Time to bang your head again: the German metal big guns Helloween are back in the record stores, six years after their previous release. They haven’t been too creative about the album name and just self-titled it. The album will be released on 18th June 2021.
Helloween – About The Artist
Helloween has been founded in 1984 in Hamburg. Three of the founding members are still active: Michael Weikath (guitar, backing vocals) and Markus Grosskopf (bass, backing vocals) have been constant band members, while Kai Hansen (guitar, lead vocals) came back after a hiatus between 1989 and 2016. The other band members nowadays are Michael Kiske (lead vocals), Andri Deris (lead vocals), Sascha Gerstner (guitars, backing vocals) and drummer Daniek Löble. The band had their first releases in 1985, but neither a self-titled EP nor their debut album Walls of Jericho made it to the charts. The two-part album Keeper of the Seven Keys finally meant the breakthrough to the band: while Part I just made it to the Top 20 in Germany and Sweden, the second part was a great seller with Top 10 placements in both countries as well as Austria and Switzerland and a golden record in Germany.
Even though the band could initially not keep up with the chart placements in these countries, they had a constant fan base and grew in markets like Japan.since 1993, any Helloween album made it at least to the Top 25 there, most of them with a significantly better ranking. Helloween grew in the 2010’s again.Their last album, My God-Given Right was Top 10 in Germany, Japan and Finland. Their self-titled 2021 album will be the sixteenth major release of the band.
Helloween – Helloween – Track by Track
The twelve song album lasts 65 minutes. There is also a version with 14 tracks / 73 minutes. The two additional songs are Golden Times and Save My Hide.
1. Out For The Glory
Did they record the vocals some decades ago? Michael Kiske just does not feel to get older – his crystal-clear voice on top of the guitars just gives a perfect introduction into the album. Out For The Glory is a great mixture of lyric and choir elements, you just feel that the band had lot of fun recording this opener. Great song, which even feels a bit too short when it finally ends after more than seven minutes.
2. Fear Of The Fallen
I praised Michael Kiske for his vocal performance in the opener – but Andi Derris is doing great as well. A lovely, gentle introduction to Fear Of The Fallen introduces another hymnic track. Helloween maybe even take more profit of having two excellent vocalists in this song compared to Out For The Glory.
Here come The Fear Of The Fallen
We rise when you’re calling
A light in the night
We are the flame in the fire
The voice in the choir
We’re always nearby
3. Best Time
3:36 minutes – did Helloween want to have one song on their 2021 album for mainstream radio formats as well? The verses remind me a bit of Rebel Yell – but the chorus with some spoken word parts feels so modern compared to this rather classic reference.
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is a mystery
And today is just great… If you are listening to Best Time!
4. Mass Pollution
A lot of power and pure heavy metal – Mass Pollution feels so energetic. I am sure it will drive the fans mad when this track will be presented during the 2022 festival season. Great showcase of the instrumental strength of Helloween again. Some additional classic sound, by the way, as the band used the original drum kit of their former drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg, who died of suicide.
According to the press kit, the band wanted to create synergies, energy and creativity with this song – and the whole album. An album, which the fans automatically link to classic tracks and albums of the Helloween band history. Angels is just an amazingly eclectic track, which also dares to go for rather slow and melodic parts. One of the highlights of the album to me – even though it is really hard to spot highlights in this album so far, it is just so good.
6. Rise Without Chains
The album is so incredibly homogeneous without being boring – Rise Without Chains just feels to fit that well into the sound of Helloween. A rather average tempo song, which comes with great work on the drums and an amazing presence by the two lead vocals. Cool.
The first six songs almost made you feel that Helloween are Indestructable – now they sing about it.
‘Cause we are one
Though we’re riding on a storm
We reign the world
Yes we’re fighting dusk to dawn
Okay, festival bookers 2022 – if you go for Helloween next summer and they play this one, it will be really hot at your venue. Great metal party anthem!
8. Robot King
Robot King is one of these tracks where I deeply admire drummers. It is amazing what Dani Löble is doing in this song. But – to make it short – it just feels that he is inspiring his bandmates with it. The guitars and bass are doing a great job, the vocals convince as on the whole album. Long live metal – that’s the genre at its very best!
Cyanide is the second “shortie” on the album – the song is “just” 3:29 minutes. After a short intro, the guitars are hammering their riffs and a great work on the microphone drives the song. After the outstanding Robot King, no time to relax. Love it!
10. Down In The Dumps
At the Down In The Dumps, the band takes about one minute time before the intro is getting into more speed. The song is very hymnic and melodic and again gives Kiske a good chance to brand these tunes. Great instrumental part as well.
A short moment to relax? Orbit is a one minute interlude taking you to the very top – as the Skyfall is about to happen next.
After spending one minute to get into the Orbit, the following Skyfall takes more than twelve minutes. Helloween fans know this one already, this decent track was one of the single releases of the album already. Doesn’t the track get boring? Not at all! The different parts of the Skyfall are just amazing, almost feel like a metal symphony in different acts (but without any intermission). Masterpiece!
Helloween – Helloween – Spotify
Here is Helloween on Spotify:
Helloween – Helloween – My View
I think I don’t need to add too many words to this review. Helloween is metal close to perfection. Amazing songs with a lot of instrumental and vocal talent,different stories. Likely one of the best (slightly more than an) hour how can spent with hard guitar riffs and more this year.
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