HELLOWEEN — Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II (review)

HELLOWEEN — Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II album cover Album · 1988 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
I must admit that my initial reaction to "Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II" was a bit skeptical. How were Helloween be able to make this a worth a while follow-up to their breakthrough classic from the previous year? Well, they both did and didn't succeed on making this release stand out on it's own.

The record has pretty much the same outline as the previous one featuring a short intro followed by the first hard hitting power metal classic (Eagle Fly Free). A few songs later we come to the album's centerpiece in the shape of the lengthy 10+ composition which is then rounded off by an additional track.

This time around the intro section is a lot better with both the short intro and "Eagle Fly Free" being more preferable to me than "Initiation" and "I'm Alive". Unfortunately the album loses some of It's initial advantage due to the fact that both "You Always Walk Alone" and "Rise And Fall" sound like filler to my ears. "Dr.Stein" returns the record back on track, even though it's still in a disadvantage compared to "Twilight Of The Gods" from the previous record. After another filler track, we finally come to the two centerpieces of this album. "March In Time" and "I Want Out" were both penned by Kai Hansen and clearly show how much potential this album had if only Hansen had a bigger role in the production of the remainder of the material.

Unlike the last time, I actually find the lengthy track to be lacking in execution. It just always felt to me that the track of such epic proportion should have been a lot more pompous. Instead it's a good composition that just doesn't sound like a classic that I would have liked it to be. It certainly is strong in it's own right but does not match the mighty "Halloween". To it's credit, it definitely doesn't try to rehash the formula which, I guess, should speak in its favor but I just can't generate enough love towards the final product. "Save Us" is another great Hansen track but it ultimately doesn't add anything new to the album as a whole. Some might argue that "Save Us" is just a bonus track that was tide into the album but, to me, it brings almost the same emotions as the ones I get when I listen to "White Feather" after just experiencing "Childhoods End?" on Marillion's "Misplaced Childhood". It certainly sounds like a better ending than "Follow The Sign" but that's an unfair comparison simply because "Follow The Sign" was more of a premonition of the things to come.

Overall, "Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II" is certainly a classic in its own right but I lack the overall feeling of quality that existed on Helloween's two first records and the marvelous EP. Definitely give it a go if you've played the first three records to death.

***** star songs: Eagle Fly Free (5:10) March Of Time (5:15)

**** star songs: Invitation (1:07) Dr. Stein (5:05) I Want Out (4:41) Keeper Of The Seven Keys (13:37) Save Us (5:13)

*** star songs: You Always Walk Alone (5:10) We Got The Right (5:08)

** star songs: Rise And Fall (4:22)
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