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Helloween Discography Review


Although Helloween is a ground-breaking and definitive heavy metal band, paving the road to what is today known as ‘power metal,’ they really are an underrated and slightly obscure band, especially to the American public. Hailing from Germany where they were over-shadowed by the iconic Scorpions and genre-heavies Accept, Helloween was able to come to the dance a bit late in the 80’s metal reign and still make their stamp on the style of music.

I am, by no means, a Helloween expert, but just trying to give the somewhat unheralded band a lil’ exposure.

What’s the answer to ‘So who’s better Judas Priest or Iron Maiden?’ Why Helloween of course! (Actually, it’s Priest, but I do think, overall, Helloween has better output than Maiden).

1985

Walls of Jericho is the ‘ween’s debut full-length album following a couple of E.P.s. Featuring eight songs of full-fury straight up heavy metal. Jericho is a good start for the band to shine in the eyes of metalheads. It’s pretty much a chugga-chugga-fest with tons of skillfully played guitar – in the leads and solos.

The first song starts out with a now typical 1 minute keyboard-y interlude then gets to the metal. The riff is very much like “Trapped Under Ice” by Metallica and also sports fast drum beating just like thrash. However, unlike thrash, it has more of a concentration on melody and soaring high pitch vocals – this is what power metal is more famously known for. The drum beat has very little variety and maintains a speedy, monotonous rhythm pattern.

Kai Hanson, the guitar player, handles the vocals and does a good job and also proves later to be quite apt at singing in his other band, Gamma Ray. He’s not super high-pitched but kinda tough sounding and can still hit higher notes to use for emphasis.

Helloween pretty much plays metal that’s very familiar to metalheads by this time just a bit sped up. Phantoms of Death reminds me of Two Minutes to Midnight by Maiden in its primary intro lead and, like “Ride the Sky,” “Heavy Metal” is almost the exact same lead as “Trapped Under Ice.”

It’s a tight little metal album , but small potatoes for what is to come.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

Halloween-y spooky song:
“Gorgar,” a big dumb cheesy song that is like watching a Godzilla movie to music and features the thematic Halloween them in the solo/bridge. It’s much better than their other monster song, “Reptile,” which is cheesy-dumb awful.

Rockin’ Highlight: “Heavy Metal (Is The Law)” One of the few good songs with the term in the title

1985Guitar riff-ville in Chugga-chugga City is the debut recording for the band and it’s pretty much just like their album, Walls of Jericho except a short five song E.P. Focus is on speed licks and steady, pounding rhythms led by drummer, Ingo Schwichtenberg, who after leaving the band in 1993, was found dead via suicide in 1995 after jumping in front of a train.This release brings back memories of Killers from Iron Maiden as it is the band’s speediest and tightest musical offering. As fast as the songs are, they force the band to stay in synch as sharply as possible or risk sounding sloppy. Kai Hansen is very apt to the test, however, he would give up the live singing duties as trying to play this very type of music and singing at the same time would prove difficult. You can certainly hear why he swung the vocal duties over to Michael Kiske.The intro to “Starlight” is quite interesting as it, like Keepers Part 3, has a man sampling through radio stations. This time with “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel playing on several stations to the dissatisfaction of the listener. This album also features a Helloween staple in their careers with the song “Victim of Fate” which would re-recorded with Kiske on vocals several years later.

The other songs are pretty typical of the era dealing with Maiden-esque subjects such as serial killers and soldiers going off to war. They do the machine gun fire thing introducing a war song called “Warrior,” pre-dating Metallica‘s usage of it by two years. It sounds eerily similar – going by Lar’s vast knowledge of Euro-metal, I wouldn’t doubt where he may have got the idea from that song.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Halloween-y Spooky Tune: Song “Murderer” is fairly slasher-esque

Rokkin’ Highlight: “Warrior”

1987Anything on this release with the label ‘guitar solo’ is gem-ish. Not everything’s brilliantly laid out as the solos: the ballad is a depressing drag. “A Little Time” gets plodding in the primary verses, but *BAM* wacky wammy bar solo and all is forgiven…This is what is called a seminal album as it has pretty much defined what is known as ‘power metal’ today. I don’t think it’s quite as speedy as other bands nowadays, but tunes like “I’m Alive” and “Twilight of the Gods” are mostly high tempo tunes. Certainly not as monotonously sped-up as their debut record. Speaking of “I’m Alive,” that intro riff is a monster.This also marks Michael Kiske’s first go around as vocalist of Helloween AND HE WAS ALL OF 18. Imagine being 18 and making an iconic album for your particular genre of music!! I suppose they chose him cuz Queensryche had some good buzz going in the underground metal scene by ’86 and they saw the writing on the wall, gettin a full-time, high-pitched screamer. They got a guy to match the pitch of Geoff Tate, but with a German accent that makes him a little unique. Not as good as Tate, but who is? Getting this Kiske fellow was a good plan as they switched gears from a songwriting stand-point for this album from Jericho. Focusing more on building the songs around the vocals rather than riffing it out chugga-chugga style and singing over the guit leads.

As for the rest of the album: “Future World?” Classic and genre-defining. The 13 minute “Halloween?” It better be good if it resembles your band’s name. Just like Queensryche‘s “Queen Of the Ryche” is one of their best early tunes, “Halloween” as an epic, doesn’t disappoint, especially in the guitar solo department. I don’t even know how they got the screeches and squeals out of their stratocasters like they did. Really enjoyed Kiske’s voice on the epic as well as over-coming some bits of cheese in the lyrics department.

Overall rating: 9.5/10

Halloween-y spooky song: Believe it or not, it’s not “Halloween,” but the epilogue after it called “Follow the Sign”; just some creepy guitar solo’ing and whispy vocals.

Rockin’ Highlight: I’m Alive, Future World – I can’t decide, they all smoke in their own way.

1988Here it is the band’s most well-known album. When I was 17 I saw these tapes in the record store and was tempted many times to grab it – later kicking myself for not getting into this band earlier. My reasoning? How can I get Keepers part II when I haven’t heard I yet (they didn’t have part I)?Here we go and… 1 minute keyboard intro!! YES!Most everything kills on this album. “Eagle Fly Free” is a genre defining song – sky high vocals, twin axe jam-session mid-section, and furious double bass drumming. There’s just a death-inducing breakdown solo on “You Always Walk Alone.” You really can’t talk up “I Want Out” anymore than what it is: one of the greatest heavy metal songs of all-time.

Yes, there’s other famous tunes like “Dr. Stein,” which is like the heavy metal “Monster Mash.” About a mad scientist who creates rock stars in his laboratory. And “March of Time?”
Just an amazing song all around – man, that intro riff, then the drums kicking in after one go round with it – brain-busting stuff…

Like Keepers Part I, Part II has a 14 minute song, this time it is not so hectic and guitar blaze-oriented. The title track has quite a bit of acoustic/classical leanings and is basically about storytelling – follow along on your lyrics sheet at home. Well, to me, this song is the Tales From the Topographic Ocean of metal. I kinda like it, but it’s more about following the orchestration and the song’s lyrics – I really don’t find it very memorable or interesting melodically. The main chorus is just kinda meh. Couple of good solos though.

There’s bonus tracks released in later editions and two of those tracks are special: “Save Us” and “Savage.” Both are pulse-pounding rockers with an emphasis on galloping leads and double bass drumming. Kiske’s vocals just soar on the choruses as well. Definitely pick up the editions with the bonus songs…

Well, this is the band’s biggest album and with success comes monetary issues. The band got tied up in litigation with their record company about financial things and wouldn’t release an album for four years afterward. Quite sad they couldn’t capitalize on their momentum. If they knew grunge was coming they would have hustled another 2-3 albums out before 1992.

Overall Rating: 9/10 (title track is a bit of a drag and “Rise and Fall” is just annoying…) or it be 10.

Halloween-y Spooky Tune: Gotta go with “Dr. Stein” of course

Rokkin’ Highlight: Alright, if you’re reading this you probably have heard “I Want Out,” but bang your head to this instead: “Savage”

1991After an almost four year hiatus, the band comes back with an album called Pink Bubbles Go Ape. Pretty much about as metal as it gets . . .Despite having one of the stupidest titles in the history of music, the disc isn’t that bad. It’s still speedy and still full of licks. RIght off the bat they kick your teeth in with a pulsating riff on “Kids of the Century” in which Michael Kiske drones you to death with the chorus. Still a good guitar/drum combo piece. Next is a street dirty head-banger called “Back On the Streets,” a thoroughly tough as nails metal tune. Definite highlight there.Then there’s the oddball songs like the 45 second title track: ugh, it is about as undiscerable lyrically as it is unfunny. The band shows an odd influence on “Number One,” which recalls Stryper‘s “Sing-along Song” in the form and style of the keyboard’s sampling. It’s not even close to being as good though. Then there’s the hi-lario “Heavy Metal Hamsters” . . . oh, the laughs to be had in the studio (I can only imagine – ‘can you believe we’re recording this song?’ ‘No, man. It’s zany as well as nutty’).

After sifting through some drudgery you get smacked in the face by some hefty licks in “Someone’s Crying,” which just thoroughly rocks start to finish. Other than that you kinda have to pick your poison and a solo hear or a riff there catches your attention “The Chance” is a pretty good tune especially in the harmony guitar lead. And the ballad at the end stinks and is quite unremarkable.

This offering from the band isn’t quite as bad as I was expecting considering the title and artwork. However, I think it’s a tad tame in the production department. The guitar tone isn’t all that heavy and the drums are not nearly as pounding as on the Keeper’s classics. The most noticeable is that Kiske’s voice is not as forceful and high-reaching as before. He seems to think he’s becoming a less metal front man and more of a singer to take seriously. He reaches some climatic points here and there like on the post-solo scream on “The Chance,” but the metal seems to less of a focus to him. Oh, and the keys are just terribly outdated on this thing – they set keyboard technology back 10 years on this release.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10 (Much better than Chameleon)

Halloween-y Spooky Tune: Got nothing

Rokkin’ Highlight: “Someone’s Crying”

1993People who yearn for the Michael Kiske days of the band should listen to this album before telling the Genie they’re wish. Aside from 2 songs, it is bonafide horse-hockey. Named Chameleon appropriately for a reason as the songs are all over the place stylistically, which may not be a awful thing except they’re bland, boring songs. It plays out more like a heavy metal singers solo album to show his sensitive side. That heavy metal singer that really wasn’t into metal in the first place ala Geoff Tate. Not sure who wrote the tunes, but I’m betting Kiske had a heavy hand in it.There’s one actual decent power metal tune called “First Time” and that’s about all the bragging that the album offers. There’s a pop song called “When the Sinner” that is 2 1/2 minutes of goodness then it changes styles in the middle of the song to include a horn section and killed it. Virtually everything else on the record is a crappy, uneventful ballad. I cannot describe the awfulness of “Windmill.”I will describe “Revolution Now,” which is a prog rock, grunge tune. Yes, it is an eight minute plus, epic grunge piece. Has a riff straight out of “Evenflow” with megaphone vocals, what the hey? It’s 1993 – everyone is doing grunge. Why can’t Helloween?

There’s also an awful Pink Floyd-ian song called “Music” of all things that will rock the baby to sleep, complete with Gilmour-like solo’ing.

Alright, the swing tune called “Crazy Cat” is kinda swinging that combines some metal leads with jazzy band parts, but that’s where I draw the line.

Rating: 2.5/10

Halloween-y spooky song: The borderline terrible “Music”

Rokkin’ with Dokken song: “Crazy Cat”

1994Hey! You there. Yeah, Mr. 1-minute keyboard intro song. It is your turn to go on. This is Helloween and you’re up first, now get crackin’…After the 1 minute intro, we get a’ rokkin’ and a rokkin’ we go, because Uli Kusch is the new drummer and he is the destroyer of ye old kit. Man he is one of the most active drummers I’ve heard since Moon (no, no one can touch Keith, but you get the picture). So “Sole Survivor” kicks in the drumming department and it does a good job of showcasing the vocals of new guy in the band, Andi Deris. Deris kicked in 5 songs for this disc – pretty high output for the new guy.Yeah, this offering is definitely more metal than the previous two with Kiske, but it’s not pigeon-hole heavy metal. Can’t put my finger on the sonics for this album, but the approach is somewhat more on songwriting and less on showcasing guitar prowess. I guess they want you to pay attention to lyrics or something. They still get in their licks like the harmony bridge licks on “Where the Rain Grows.” Nice scream to finish up that song as well.

Couple of ballads here and they’re pretty good, but nothing I’m gonna play again anytime soon. I’ll stick to the rockers on this one… Like “Take Me Home,” which must be Helloween‘s ode to “Hot For Teacher.”

Overall Rating: 8/10

Halloween-y Spooky Tune: intro to “Still We Go”

Rokkin’ Highlight: “Mr. Ego”: a song about, of all things, Michael Kiske – HAHAHAH, usually bands try to be diplomatic about past members, but they go out of their way to throw him under the subway-train on the next album he isn’t singing on.

1996The Time of the Oath is the second Helloween album to feature Andi Deris from Pink Cream ’69 on vocals. Deris proved to be a good songwriter in that band and it’s no different coming over to Helloween. His approach is more mid-range than his predecessor, but he can show a lot of range at peak moments during a tune. He has a little bit of a nasty rasp that adds to the texture of the music as well.The songs are all pretty good on this release, however the production is kinda putrid (exaggeration). It’s not even as good as there debut album. There’s just too much air under the drums and it spaces out the sound between all the instruments. Just not a whole lot of cohesion being felt on their attack of power-fueled heavy metal. Still, a listenable release just not as pump-fist worthy.Sounds like they planned out the album real well – it starts out with a burner called “We Burn” has a nice ballad mid-way through (Forever And One) and ends with the epic title track. There’s some nice neo-classical playing like on Wake Up the Mountain and nice high-harmony leads like “Steel Tormentor.” Everything is solid songwriting – good choruses and great pre-choruses throughout. Love the solo bridge on “A Million to One” – very catchy prog.

Overall rating: 7/10 (may be low, but I’m comparing the band to its other releases)

Halloween-y spooky song: The Time of the Oath has a haunting pre-chorus and spooky intro.

Rockin’ Highlight: Kings Will Be Kings

1998…AND… 1 minute keyboard intro! Woo hoo – let’s hear it for consistency…

Better Than Raw
is one of the heaviest albums from the band with some clean production, but not as sleek as GwtD to the point of losing a little credibility. It’s also full of excellent songs as vocalist Andi Deris pretty much wrote everything on here.”Falling Higher,” “Hey Lord,” “I Can” and “A Handful of Pain” all sport the same thing: great songs with highly texturized harmony guitar leads (not the usual Iron Maiden-isms familiar to the genre). They also have some great pre-chorus’s from Deris leading to some powerful moments vocally.This album also features probably the most prominent drumming in the band’s history as kit-hammerer, Uli Kusch, pulls off some tricky rhythm methods. This goes far beyond the usual monotonous sped-up drumming by power metal bands. This is most noticeable on the last tune, “Midnight Sun.”

As Helloween‘s rawest offering it puts out the straight up rockin’ duds on “Back on the Ground,” “Push,” and “Revelation.” The latter having some mind-flaying single string speedy lead riffs. I could go into every song on the album as each of them stands out in one way or another – this is just the band hitting on all pistons: “Hey Lord” is just a gorgeously orchestrated song all over.

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Halloween-y Spooky Tune: Even though it has a witch on the cover, it ain’t that Halloween-ish. “Back on the Ground” has a Gregorian chant-like woh-oh-woh section though.

Rokkin’ Highlight: “A Handful of Pain”

1999Really don’t care about an entire album full of cover tunes from a band that could be putting out new music. I’ll listen to a cover once or twice then I’m done with – I already know the song. Here that’s pretty much the case with Metal Juke Box even though they take classic rock tunes and turn them into a version really unheard before. The band doesn’t take the songs and crank them to 11 though – it’s more like 9 1/2. It is really not as heavy as most Helloween’s albums. There are some decent covers by the band. “She’s a Man, He’s a Woman” is much heavier than the original, since the band pulls out the pulsating double bass and speedy lead breaks on it. “Space Oddity” sounds like “Space Oddity” without Bowie – meh. “White Room” is outstanding and I’d rather listen to the cover than the original. And their version of Faith No More‘s “Out of Nowhere is just majestic and it has keyboards that match the purity of the first version.There’s a new version of “Locomotive Breath” that I will be listening to instead of the original for now on in the cd. It is really happening and I can now decipher the words more clearly thanks to Deris. It’s rockin’, but not absolutely cranked out – they took a bit of metal out of the tones, but they’re sharp and organic sounding like classic rock would sound today with modern technology.Overall Rating: 7/10

Halloween-y Spooky Tune: “Space Oddity” is always kinda haunting

Rokkin’ Highlight:
“Hocus Pocus”

2000Long after the hey-day of straight up metal had past, Helloween releases one of their most powerful albums sonically, lyrically, and melodically. Just look at that cover, it perfectly symbolized what you’re going to find within: well-crafted, dense songs that are still heavy and dealing with dark subject matters.1 minute keyboard-y intro. Nuff said.Highlights include “Mr. Torture,” “The Departed,” “I Live For Your Pain,” “We Damn the Night,” and a really catchy ballad with piano sections, “If I Could Fly.” “Mr. Torture” is a great e-string chug-a-long song with an extremely catchy chorus – makes for a grand opener. I love the atmosphere on “The Departed” and the harmony leads. “I Live For Your Pain” may be the sequel to “A Handful of Pain” and it’s just as rokkin’ and air guitar worthy… “We Damn the Night” is the song that stands out the most upon first listen, which never gets old either. One of the finest lead riffs of the band’s career, up there with “I Want Out.”

Love the first 4 minutes of the title track and the whispered, spooky pre-chorus, but the song feels like two songs combined and I’m not all that much digging the other half of it. Theres two just alright middle-of-the-road power metal tunes and that’s about the only “weaknesses” of the album. Every metalhead should give The Dark Ride several spins – it should catch on eventually, unless you just don’t like ‘normal’ heavy metal.

Overall Rating : 9.5/10

Halloween-y Spooky Tune: “Mirror, Mirror” – the chorus reminds me of the witch transformation scene in Snow White

Rokkin’ Highlight: My favorite Helloween song: “We Damn the Night”

2004Rabbit Don’t Come Easy. Well? Whatever. Don’t know what they were trying to accomplish with this album, but the music inside sounds nothing like its cover or title. This is straight up Helloween power metal. Not the heaviest or most musical, but a nice summation of their career lies within. “Hell Was Made For Heaven” could be mistaken for something off of The Dark Ride. “Liar” is so straight chugga-like it could have been on their debut full-length, Jericho. “Sun 4 the World” would have made the Better Than Raw cut. “Listen to the fly” is a Keeper’s 1 type piece. “Open your Life” is positive song that looks like it was from the Keeper’s II era. “The Tune” is obscure and spaced-out enough for the Pink Bubble’s Go Ape album. “Nothing to Say” is a blues prog rock song with reggae pre-choruses and something like that could only come off Chameleon. However, here it is actually a smokin,’ well-produced song.This is the post-Uli Kusch era, but the new drummer keeps it fast and clean. Not a lot of fills or change-ups like Uli, however, it’s good for the direction that the album seems to want to take.Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Rokkin’ Highlight: “Just a Little Sign”


Keeper of the Seven Keys Part III: The Legacy (Disc 1)2005Keeper part 3 (or The Legacy) is the band’s progg-iest release and it ‘shows’ that right off the bat with a very patience-demanding 14 minute introductory song. It took awhile, but I really like the song – it has some gorgeous acoustic playing at the beginning and cool verses with typical metal riffage to carry you along the song’s story journey. Then comes some a bit of orchestration inter-mixed with thematic harmony guitars before dropping down major solo’ing. Compelling tune! (once you get to know it…).Alright, we know that the band is really ambitious with this album, because it is, you know, the sequel to their most iconic two albums. They went a tad over-board though and needed to trim the fat so to speak. Well, they really needed a song-editor. However, coming up with a quality piece to fill out the trilogy of your most respected works ain’t easy. Just ask Queensryche… Making a sequel to Operation: Mindcrime was, mmm, probably a mistake… I believe Helloween pulled off a much more successful attempt however.After the excellent “King For a Thousand Years” comes two songs who’s running time adds up to about the same as that first 14 minute song. And they aren’t nearly as good combined… Makes for a dull experience exhausting the listener, unless you’re following along the lyric sheet, making sense of the story (I didn’t)…

The album fills out nicely after that though with some quick hitters like “Pleasure Drone” and “Silent Rain” both sporting some exceptional fretboard work.

Overall Rating: 8.35/10

Halloween-y Spooky Tune: Eerie interlude after solos and climax on “Silent Rain”

Rokkin’ Highlight: “Pleasure Drone”

Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy (Disc 2)2005Did the third part of the Keeper Trilogy need to have a double cd release? No, but it’s still pretty solid music. It starts out with an epic, “Occasion Avenue,” which is bloated and unnecessary that has a guy sampling radio stations that are playing all old Helloween tunes. He promptly dismisses all those tunes with a tongue-in-cheek slap to the face of the band. Not a horrible song, but kinda exhausting since there’s so much music on the second CD and several epics during the first part. Cut the song down to five mins at the least. It should be noted, however, that Helloween‘s one of the few metal bands that features its bass player, Markus Grosskopf, prominently and this song proves that. It just needs to be severely shortened.Following the epic is a ballad, “Light the Universe”, that is one of the bands best attempts at making a subdued song featuring a very powerful chorus and a female vocalist as well. There’s really some good tunes here if you’re willing to dig through the excess Like “Do You Know What You’re Fighting For” and “Get It Up.” Two decent mid-tempo rockers. Nothing grandtacular other than the ballad however. The disc ends with “My Life For One More Day” an average rocker tune that, once again, goes on for too long.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Halloween-y Spooky song: Nothing really but “Come Alive” does talk about ‘wearing a mask and scream on Halloween.’

Rockin’ Highlight: “Do You Know What You’re Fighting For”

2007GwtD begins like almost all Helloween albums; with a 1-minute keyboard-y intro with some spoken word and it’s kinda a creepy start. Quickly the album goes into a full-boar metal assault with “Kill It,” immediately dismissing all the epic double album problems behind.One is grabbed by one thing right away per listening: this is a stellar production of an album. Everything is focused into one cohesive force and rather pristine-sounding, especially the vocals. They may have a tad overdone it as, sometimes, the chorus’s reminisce of one Mutt Lange’s job with latter-day Def Leppard, but, fear not, my mullet-wearing friend, it still reeks of metal.There is gold here, but, yes, there is also bronze (and a little silver). There’s a coupla generically written songs and they survive due to the over-all sound. The golden tunes are the pop-ish “As Long as I Fall” and the rapid headbanging induced “Paint A New World.” Silver medals go to “I.M.E.” and it’s oh so clever lead high-harmony playing: it’s INFECTIOUS! It ends on three bronzes though and “Final Fortune” or “Fallen to Pieces” aren’t anything special either (and a tad wimpy – IMO).

Overall Rating: 8/10

Halloween-y Spooky Tune: The intro – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as7AUIev-RY

Rokkin’ Highlight:
“Paint A New World” This is chugga power metal leads at its finest with an EPIC chorus! (If you don’t like this song, you don’t like heavy metal)

7 SinnersThis band is in its 25th year of existence and they are playing a young man’s brand of music: metal. Yet they continue to defy Father Time and put out one of their heaviest albums in their run. Can’t say enough about the production – it’s a very well-rounded recording. Deris’ vocals are nasty when they need to be, clean and soaring just at the right moments. All the instruments are mixed cohesively well together. All this combining with the purpose of making everything very metal. They seem to be aiming for all audiences of metal here and succeed on all fronts. Keeping things modern with technology and the overall sound, while still not losing the power metal audience. The guitars are much broader shrill-ish and not as laser-straight fused as Gambling. I would prefer the latter but it works within the framework and the album still rocks. Drum sound and playing is very Scott Travis-esque – pulsating double bass city yet still creative and not monotonous. The bass drums are a wee-bit drum-trigger-y, which was more noticable on early samples. But it still just sounds great and rockin’, mixin’ well with the over-all sound.The songs are a bit more streamlined than usual Helloween records after considering the amount of epics they’ve done this decade. They really made a regular metal record here with a couple of divergences. There is one epic at the end (although a mere 7 minutes). There’s a cool half-ballad called “The Smile of the Sun” and a sequel to “Perfect Gentleman.” The rest is mostly metal for the arenas which will bang many a’ head. The best of these bangers are “Long Live the King,” “You Stupid Mankind,” and “Where Do the Sinners Go.” All sporting awes lead breaks of one variety or another.I think once again, Helloween proves that they are the kings of power metal, showing much more soul and heart than their fantasy-based brethren.Plus, what the?, there’s a flute solo on “Raise the Noise! Not sure if they got Ian Anderson in the sound-stage to record it or not, but it sounds real good and actually fits a song of that namesake somehow.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Halloween-y Spooky Tune: “You Stupid Mankind”

Rokkin’ highlight: “Long Live the King”

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