HELLOWEEN — Chameleon

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HELLOWEEN - Chameleon cover
2.86 | 47 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1993

Filed under Hard Rock


1. First Time (5:29)
2. When the Sinner (6:54)
3. I Don't Wanna Cry No More (5:11)
4. Crazy Cat (3:29)
5. Giants (6:32)
6. Windmill (5:14)
7. Revolution Now (8:04)
8. In the Night (5:35)
9. Music (7:01)
10. Step Out of Hell (4:21)
11. I Believe (9:11)
12. Longing (4:14)

Total Time: 71:20


- Michael Kiske / Vocals
- Michael Weikath / Guitars
- Roland Grapow / Guitars
- Markus Grosskopf / Bass
- Ingo Schwichtenberg / Drums

Guest musicians:

- M. Drechsler / Tam Tam Gong (Track 5)
- Corinna Wolke / Vocals (backing) (Track 4)
- Lenny Wolf / Vocals (backing) (Track 4)
- Stefan Pintev / Violin
- Axel Bergstedt / Church Organ (Track 11)
- Tommy Hansen / Keyboards

About this release

Release date: May 1st, 1993
Label: EMI Music.

The 2006 Expanded Edition comes with a bonus disc with the following tracks:
1. I Don't Care You Don't Care (When The Sinner B-side)
2. Oriental Journey (When The Sinner B-side)
3. Cut In The Middle (Windmill B-side)
4. Introduction (Windmill B-side)
5. Get Me Out Of Here (Windmill B-side)
6. Red Socks And The Smell Of Trees (I Don't Wanna Cry No More B-side)
7. Ain't Got Nothin' Better (I Don't Wanna Cry No More B-side)
8. Windmill (demo) (previously unreleased)

Thanks to Time Signature, adg211288, DippoMagoo, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Originators of the European brand of power metal Helloween have a lot of fans who will tell you any chance they get that Michael Kiske is the true voice of the band, likely giving respect to Kai Hansen along the way for his performance on their earliest material including the debut album Walls of Jericho (1985). They rarely outright deride replacement and now much longer standing vocalist Andi Deris, but it's often implied that he can't hope to match Kiske. Kiske's reputation as part of Helloween though is built entirely upon the Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I (1987) and Part II (1988) albums. What these fans usually forget to mention is that the other two albums Kiske did with the band are about as much loathed as the two Keeper albums are loved, which actually makes his tenure in the band a pretty damn patchy one. While I personally find the humorously named Pink Bubbles Go Ape (1991) to be a bit unjustly bashed, I struggle to find much of a defence for what has to be the band's most disliked album, Chameleon (1993). It was Helloween's fifth studio album and was the last to feature Kiske as well as drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg, who would commit suicide two years later at the age of 29.

To round off the train of thought about whether or not Kiske is or isn't the true voice of Helloween, I can't really fault his performance on Chameleon. It's the lone thing about the album that never falters in its quality. So maybe the fans who say this do have a point. What Kiske can't do though is save this album from being a complete middling affair from Helloween. Good vocals don't elevate the quality of the writing, the biggest defence of which is the fact that Chameleon is a pretty varied album. More so then the typical power metal release is. That's the start of its problems though: Chameleon isn't a power metal release. Sure, the prior Pink Bubbles Go Ape was debatable on that front as well after the two Keeper of the Seven Keys albums kick-started the Euro style off, but the bigger problem here is that Chamelon isn't only not a power metal album, it's also not a metal album at all. Helloween have removed most traces of their metal sound on this album, favouring hefty amounts of acoustic guitars and abundant pop influences.

It doesn't take a genius to work out that even when it comes to one of metal's catchiest and most commercial genres like power metal (which several other German bands like Blind Guardian, Running Wild and Kai Hansen's own Gamma Ray continued to champion the development of during Helloween's Pink Bubbles Go Ape/Chameleon phase) this isn't something most fans at the time would have wanted to hear. Chameleon often doesn't even deserve the distinction of being a hard rock album given how many soft parts are present, sometimes even hinting at AOR influences. A few metal riffs here and there, such as in the first song First Time, offer up a little hint at the band's roots, which they'd fortunately return to on their next album Master of the Rings (1994), but most of what made Helloween a respected metal band has been stripped away. With an over seventy minute duration Chameleon certainly goes on for too long as well, with several songs coming across as filler, not least among them the single Windmill, which the late Ingo Schwichtenberg was known to refer to as 'Shitmill' and quite justifiably.

Were this the debut album of a different band or simply didn't have the Helloween name on it then maybe Chameleon would have a better reputation today, over twenty years since its release. For all its faults as a Helloween album Chameleon is actually quite listenable for most of the time once you look past what else the band has done both before or since. To my ears it could never be considered a great album but it's not as bad as its often made out to be. If its Helloween you're interested in though, then there are currently fourteen other studio albums that you should get before this one.

Members reviews

Well, I gave my 5-star review for Helloween for the masterpiece "Keepers II" so I thought it would now be appropriate to write my review for my lowest ranked Helloween disc.

Back in 90's I had a special record stand that I went to in the local mall that could get import discs. I hadn't heard anything from Helloween since 1988 and was wondering if they had split up...I had somehow missed "Pink Bubbles" and this album and so I paid an extortionate sum to import both of them. (I didn't know that Helloween had lost their American distributor and that these albums weren't originally released stateside.) "Bubbles" was not so terrible...this album had me scratching my head, thinking I had accidentally gotten the wrong the band.

I'm not going into this album song-by-song because I don't feel the need...let's just say that this album is in no way power metal and in no way what was expected from such a great band. There were horns...HORNS!!!!! Not devil horns...but the kind of horns that someone puts their mouth on and blow, creating a sound that does not necessarily go with proper metal!!!!!

I tried hard to dig this album because I paid a ton for it...and because it was my favorite metal band...but in the end I only found a few redeeming qualities! Those qualities are in the final 15 minutes of the album...the final 2 songs!!! Great tunes that really showcase Michael Kiske's style and range...a voice that in my opinion is untouched in the metal world!!!!

So, if you see this album in the cut-out bin, pick it up and give it a listen...if you expect another "Keepers" forget it!!!

Ratings only

  • Train_Food
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  • TheHeavyMetalCat
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  • Gabimm
  • Necrotica
  • vandalize
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  • Detal
  • powermetal2000
  • StargazerSlave
  • DippoMagoo
  • KatiLily
  • sepozzsla
  • Daniel de Oliveira
  • Nergal131
  • jsorigar
  • Jan
  • Khabarov
  • Rendref
  • Colt
  • jose carlos
  • 2112ORR
  • progpostman
  • Wilytank
  • 666sharon666
  • stefanbedna
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  • abdulbashur
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  • sjal
  • mr.gonzoss
  • IndianaJones
  • Tlön
  • kalacho
  • Anster
  • bratus
  • mickemupp
  • shriiimp
  • snowman1980
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