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Kai Hansen – XXX: Three Decades In Metal album review

Gamma Ray/Halloween frontman finally goes solo with new album

Kai Hansen & Friends album cover

As co-founding guitarist and sometime lead vocalist of Helloween and Gamma Ray and, more latterly, Unisonic, Hamburg native Hansen has earned the epithet of power metal’s godfather.

It’s somewhat surprising that XXX is his first solo project but he’s really pushed the boat out with a lavish, semi-autobiographical tale of a musician’s precarious path from bedroom days to fame and fortune. Associates and bandmates past and present, including Michael Weikath, Michael Kiske and Ralf Scheepers drop by to help him out, from the manager (played by Steve McTaggart, who in real life represents Dragonforce) promising: “You won’t need a lawyer, boys… not while you’ve got me!” to cameos from Dee Snider, Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian, Tobias Sammet and Kai’s son Tim on Follow The Sun. Cleverly conceived it’s also imbued with the humour that’s helped to render him such an endearing figure for these past decades.

Dave Ling
Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.