HELLOWEEN — Helloween (review)

HELLOWEEN — Helloween album cover Album · 2021 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
How many bands on this earth have a long-awaited reunion of the old legends like Helloween did? They hadn't even broken up, just shifted line-ups, and their legend made their reunion with old buds as eagerly awaited as Metroid Dread. After a 3-hour live album recorded in Madrid with seven bandmates (three singers included: Kai, Mike and Andi), the wait for the studio album was met with worldwide impatience. Was that impatience worth it? Let's put it this way: it's a fallacy to say that reunion albums never work. And these guys are 60.

The driving force of this reunion is not just old friendships and nostalgia, but the passion that evolves from it. You can tell that Helloween are putting crazy amounts of effort into this piece. Pieces like "Fear of the Fallen" and "Down in the Dumps" are the mightiest of mighty headbangers as far as this classic power metal band is concerned. Normally it bothers me when a band sticks with one or two genres and keeps writing songs based on that, especially when the album is close to an hour. Helloween makes it work, though. People love the two Keeper of the Seven Keys albums for their anthemic energy. Honestly, there's so much of that in this album that if you scratched the CD you'd be blasted with a Kamehameha. And of course, they have to end it with a 10+minute epic. The only real problem one may have is that it doesn't start out feeling like one of their epics, using the same 10-beat a second tempo that defined so many of their early hits. This doesn't stop the song from being unique and progressive, though. And I have to add that this is their heaviest album since the release of Better Than Raw, and the influences range from the speed thrashing of Walls of Jericho, the jovial cheese of the Kiske era, the heavier sounds of Raw and Time of the Oath and the nocturnal feeling of The Dark Ride. But it's not too much of any one. I mean, Keeper Pt. 2 is a bit simple of a metal album, sometimes acting like a pop one, though rightfully so.

A common criticism is that the album is a little too long. If you ask me, that's flat-out WRONG. I just got done listening to Better Than Raw and Keeper Pt. 2. Better Than Raw is essentially flawless, and it still felt like the hour that it was. Keeper Pt. 2 was consistently entertaining, but I was always aware of the length of the album and I almost felt it by the end. Almost. The 50 minutes felt more like 42. But the self-titled feels like a 45 minute epic, and it's a 65-minute piece of work. Why? Energy. More energy than the band ever had, like they just told double espresso coffee to fuck off. These guys are still 60, people. That is the MOST impressive part of the album. And I'll be honest. Even after 65 minutes, I wanted to spin it again. So not only does this album have a crazy amount of replay value, but it can also act as a great intro album for anyone wanting to get into this kind of music.

And now that they've had such critical and financial success with their reunion, how can they avoid making another album with this modern classic hybrid line-up? They just effing can't. With this new line-up working way too well, it's quite clear that this album is the heart and soul of power metal itself, and only the pioneers of the genre can create such a monster of an album. I give the eponymous Helloween album the highest recommendation I can to anyone willing to listen.
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