Helloween – “Helloween” 2CD / 2LP / Deluxe Boxset (Nuclear Blast)
Battle Helm Rating
So dreams can come true afterall. Bowing to the wishes of their fans following the Pumpkins United World Tour, Andi Deris, Michael Kiske, Michael Weikath, Kai Hansen, Markus Grosskopf, Sascha Gerstner and Dani Löble recorded this self-titled 16th studio album that actually opens a new chapter in the band’s 35-year history, namely one featuring not one, but three of their singers sharing lead vocal duties- wow!! Recorded in analogue under the eyes of long-term producer Charlie Bauerfeind and co-producer Dennis Ward, what was especially touching was using the original drum kit of the late but still lamented Ingo Schwichtenberg on the 12 tracks to add the nostalgic magic for the fans. That said, “Helloween” is no one off tribute but an extremely bold move to include in both performances and composing, Kai Hansen who last featured on 1988’s “Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II” and Michael Kiske, last singing one 1993’s “Chameleon” alongside the band’s current five-member line up. Opener ‘Out For The Glory’ wastes no time in getting that point across as the triple guitar, triple vocal delivery of happy melodies soars and uplifts spirits in classic Helloween singalong power metal style while the fast power riffs ignite along to Dani Löble’s double bass pedalling on Ingo’s kit – awesome – and that’s before the beautiful solos capture your heart in their epic glory! With its suave guitars, ‘Best Time’ pumps in its energetic groove through Markus Grosskopf’s deep basslines as the soaring vocals take you to into heaven accompanied by the wailing and chiming guitars as the chorus bounces around your head with little room to catch your breath. Heavier and shredding in on ‘Indestructible’, the musclebound triple axes are superbly contrasted by the diamond melodies adding their sparkle to the ultra-catchy singalong chorus that lyrically attests to the unbreakable career of the band, while the solos are nothing short of climatic! Blowing out all the cylinders to level a stadium on ‘Cyanide’ through its hammering drums, wailing guitars and air punching riffs, the rock god vocals make your blood boil (with passion) before exploding out the massive singalong chorus capturing all the emotion in this unique mix of reminiscences from all the chapters of the band’s history. By all accounts an outstanding release from an outstanding line up.