HELLOWEEN — Helloween

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HELLOWEEN - Helloween cover
4.07 | 29 ratings | 5 reviews
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EP · 1985

Filed under Speed Metal


1. Starlight (5:18)
2. Murderer (4:26)
3. Warrior (4:01)
4. Victim of Fate (6:38)
5. Cry for Freedom (6:03)

Total Time: 26:28

Picture LP bonus track:
6. Surprise Track (2:08)


- Kai Hansen / vocals, guitars
- Michael Weikath / guitars
- Markus Grosskopf / bass
- Ingo Schwichtenberg / drums

About this release

Released by Noise Records in March 1985.

Thanks to Time Signature, Unitron, DippoMagoo for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
HELLOWEEN debuted with this five track EP the same year as their first full album “Walls Of Jericho” and immediately made an impact on the metal world following in the footsteps of the NWOBHM. While they are indisputably the progenitors of the power metal sub genre, on their first two releases of 1985 they were very much a veritable blend of traditional metal with speedy early thrash leanings. Their sound that would fully take form on the “Seven Keys” albums is actually very close to these two early albums despite the obvious Iron Maiden gallops, Halford type high pitched vocal style and lack of bells and whistles. The band has also stated that it was their intent to keep melodic metal up to speed with the ever changing metal landscape that was seeing early developments of extreme and darkened bands that were slowly losing melodic developments in exchange for atmospheric developments and hypnotic brutality.

The eponymous EP and “Walls Of Jericho” fall into the first phase of HELLOWEEN’s lengthy career of several lineup changes and the only ones to feature Kai Hansen as not only guitarist but also as the vocalist. The only constant member Michael Weikath brings down the house with his most proficient neoclassical shredding skills which brought the band into the new higher energy metal that was developing around this time by taking it a bit further than what the NWOBHM had been dishing out. Markus Grosskopf (bass) and Ingo Schwichtneberg (drums) deliver the instantly addictive rhythm sections that results in a distinct type of rhythmic pattern that gave HELLOWEEN a distinguished drum and bass exchange. The lyrics are perhaps the darkest of the band’s career at this point as they were taking cues from the morbid visions of early Iron Maiden before heading off to the pastures of the unicorn to glean the graces of the fantastical.

While this EP isn’t as recognized as their full studio albums, the tracks on here as of equal caliber to their excellent “Walls Of Jericho” album. There are no repeated tracks as all is original and i simply couldn’t ask for a better way to start a career. All the musicians had developed an original sound and the chemistry between the members is truly stunning. While Kai Hansen may not have proved to be the best of three vocalists that the band had to offer, he certainly more than does the job and offers that rough-and-tumble air to the traditional / thrash metal hybrid that this EP exudes. While this EP may be difficult to find on its own, there is not need to worry because the later expanded version of “Walls Of Jericho” begins with the full EP and even includes “Surprise Track” on the bonus disc which originally only appeared on the picture-LP. Unfortunately it took me a while to realize that the first five tracks actually WERE the EP because they are not marked as such!
Conor Fynes
'Helloween' - Helloween (8/10)

Even before there was "Keeper of the Seven Keys", the German power metal titans Helloween were flying high. Although they hadn't yet redefined the genre with which they would be most associated, there are plenty of monumental riffs and falsettos to behold in the band's early canon. Drawing upon the styles of Judas Priest and the melodic gallop of Iron Maiden, Helloween's debut EP sets a solid foundation for the glorious power metal to come. For any fan of Helloween, or slightly thrash-infused speed metal, this self-titled release shouldn't be missed.

As opposed to the more refined atmosphere and fantasy vibe of their later work, the Helloween of 1985 are much more in tune with the typical topics and sounds of metal. As opposed to singing about mythology, quests and autumnal holidays, Helloween are writing about Satan, murder, and war. As you might guess, "Helloween" is a fair bit darker and more aggressive than their future sound. Anyone who has heard Iron Maiden's "Killers" before should know what to expect. In twenty six minutes, Helloween manage to run the gamut of human misery. In contrast with the subject matter, Helloween bring many of their trademark choruses to the mix here. In particular, "Starlight" and "Warrior" stand out as great tracks that could have fit on later albums.

Although Kai Hansen was the driving force behind what made early Helloween so good, it shouldn't come as a great surprise that his vocals aren't as technically impressive as those of Michael Kiske or Andi Deris. Although his singing ability would ferment and mature in his time with Gamma Ray, Hansen's vocals don't have the same operatic bravado that later Helloween vocalists would bring to the table. That's not to say, however, that he is a bad singer. Kai Hansen's raspier style fits the early Helloween's thrashier leanings. Particularly on the Judas Priest-esque "Victim of Fate", Hansen pulls off a few pretty impressive falsettos. The latter vocalists' contributions may have brought a greater finesse to the band's sound, but Hansen's more weathered voice gives Helloween an added sense of heaviness that they may have partially lost as the years went on.

Especially considering this is the band's debut EP, the quality of the production is surprising. While not as fine-tuned as the either "Keeper of the Seven Keys", the sound quality would not sound out of place on a professional full length. The guitar duo of Hansen and Weikath are, without a doubt, the strongest aspect of Helloween's sound. Although they were both in their early twenties at the time of the EP's recording, they already have a firm grasp of the neoclassical leads and speed-oriented riffs that would define the band's later sound. As far as the lingering question of whether Helloween were already innovating power metal as early as this EP (as opposed to pioneering it with "Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. I"), the essential elements of power metal were already in the mix, but the songwriting and slight thrash edge may lure the style closer to being rightfully called speed metal, or perhaps a Teutonic adaptation of NWOBHM. Regardless of any arbitrary genre-tags however, "Helloween" is a fitting companion to "Walls of Jericho", and precursor to the band's better-known "Keeper of the Seven Keys" duology. Although it may be a pre-debut EP with the appearance of a fans-only apocrypha, "Helloween" is an excellent album and one of the better releases from one of metal's best-loved acts.
Time Signature

Genre: speed metal / power metal

This EP certainly contains high quality, minimally cheesy, German power/speed metal which contain everything that Helloween would later be famous for, such as neoclassical shredding, energetic drumming, epicness, inherently melodic guitar riffage and so on. "Starlight", "Murderer", and "Cry for Freedom" (once it gest properly started) are all fast paced speed metal-based power metal tracks, while "Warrior" and "Victim of Fate" are more midtempo, but no less powerful.

My favorite track on this EP is "Victime of Fate" with its fast triple meter style, resulting in the same sort of drive as found in Iron Maiden's "Phantom of the Opera". It also contains an epic Helloween-style chorus and a ballady bridge, which would have worked better with another vocalist.

The weakness of this album is very much Kai Hansen's vocals. His voice has a very raw and shrill quality to it; something which a lot of people will probably appreciate, but his vocal style on this album just is not my cup of tea.

apart from the vocals, this is a very good EP, and I'd recommend it to any fan of German speed metal and German power metal.

Members reviews

We're loud, heavy, melodic and we don't give a f@@k!

The first official recording from Helloween is an obnoxiously wonderful piece of music that most fans of their later material wouldn't have expected from the classic Hansen/Weikath/Grosskopf/Schwichtenberg lineup! Right off the bat we're treated to a massive scream from Hansen and then "Starlight" basically sweeps the listener into submission. "Murderer" and "Warrior" both feature loud and heavy drumming/guitar attack that actually resembles more of the Thrash Metal genre more then the Speed/Power Metal style that the band would be known for in just a few years time.

"Victim Of Fate" is probably the most effective piece of music here. This is where Hansen finally manages to combine his great vocal ability with the songwriting and we're even treated to a slow and heavy section right in the middle of the track that shows the band's ambition of composing epic compositions that would become even more ambitions in a few years time. I'm not really sure why but I've just never been much of a fan of "Cry For Freedom". On paper, it's definitely as interesting as "Victim Of Fate" but I just never dug it as much as the predecessor.

The debut EP from Helloween is easily my favorite piece of music from the classic lineup. The music would get even more ambitious and sleek over the years, but with it the band also lost a lot of their crazy raw energy that I find such an essential part of their sound. Highly recommended to all fans of metal music!

***** star songs: Starlight (5:18) Victim Of Fate (6:38)

**** star songs: Murderer (4:26) Warrior (4:01) Cry For Freedom (6:03)
This is the Mini LP (as it was promoted as at the time) that basically started Helloween's career. The first promises of the band's potential were given at the now legendary Death Metal collection from Noise Records, released a year before, which contained Oernst of Life and Metal Invaders (the latter would appear on Walls fo Jericho re-recorded).

The music presented here is defintely a head-turner. Aggressive, fast, yet exceedingly melodic, it draws influences from Iron Maiden and Accept, with a preference for the dual guitar solos and the neoclassical shredding. All truly in the spirit of the times, ie pushed to the extreme.

Also present are the first hints of the humor that was always a major part of Helloween. In this case, it is the little intro at the beginning which leads to Kai Hansen screaming his lungs off to introduce properly the band in true heavy metal fashion. The song is Starlight and it is a classic example of the band's songwriting. Melodic, emphasis on the vocal lines, good guitarwork that balances nicely speed, agression and (again) melody. Speed Metal.

The vocals are an acquired taste, that is for sure. At the time, they were a huge hit, passionate, with character, not afraid to go to the high notes etc. Personally, I am a huge Kai Hansen fan and his voice really does it for me. Technically speaking, there are moments where he does not hit the exact right note, or times where his English could use some polishing. Soundwise, if you try to imagine a cross between Rob Halford and UDO (of Accept), you will get a slight idea of what to expect.

But the whole EP screams of rawness and passion and indeed ambition, evident in tracks like Victim of Fate (probably everyone's favourite off the album), a mini-epic, complete with an anthemic chorus (their specialty as a band), dynamic verses, atmospheric mid-section, climactic solo, the whole deal. And a little under 7 minutes due to the fast paced rhythm of the song.

Cry for Freedom is another mini-epic of sorts, with an acoustic intro that explodes in a speed metal frenzy, again showcasing the band's strong cards: good guitar work, a very good sense for melodies, passion and ambition.

The EP is completed with Murderer and Warrior, the former being a typical Helloween speed metal number and the latter a heavy metal song reminiscent of Iron Maiden on drugs, excluding Kai's shrieking performance of course.

This mini-LP is packaged together with Walls of Jericho (and the Judas EP). This was done from the very first edition of the Walls of Jericho CD, so today to most people's minds, the three releases are indivisible. And indeed, there is little time between those releases, as Helloween and Walls of Jericho were released a few months apart and Judas was recorded some months after Walls. However, they are separate releases and it would be a shame to underestimate the impact of this EP. It made people really eager for more and the band indeed delivered one of the finest speed metal albums ever.

With this mini-LP you get a nice, immensely satisfying, taste of a diamond in the rough.

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