Total Time: 01:05:04
Label: Nuclear Blast
This album carries a special weight, perhaps more than it should actually. The bar is very high and the expectations of a large part of the people who follow HELLOWEEN are at a similar level. However, the mere fact of the “reunion” of most of the very first members of the band together with its existing form is something very important in itself. Everything seemed well on its way a few years ago, with the extensive “Pumpkins United” tour, with 70 concerts taking place for more than a whole year, all over the world. Andi Deris, Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen, Michael Weikath, Markus Grosskopf, Sascha Gerstner and Dani Löble joined forces and after the unprecedented success of all their concerts, they decided to keep alive the big dream of many of their fans.
The whole metal community is therefore waiting with impatience and joy for the 16th studio release of the German leaders of Power Metal and one of the most important bands in metal world.
Let’s go to review “Helloween” in detail, making an attempt, apart from its overall evaluation, to rate all its tracks, one by one.
- The album starts with the excellent “Out For The Glory” and after a typical HELLOWEEN intro, Michael Kiske takes the baton with a touching (though not fully representative of his top abilities) performance in the track’s verse and chorus. A beautiful rhythmic piece, absolutely emotional, with a great extended solo, just what you need for an opening and a foretaste of what comes next. (8/10)
- “Fear Of The Fallen” is a track that we heard a few weeks ago, as it was the second promotional song that HELLOWEEN chose before the release of the album. A good track as well, with interesting alternations of melodic parts and fast speed. Beyond that, it doesn’t claim much of originality, I would rather write that its basic riff and its chorus we have heard them varied in several phases of the Germans’ discography. Nevertheless, it sounds pleasant and is quite convincing. (7/10)
- The third track is “Best Time“, composed by Sascha Gerstner, which I personally liked from the very first listen. It’s a simple, mid tempo, commercial track, which clearly puts you in a positive mood. Actually it is one of the nice and “relaxing” moments of the album. The initial melodic riff refers to GAMMA RAY and “Rich And Famous”. (8/10)
- “Mass Pollution” is a “dirty rock” composition by Deris and Grosskopf. Stacked, dynamic, concert-a-like, with heavy metal background. It’s a good moment too, not among the top ones, as it doesn’t give you that extra something, but it’s not a filler either. (6/10)
- Continuing with “Angels“, HELLOWEEN try to keep our interest undiminished, because we are dealing with a basically slow track, quite different from the rest of the album. Michael Kiske’s performance, simply top notch. Musically the track has a “cinematic” atmosphere that reminded me a bit of the band’s early albums. (7/10)
- We’re about halfway through and “Rise Without Chains” is the first obvious weak moment of the album. Uninspired, with weak chorus, few scales below the album average. (5/10)
- “Indestructible” is a masterpiece. It is the definition of dynamic Heavy/Power Metal, with such tracks HELLOWEEN have been introduced to us many times and that’s why we love them. Great bridge, sing along chorus with great emotion, with power and weight, not only in regards to music, but also lyrically. Excellent. (9/10)
- Track eight, “Robot King“, flawless. Weikath composition, with the guitars in the foreground, great alternations between Deris and Kiske, proper scaling with a great bridge and …chorus – attack. Everything works perfectly here. It is one of the most complete and convincing tracks of the album. (9/10)
- “Cyanide” is a groovy, convincing, HELLOWEEN “easy going” track, of those we know of their most recent era. Neither outstanding or weak, it loses a little bit in the chorus. It doesn’t break the flow, nor does it add points. (7/10)
- Just before the closing of “Helloween“, we listen to one of the most mediocre moments of the album. “Down In The Dumps” has elements that make it interesting, for example it has a great verse, nostalgic guitar theme and solo, but it also lags in its chorus. That is, where one expects to listen to something exceptional. It’s also 6 minutes long, so it lags even more in the whole because the interest is lost from a certain point onwards. (6/10)
- “Orbit/Skyfall“: Hansen is a God! The old, magical HELLOWEEN of the first period are here. An epic song that only this band can write, a cheeky look at “Halloween” and “Keeper Of The Seven Keys”, an amazing composition where everything is magical. By far the top moment of the Germans for many years, which closes in the most ideal way a remarkable release. (10/10)
In conclusion, HELLOWEEN’s new album is decent, it has excellent moments, it reminds in some parts of the band’s glorious past, but it didn’t come to redefine musical paths, nor to stay in our memories as the Germans’ supreme creative moment. Any comparison with the first three monumental albums of HELLOWEEN is simply useless.
I would also dare to write that the album is one level below the four “Master Of The Rings”, “Time Of The Oath”, “Better Than Raw”, “The Dark Ride”, but that doesn’t mean in any way that it is a weak album. HELLOWEEN have given huge musical samples in the Deris period as well and I have to look at things overall and comparatively.
However, considering the complexity of the project, the dynamics that have developed in the band in the last few years and a natural attrition from 2005 onwards, this work is very interesting. It has a very good flow, a wide musical range and a corresponding diversity of compositions, emotional weight, flawless execution and . . maybe it’s just the beginning!
Editor: Kostas Kafritsas
Related Link: Helloween – Official page