Ex-Gamma Ray Bassist Gets One Last Kick in Gothic FateFriday, 3rd July 2015
Part of Kai Hansen’s original lineup in Gamma Ray, bassist Uwe Wessel was lucky enough to partake in one of the more exciting situations in power metal history. You see, come 1989/early 1990, Hansen was coming off of his split with Helloween, with only plans to start a solo project and nothing more. Yet the demos for the band’s Heading for Tomorrow album were simply too good to ignore, so the ever-sensible Hansen formed a full-scale band which included future Primal Fear vocalist Ralf Scheepers, and Wessel. And with his ex-bandmates in Helloween going through a bitter legal dispute with Noise Records, it was a pure stroke of good timing that Gamma Ray would help German power metal keep its pace during the early 90s.
The band quickly hit the ground running, amassing quality sales numbers and an active tour schedule to boot, including a trip to Japan which was documented in this video. Wessel would hang around in Gamma Ray for another album (1991’s Sigh No More), then depart, only to hook up with Hamburg power metal outfit Gothic Fate in 2004. He would go on to record one album with the band, 2005’s Illuminati, before the band would call it a day. Unfortunately, Wessel would fall ill in 2004, thus removing him from live activity altogether.
However, Illuminati is getting the reissue treatment from Skol Records, which according to Wessel, was repeatedly asking the band about re-releasing it. “I know Bart from my Myspace times, that’s a couple of years ago,” says Wessel via email. “I had posted a few songs on my profile at the time, and among them were some Gothic Fate songs, too. Then Bart contacted me and asked me about the band. I answered that the album was still waiting for its release. He then tried to put it through to a record company, but they reckoned it was too power metal for them. Later, when Bart had his own record company up and running, he asked us if we were still interested to release the album – which then followed relatively quick.”
Wessel says he’s relieved to have the album reissued on a proper label. (The band self-released Illuminati.) And even though Gothic Fate’s live activity was limited during that time, the fact the band and Illumanti are now getting their just due makes up for the lack of visibility the band received ten years ago.
Today, Wessel runs his own web radio station (Radio Paranoid) and still remains involved in the scene.
“I am very happy that this album now does see the light of day,” he says. “I thought it was such a pity throughout those years that it was just kind of stockpiled. In my opinion, it is far too good for that. I like to think back to those times as our interaction was really good indeed. By the way, we used to do our rehearsals right next to the studio where the album then was recorded. I still miss playing in bands very much, but there is nothing I can do about that anymore now.”