HELLOWEEN — Straight Out of Hell

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HELLOWEEN - Straight Out of Hell cover
3.65 | 29 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2013

Filed under Power Metal


1. Nabataea (7:03)
2. World of War (4:56)
3. Live Now! (3:10)
4. Far from the Stars (4:41)
5. Burning Sun (5:33)
6. Waiting for the Thunder (3:53)
7. Hold Me in Your Arms (5:10)
8. Wanna Be God (2:02)
9. Straight Out of Hell (4:33)
10. Asshole (4:09)
11. Years (4:22)
12. Make Fire Catch the Fly (4:22)
13. Church Breaks Down (6:06)

Total Time 60:00


- Andi Deris / Vocals
- Michael Weikath / Guitars
- Sascha Gerstner / Guitars
- Markus Grosskopf / Bass
- Dani Löble / Drums

Guest musicians:

- Olaf Senkbeil / Vocals (backing)
- Billy King / Vocals (backing)
- Matthias Ulmer / Keyboards

About this release

Release date: January 18th, 2013
Label: Sony Music

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition and DippoMagoo, diamondblack, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Helloween’s fourteenth full-length studio album, Straight Out Of Hell, is a damn strong release that sees the legendary German Power Metal band at the top of their game, doing what they do best and doing it well. For me, this would definitely rate as being in the top half of their discography and something that all but the most casual Helloween fans should definitely pick up and give some serious attention to.

Maybe it was the line-up stability (fourth album in a row with the same line-up!), maybe it was the fact that the band were nearing their thirtieth anniversary or maybe it was simply serendipity, but this album really nails what this band are all about and what they should be doing at this stage in time. The 2013 album does a remarkable job of balancing “dishing out more of the core Helloween sound,” with playing in different moods and mixing things up just a little. You can hear brief touches of the sounds from every Helloween album since Deris joined the band. The fast, the slow, the conservative, the experimental, the happy, the serious, the heavy, the mellow… its all in here; in a tasteful and well-balanced, cohesive whole.

‘Straight Out Of Hell,’ ‘Far From The Stars,’ ‘Burning Sun,’ ‘Years,’ and ‘Make Fire Catch The Fly’ are all exactly what you would want or expect from Helloween. That sort of happy sounding, melodic Power Metal with catchy sing-along choruses, thundering double kicks, lots of gorgeous dual-guitar harmonies and virtuosic lead guitar playing. (‘World At War,’ is that sort of style as well, only with extra heavy verses reminiscent of Helloween’s earlier The Dark Ride album added in there too for good measure). So if you want traditional Helloween, you’ve got it, in spades.

There’s also a fair amount of variety on offer here too. Opener ‘Nabatea’ – a history lesson about an ancient race of people called the Nabateans; is a brilliant, energetic, slightly progressive tune that goes through a lot of different moods and flavours. It might take a few active-listens to get the full effect, but there are some seriously excellent parts on this track. The bit behind the lyric ‘though they had no slaves, believe it or not!’ is absolutely joyous. I remember hearing the chorus to this around the time of the record’s release and not liking it, and so delaying purchasing this album by a few months – big mistake! This is a very good song indeed and really impresses upon closer inspection.

Closer ‘Church Breaks Down’ is also a multi-faceted, semi-progressive number, which feels like it would fit well on their classic Time Of The Oath album. There are hints of piano, and slower parts layered in amongst the happy-sounding speed metal influenced sections.

Then bringing the speed down further, there’s the track ‘Asshole’ which has a kind of bouncy, Master Of The Rings feel to it at times, as well as ‘Live Now!’ which is very much the traditional Helloween single, (like previous singles ‘Mr. Torture,’ ‘Mrs. God,’ or ‘Perfect Gentleman’). You know the kind… It’s not very representative of the album’s direction overall, as it’s the only song that sounds this way.

‘Waiting For The Thunder’ is another mid-tempo, keyboard-tinged melodic number that initially seems like its going to be a soppy ballad, but is actually a pretty driving track once it gets going. Then of course comes the actual ballad ‘Hold Me In Your Arms;’ there’s always at least one per album, and here its quite a tasteful one – if you liked ‘If I Could Fly’ then you’ll probably get along with this just fine. Finally in the variety stakes, there’s the brief experimental track ‘Wanna Be God,’ which is a rhythmic, tribal call to arms that sounds like the score from the scene in a movie where the barbarian army are flexing and showing off before the actual fight.

The large mix of styles found on the record is offset well by the continuous reintroduction of up-tempo, gloriously happy sounding speed metal sections. This cements a feeling of consistency. When combined with the quality of the musicianship and the well-structured songs it all really adds up to something even better than the sum of its parts.

On top of that, the whole record is just an absolute guitarist’s dream. The leads and solos are absolutely wonderful; at times fun, at times impressive, at times evocative and interesting. Backed up by up by Löble’s weighty drumming and a clear production job, these songs really “pop.” There’ll always be that extra something in there that will allow a song to stand out, but everything will always feel like it belongs.

All in all, this is an excellent release. Lapsed fans should consider picking up a copy to see what the band are up to nowadays, casual fans should consider picking up a copy to find out why they should become more than casual fans, and active fans simply should not be without this strong and succinct distillation of everything that’s great about modern Helloween.
This album is somehow weaker than '7 Sinners' which is also weaker than 'Gambling' so sadly it's a decline trend for Helloween in my book. It's not bad by any means, in fact, it's a good album, it's a varied power metal album, they put out a lot of spices here, from the almost-progressive fast paced lengthy track to slowtempo ballads, from mid-paced melodic metal to the classic Helloween style, and also modern day stuffs which usually was dark oriented.

'Nabatea' is really awesome at riffs, the verse is also flawless, but I spot a patchy chorus, and I think it's a bit too long at 7 minutes. 'World of War' sadly a bit dull on the verse but the chorus is an awesome classic style. I don't like 'Live Now!', and almost half of these albums were average, like 'Burning Sun' - the Hammond version as a tribute to Jon Lord also doesn't help much, 'Hold Me In Your Arms' is also a cheesy ballad and Andi Deris' voice wasn't meant to be played in the lower register. 'Wanna Be God' is a disastrous filler, and several other 7/10 tracks.

Best track here for me is the title track, 'Straight Out of Hell', what a fantastic intro, great verse, bridge, and chorus, a pretty nice combination and killer all around. Second best here should be 'Years' - classic Helloween style with a catchy sing-along chorus; and the third one is 'Far From The Stars' - the keyboard insertion is very nice, the solos are awesome, and the chorus is extremely melodic. Other good stuffs are 'Waiting For The Thunder', 'Asshole' - lousy title but don't know why I fancy this track, and the bonus track, 'Another Shot of Life' isn't bad at all.

The production is great and I got the 15 tracks edition, so leaving out the 3 weakest tracks, the score is a bit better. Good album but ain't great for me, perhaps worth around 75%, although I will revisit this later for more spins coz there might be growers around.
"Straight Out of Hell" is the 14th full-length studio album by German power metal act Helloween. The album was released through Spinefarm Records in January 2013. It is now the fourth consequitive album with the same lineup, which probably bears witness to a harmonic group of musicians. The opposite has in periods plagued the band. "Straight Out of Hell" was recorded with producer Charlie Bauerfeind at Mi Sueño Studio, Tenerife, Spain, which to my ears sounds like a nice relaxing place to record.

...and I think it´s rubbed off on the tracks, which more of them feature a nice positive uplifting atmosphere. Fast-paced and energetic double pedalling, melodic lead guitar themes and epic choruses, which are no surprise, but what we expect from Helloween. They are no one-trick pony though, and the album includes heavier tracks too. Album opener "Nabataea" can even be labelled semi-progressive and a track like "Wanna be God" also stands out quite a bit. The latter sounds like a heavier twin to Queen´s "We Will Rock You". The songwriting is professional and most of the material are memorable and rock hard. The sound production is for the most part very well sounding, but I think the snare drum sound takes a bit of power out of the music, which means that even the most hard pumped double pedal parts, sound less powerful than they could have.

At 60:00 minutes I think the album is a bit too long and there are a couple of tracks on the album that I could have done without, but with musicians/composers this skilled an album like "Straight Out of Hell" can never be less that really good (despite a few fillers). A 3.5 star (70%) rating is fair.
Despite being the pioneers of the so called European brand of power metal, and remaining to this day one of the genre’s most highly regarded acts, Germany’s Helloween have had a pretty up and down career. Straight Out of Hell is the fourteenth studio album from the group (or fifteenth if you count the non-metal re-recordings album Unarmed (2009)), released in 2013. Helloween has never had the most stable of line-ups but are currently in one of their more stable phases, having remained constant since the release of Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy (2005). The current line-up of the group has, in my opinion, produced some of the best albums of the group since Andi Deris took over lead vocal duties from their iconic former frontman Michael Kiske, including Straight Out of Hell’s direct predecessor 7 Sinners (2010) but even more so, Gambling with the Devil (2007), which I personal regard as the best of the Deris era, as well as the second best Helloween release overall, only bested by the classic Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I (1987). While I wasn’t personally very enthralled with Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy beyond it being another solid, business as usual Helloween release, and Unarmed being the very definition of a die-hard fans only release, after the last two proper studio albums I have to say I had a lot of hopes riding on Straight Out of Hell.

And early on in the album, with the opening track Nabataea, it seemed as if those hopes of mine had not only been met, but exceeded in every possible way. Nabataea easily ranks among the best songs from the Deris era and even gives much of the stuff from the classic first three albums a run for its money. The song shows a new side to Helloween which hasn’t been heard before expect in very small amounts on a couple of previous albums as the song is very much a symphonic power metal song. The symphonic element adds an extra layer to the Helloween sound which results in it being much more epic than ever before, while it retains all of the guitar driven heaviness that German power metal is characterised by. While still not a symphonic power metal album per se, the element is featured consistently across the album. Whether it’s there or not though, the first half of the album keeps up the pace almost all the time, with World of War being one of the heaviest and most intense tracks on offer. Aside from adding a symphonic element, the band’s riffs stay focused on power metal for much more of the album’s running time than ever before, with surprisingly very little of their more mid-paced traditional metal moments.

The problem however is that starting from track seven, Hold Me in Your Arms, Helloween seems to have run out of the creative steam, and the record begins to stall. This track in particular falls straight into the cliché ballad zone that power metal albums have become infamous for. It’s an area that Helloween have more or less managed to either avoid entirely or pull off in the past, but unfortunately they’ve finally fallen victim to it. The song isn’t too bad for what it is I suppose but it does feel unnecessary when you consider it alongside tracks like Nabataea, World of War and Burning Sun, which showcase a band still at the top of their game so far into a lengthy career. The real probably is that Straight Out of Hell’s downturn continues from here in, with the completely useless two minute excuse of a song called Wanna Be God. I honestly don’t know what the band was trying to achieve with this one. Featuring pretty much just vocals and drums, it somehow manages to bring to mind Queen’s We Will Rock You, the structure and style of the song is that similar. Only it just doesn’t manage to work for them, and all I can really consider the track to be is wasted playing time. It also appeared on the Burning Sun single, which is where it should have stayed if the band had to have it at all.

After this a little bit of redemption is found within the title track, but the song does pale in comparison next to some of the earlier tracks. The magic seems to have been lost by this time and the album takes its biggest downturn of all straight after in the form of Asshole, which in some aspects has claims to being the worst song Helloween have ever done. It seems to be an attempt to make an angry sounding song, but it simply fails to capture that mood on all levels, and ultimately ends up sounding like an immature exercise in swearing. The song has some redeeming features, and is actually pretty good until the chorus

The final three tracks offer up some more redemption, but when taking the album as a whole I’m just left in such shock at how Helloween thought a track like Asshole was worthy of one of their albums that the last three songs just failed to leave much of an impression the first time around, though fortunately they opened up a lot on subsequent spins. It’s pretty rare where one song can destroy much of the regard I have for an album so completely, but somehow Helloween managed it with this Asshole. Even Hold Me in Your Arms and Wanna Be God come across as acceptable filler compared to it. Fortunately with Church Breaks Down Helloween do manage to end on one of the album’s finest moments though.

At the end of the day I still have to objectively consider this another great Helloween release, because the first half rarely is not top tier material and it does indeed really pick up again after the majority of that dodgy middle is done with, title track aside. Subjectively however Helloween disappointed me with this one, as it’s one of their most inconsistent albums released to date. They gave their fans all the makings of another classic, and then spoilt it with a few failed experiments/sub-par songs. I suppose it’s quite the achievement in itself to make an album as bipolar as this. It’s far from their weakest album overall, those top tier songs do save it, but it is their weakest in some time and I can’t quite manage to justify rewarding it with anymore than a highest end ‘great album’ tier rating.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org/helloween-straight-out-of-hell-t2769.html))

Members reviews

I've been listening quite a lot to this album recently in my preparation to my first Helloween gig! Initially, this album sounded like a huge improvement over it's predecessor "7 Sinners" due to the omission of ridiculous rockers like "Where The Sinners Go" and "Are You Metal?". But my opinion changed dramatically after witnessing the band in a live setting.

The Helloween/Gamma Ray gig I saw featured a total of 5 tracks off "Straight Out Of Hell" with "Nabataea" and the title track being the most obvious setlist addition choices, even though Andi Deris wasn't able to sing the high pitch chorus line of the former. The other three tracks on the setlist included the extremely cheesy power ballad "Hold Me In Your Arms" and the crowd interactive "Live Now!" where Deris divided the audience in two and made one half shout 'Live Now!' while the other half had to sing the melody line that followed the shout. The fifth track was "Waiting For The Thunder" and I kind of feel that it's one of the borderline filler tracks that doesn't actually have much momentum to it. Luckily, the band more than made up for their songwriting with an energetic live performance and an amusing encore number with a guest spot by Kai Hansen!

I'm actually kind of confused about the band's setlist track choices seeing that they managed to leave out my personal favorites like the classic power metal tunes "World Of War", "Far From The Stars" and "Burning Sun", the latter has allegedly been previously featured on the setlist. I guess the band wants to mix things up during their live performances even though most people who go to their shows are primarily there to hear Helloween's classic power metal sound.

The album features another unexpected deviation from the power metal format in the drum and vocal track titled "Wanna Be God", which reminds a lot of the first part of "We Will Rock You", but the track really has no momentum to it since it ends prematurely leaving behind the full band conclusion, which was perfected by Queen. Overall, this is another mixed bag for Helloween who, in my opinion, haven't been able to deliver a solid album since "The Dark Ride". Allow me to note that I have yet to hear "Gambling With The Devil", so this opinion may actually change once I do so.

**** star songs: Nabataea (7:03) World Of War (4:56) Far From The Stars (4:41) Burning Sun (5:33) Straight Out Of Hell (4:33) Years (4:22)

*** star songs: Live Now! (3:10) Waiting For The Thunder (3:53) Wanna Be God (2:02) Make Fire Catch The Fly (4:22) Church Breaks Down (6:06)

** star songs: Hold Me In Your Arms (5:10) Asshole (4:09)

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