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Helloween - Helloween review



Reviewer:
7.9

399 users:
8.25
Band: Helloween
Album: Helloween
Release date: June 2021


Disc I
01. Out For The Glory
02. Fear Of The Fallen
03. Best Time
04. Mass Pollution
05. Angels
06. Rise Without Chains
07. Indestructible
08. Robot King
09. Cyanide
10. Down In The Dumps
11. Orbit
12. Skyfall
13. Golden Times [limited digibook/Japanese edition bonus]
14. Save My Hide [limited digibook/Japanese edition bonus]
15. Pumpkins United [limited Japanese edition bonus]
16. We Are Real [limited Japanese edition bonus]


No pressure Helloween, it's not like this will be the most anticipated power metal album released this decade or anything.

I've talked before about my scepticism over bands releasing late-career self-titled albums, but in the case of Helloween, I understand completely the rationale behind this decision. Featuring Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske alongside Andi Deris, Helloween sees the band's entire history of lead vocalists all represented together. This album is the first time fans will have heard Hansen and Kiske singing on a Helloween record in 35 and 28 years, respectively, and naturally there's a lot of excitement that comes with this, not only due to the simple fact that it's been so long since these musical spheres collided, but also because it raises the possibility of the band returning to the sound they had when those members were originally in the band, something that the presence of the iconic keeper of the seven keys on the beautiful album artwork only hints further at. Living up to all this expectation was going to be a Herculean task for Helloween, one that it doesn't fully accomplish, but is Helloween at least a successful return to the power metal behemoth for Hansen and Kiske?

Probably the first thing to address is whether Helloween does see the band edging closer to their 80s roots or continuing in the vein of their recent albums with Deris, and I would say that the answer is yes; to be honest, from a purely musical perspective (I can't even pretend to care about any overarching conceptual background there may be to Helloween's music), this sounds like it would have suited the title of The Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy more than the album that was actually named that. "Out For The Glory", right out of the gate, feels like a real throwback to the classic Keeper records, partly due to the presence of Kiske on vocals, but also just the instrumentation all round. It's an exciting kick of nostalgia that makes you immediately glad for the return of Kiske to Helloween, who I have to say has barely aged a day vocally; without knowing the recent history of the band, I could've easily been sold if someone tried to convince me that this was a recently unearthed lost song from the 80s recording sessions. "Out For The Glory" is definitely the song that sounds most connected to the original Kiske period of Helloween, but "Best Time" isn't far off, sounding like a natural successor to previous mid-paced anthems such as "Future World" and "I Want Out".

I enjoy the Kiske-led songs on Helloween, but how about the Deris-centric songs? "Fear Of The Fallen", which sees Deris and Kiske nicely duetting with each other, is a good effort that feels like a bridge between classic and modern Helloween. I wish I could be so positive about "Mass Pollution"; I've got no idea why Helloween decided to try and write a Mötley Crüe song (or maybe Accept is a fairer comparison), but I could happily never listen to this track again. "Mass Pollution", whilst very much the low point of Helloween, signals a transition into the 'album track' period of record; of the few songs that follow, "Rise Without Chains" is perhaps the most notable, with plenty of energy, a solid chorus and exciting guitar solo work. Considering the album's length, a couple of tracks from this stretch could easily have been cut, with "Mass Pollution", "Indestructible" and "Cyanide" probably being my picks for the chopping block.

"Out For The Glory" is the second-longest song here, but after a stretch of shorter tracks, Helloween toss a couple of similarly long songs into the mix near the end with "Robot King" and "Down In The Dumps", neither of which rival it in quality, but they manage to remain engaging despite their lengths. If the album finished with "Down In The Dumps", Helloween would be a respectable return from Helloween, and one of their stronger albums of the Deris era. However, instead of ending there, Helloween is rounded off by the only song longer than "Out For The Glory": "Skyfall".

The sole writing contribution of Kai Hansen, this song is another reason why Helloween follows the legacy of the Keeper records from the 80s, namely in that it features a brilliant epic of over 10 minutes as the album's climax. I don't think it's a bold claim to already say that "Skyfall" is going to be the best power metal song released in 2021; it's heads and shoulders above not only most of the material on this album, but most of the material Helloween have released since Kiske and Hansen first left the band. Masterfully judged in its progression throughout, the song sees all three vocalists and the whole band shining brightly, channelling the almost unparalleled greatness the band possessed in their peak once more, from the main chorus to its rousing climax. "Skyfall" single-handedly elevates Helloween from a nice return to the band for Kiske and Hansen to a genuine late-career highlight, and one that leaves me hoping that the three-vocalist version of Helloween continues for a while longer.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 8





Written on 16.06.2021 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 43   Visited by: 413 users
18.06.2021 - 14:09
beyondtehdarksun

I'm having a bit of trouble adjusting to Kiske's voice and Hansen's feels underused after the first listen. But besides that, I think this is the most consistent Helloween album since... I can remember.

Even Mass Pollution is an awesome Hard Rock / Heavy Metal song and a welcome change of pace IMO.
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"We are blind to the world within us, waiting to be born"
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18.06.2021 - 21:08
Novas

It is horrible. So bad. I only like 3 songs from it.. Mass Pollution, Fear of the Fallen & Good Times (bonus) were the best songs. "Good Times" was the only good Kiske-driven song. The album opened up with a really bad song. Though all the songs had great solos & breakdowns, their vocal arrangement were executed horribly. Kiske is horrible is listen to. Sounds so washed up & he had no force behind his singing on this release. Hansen sang mostly back vocals, only having a duet lead in "Fear of the Fallen." It was mostly a Kiske album. Deris only had lead vocals in maybe 4 or 5 songs. I wasn't stoked about this release when they mentioned Kiske being on it since the beginning. And the production sounded like crap, not clear at all. And no ballads!? Other notable songs: Cyanide, Indestructible.
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18.06.2021 - 23:13
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Novas on 18.06.2021 at 21:08

And no ballads!?

That is the best thing about the album
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?


2021 goodies
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19.06.2021 - 12:41
Novas

Written by RaduP on 18.06.2021 at 23:13

Written by Novas on 18.06.2021 at 21:08

And no ballads!?

That is the best thing about the album

Helloween releases pretty good ballads. They could've done one with all 3 singers having a verse, then have a nice for solos in it with all 3 guitarists. Didn't have to be a sad sappy song though. Would've been interesting.
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20.06.2021 - 06:40
Metal Spartan

Having listened to it a few times now, it's safe to say that this is a great album. If the bonus track Golden Times is added to the album, it elevates it to masterpiece status.
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21.06.2021 - 18:35
Belegûr
Arise In Might!
Really enjoying this one. The stand out tracks are some of the best Halloween has released in years - Out for the Glory, Best Time, Skyfall, Golden Times (Which should have been on the album proper and not a bonus track).

I think Kai's voice is a bit weak here when he uses it. It's also frightening how good Kiske still is after all these years. Like the review says, Out for the Glory could have been some lost track from the 80s.

Personally, I think the weakest tracks are the Deris penned tracks. He seems to only be able to write for himself as the vocalist, unlike Weikath who was able to write Kiske focused tracks as if he had never left the band. Songs like Cyanide and Save My Hide just scream as standard Andi Deris tracks you'd find on Better than Raw or The Dark Ride. He has written some great tracks, but his generic ones just immediately stand out when mixed with some of the great tracks here written by other members.
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21.06.2021 - 21:45
Metal Spartan

Written by Belegûr on 21.06.2021 at 18:35


Personally, I think the weakest tracks are the Deris penned tracks. He seems to only be able to write for himself as the vocalist, unlike Weikath who was able to write Kiske focused tracks as if he had never left the band. Songs like Cyanide and Save My Hide just scream as standard Andi Deris tracks you'd find on Better than Raw or The Dark Ride. He has written some great tracks, but his generic ones just immediately stand out when mixed with some of the great tracks here written by other members.

I agree with this. Fear of the Fallen is a great song and although I find myself agreeing with musclassia on most things music-wise, I couldn't disagree more about Mass Pollution. I think that song gives the album a nice balance from the standard melodic Helloween fare. Plus, how can you NOT sing along with that chorus? 🤘 Cyanide and Save my Hide, although good in their own rights, are the weakest tracks though.
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24.06.2021 - 17:49
Duck Dodgers

Written by beyondtehdarksun on 18.06.2021 at 14:09



Even Mass Pollution is an awesome Hard Rock / Heavy Metal song and a welcome change of pace IMO.


Mass Pollution sound like Two Horns Up by The 69 Eyes, check it out!
It is the very first time Helloween remind of an other band. Till now we usually had bands that sounded like Helooween.
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24.06.2021 - 17:58
NazGoth

So glad these guys are working together, creating more of what they more or less invented so long ago. It's far from perfect, but it's the best Helloween album i've heard in ages.

For me it should have been somewhat less complex or less 'busy' here and there. Even though old Helloween always had a chaotic feeling (in a good way), here I often find it annoying especially when they add 10 unnecessary vocal layers in the mix.

Kai's influences are welcome but only obvious in the songwriting and guitar parts.
Kiske is amazing as usual when singing solo, but surprisingly annoying in a lot of parts where they sing together.
Oddly enough I like Andi's performance a lot more here than in most of his own albums. I think because his voice contrasts nicely with the others.

I'd give it a high 7/10. Just my opinion of course
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27.06.2021 - 16:15
metalmono

My friend the last better album of them was "Keeper of the seven keys Pt." and when you have Kiske and Hansen in the album the originality goes up to 10/10. This album gets in everything 10/10.
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28.07.2021 - 11:14
Baz Anderson

Found I had to give this a fair number of listens to get into fully - my initial impression was that it was a case of "too many cooks spoil the broth" kind of thing.

Fear Of The Fallen, Mass Pollution, Robot King, Down In The Dumps, Skyfall - all great tracks. There are a few others that aren't as great unfortunately, but maybe other people appreciate them more...

I don't know if I would say I like this album more than some of the other recent Helloween albums from the last 14 years, but it is certainly different.
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30.07.2021 - 11:22
Iwan Ruby

I think this is the wish of every Halloween fans, if all this time most of them always compare the vocalist character.. now the three vocalists sing together! I really enjoy this album..
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My Band COLDERRA
My Zine ORIDISTRO
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21.08.2021 - 11:46
tintinb

I listened to this album as someone who haven't listened to Helloween religiously. I get that the nostalgic factor added for a lot of metalheads here, for me however that wasn't the case. I found Angel to be a really good song. The ending chorus of Skyfall was very awesome. The start of the album was real tight. But it tapered off real bad in the middle to end portion.
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