, Ralf Scheeperes sharing the singing with Hansen.

But also modern metal sounds aren't a 'no go' for this album."Fire and Ice" starts with a Rammstein-like riff before it turns into a more traditional direction. "Left Behind" is next, a song that sounds, with the dominant bassline in the verse, almost like Smashing Pumpkins. It's impressive how the guitarist combines this alternative metal expression with a Hansen-typical chorus that is highly melodic. The cherry on this metal cake is the female vocals done by Clementine Delauney who is a perfect match with Hansen's way of singing. Alex Dietz' growls that are part of the tune too add even another style element to music that is a tasty musical cocktail for each metalhead.

"XXX - Three Decades in Metal" is an album that is full of metal. It's a great package to drift away in memories for the older ones of you and it's a well-done starters package for youngsters. Excellent work.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Born free
  2. Enemies of fun (feat. Ralf Scheepers & Piet Sielck)
  3. Contract song (feat. Dee Snider &Steven McT as The Manger)
  4. Making headlines (feat. Tobias Sammet)
  5. Stranger in time (feat. Michael Kiske, Frank Beck, Tobias Sammet & Roland Grapow)
  6. Fire and ice (feat.Clementine Delauney, Marcus Bischoff, Richard Sjunnesson & Michael Weikath))
  7. Left behind (feat. Alexander Dietz & Clementine Delauney)
  8. All or nothing (feat. Clementine Delauney)
  9. Burning bridges (feat.Eike Freese)
  10. Follow the sun (feat. Hansi Kuersch, Markus Bischoff & Tim Hansen)

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: September 16th, 2016

 

CD review HANSEN & FRIENDS "XXX - Three Decades in Metal"
Tag(s) : #Kai Hansen, #Hansen & Friends, #Heavy Metal, #Power Metal, #Speed Metal, #Hardrock, #CD Review, #News, #Alternative Metal

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