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Kai Hansen – XXX: Three Decades In Metal album review

Gamma Ray/Halloween frontman finally goes solo with new album

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.