HELLOWEEN — Better Than Raw

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HELLOWEEN - Better Than Raw cover
4.10 | 50 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1998

Filed under Power Metal


1. Deliberately Limited Preliminary Prelude Period in Z (1:45)
2. Push (4:47)
3. Falling Higher (4:48)
4. Hey Lord! (4:07)
5. Don't Spit on My Mind (4:25)
6. Revelation (8:23)
7. Time (5:45)
8. I Can (4:39)
9. A Handful of Pain (4:49)
10. Laudate Dominum (5:12)
11. Midnight Sun (6:20)

Total Time: 55:05

The 2006 Expanded Edition comes with the following bonus tracks:
12. Back on the Ground
13. A Game We Shouldn't Play
14. Perfect Gentleman (Live Bootleg Version)
15. Moshi Moshi Shiki No Uta (Live)

Bonus track on the U.S. release:
12. A Game We Shouldn't Play (03:36)

Bonus track on the Japanese release:
11. Back on the Ground (4:36)


- Andi Deris / Vocals
- Michael Weikath / Guitars
- Roland Grapow / Guitars
- Markus Grosskopf / Bass
- Uli Kusch / Drums

Guest musicians:

- Jörn Ellerbrock / Keyboards
- Tommy Hansen / Keyboards
- Jutta Weinhold / Vocals (backing)
- Ralf Maurer / Vocals (backing)
- Christina Hahne / Vocals (backing)

About this release

Release date: April 14th, 1998
Label: Raw Power

A limited edition with a slipcase and poster is also available.

Thanks to adg211288, diamondblack, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Better Than Raw (1998), also known as That Helloween Album with the Saucy Cover (Okay I might have made that up, but if it isn't then why the hell not?) is the eighth full-length album by German power metal act Helloween. It is the band's third album with the Andi Deris (vocals), Michael Weikath (guitars), Roland Grapow (guitars), Markus Grosskopf (bass) and Uli Kusch (drums) line-up. I know a lot of fans still pine for previous singer Michael Kiske but I have to say that this line-up of Helloween was probably the most consistently strong.

I'm not entirely sure what the album title is supposed to refer to, but in musical terms it's not exactly apt, as Better Than Raw actually has more of a raw sound than most power metal acts, especially melodic power metal acts opposed to USPM acts, are typically associated with. The music is not exactly under produced but sound of the guitars is heavier, grittier and overall less polished, especially on a track like Push, the first full song after the symphonic intro piece with a mouthful of a title, Deliberately Limited Preliminary Prelude Period in Z. A very guitar driven and extra aggressive track for Helloween is Push. Deris also delivers some really high register vocals on this one. I'd argue it's almost USPM. The album starts to deliver more of what you'd expect from Helloween after that, but overall Better Than Raw is still one of their heaviest releases. And that's certainly a good thing.

I'd also say it's right up there with their better known albums to be one of their best works. With great tracks such as Push, Falling Higher, Hey Lord!, Midnight Sun and the 8:24 minute Revelation it serves up a lot of highlights. It's a shame that Better Than Raw often seems to get overlooked even when the Andi Deris era of Helloween is being exclusively discussed. It's easily my second favourite with him as the band's vocalist, second only to Gambling with the Devil (2007), which coincidently is another of Helloween's heavier albums. I'd also say it was a massive step up after Master of the Rings (1994) and The Time of the Oath (1996). The more aggressive sound suits them better when Deris is up front in my opinion. They were of course absolutely awesome with Kiske on the two Keeper of the Seven Keys albums (1987/1988), but there's much more to Helloween than those two albums. The Deris era has some real gold too. 5 Stars.
Better Than Raw (named after an in-joke about a meal the band once had) is the eighth-full length studio album by the German Power Metal band Helloween. It was released in 1998, following up the excellent Time Of The Oath record, and was the third album in a row to feature the line-up of Andi Deris on Vocals, Michael Weikath and Roland Grapow on Guitar, Markus Grosskopf on Bass and Uli Kusch on the Drums.

If anyone was to ask what the Deris era of Helloween album sounded like, this is the album that I would select in reply. After searching for their sound on Master Of The Rings and perfecting it on Time Of The Oath; Better Than Raw sees the band sit down, focus, and deliver an absolutely marvelous, tight and relentlessly catchy selection of melodic, virtuosic, enjoyable Power Metal songs. Every song is dripping with character and charm. The production is flawless. The choruses stick in your head for days.

This is a very strong and consistent record, that balances the bands different styles well and serves as the sort of ultimate middle-ground record of the band’s various styles and directions. The fast songs are great, the mid-paced songs are great and the slower quieter songs are great too. Its musically accomplished, but doesn’t go overboard with experimentation, it simply delivers the core Helloween sound with fresh energy, and it does it masterfully.

Highlights include the interesting ‘Lavdate Dominvm,’ the catchy ‘Hey Lord!’ and the eight-minute “Revelation.”

This is one of the better Helloween albums in the discography, and a very good introduction for Deris-skeptics. The quality of the production, song writing and musicianship are unquestionable, there is an almost gleeful atmosphere throughout and there is absolutely no time wasted on filler. Overall; Highly recommended.

[PS. The album cover is the super off-putting, but don't let that stop you. the music is great]
Better Than Raw presents a fun, energetic update of the Helloween sound that doesn't pretend to offer the epic sweep of albums like the Keeper of the Seven Keys series but instead offers exciting, unpretentious, accessible power metal ditties. It's a bit more heavy, aggressive, and confrontational than Helloween's more famous earlier material, and whilst purists might lament Helloween moving away from their classic sound, I for one think it's good that they have demonstrated this level of versatility and added a new range of sounda and motifs and styles to their repertoire. Often overlooked in their discography - undeservedly - Better Than Raw deserves better than it's had.

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