HELLOWEEN — The Dark Ride

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HELLOWEEN - The Dark Ride cover
3.80 | 48 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2000

Filed under Power Metal


1. Beyond the Portal (0:45)
2. Mr. Torture (3:27)
3. All Over the Nations (4:54)
4. Escalation 666 (4:24)
5. Mirror, Mirror (3:43)
6. If I Could Fly (4:09)
7. Salvation (5:42)
8. The Departed (Sun Is Going Down) (4:36)
9. I Live for Your Pain (3:59)
10. We Damn the Night (4:06)
11. Immortal (4:04)
12. The Dark Ride (8:48)

Total Time: 52:43


- Andi Deris / Vocals
- Michael Weikath / Guitars
- Roland Grapow / Guitars
- Markus Grosskopf / Bass
- Uli Kusch / Drums

Guest musicians:

- Jörn Ellerbrock / Keyboards
- Rolf Kohler / Backing Vocals
- William "Billy" King / Backing Vocals

About this release

Release date: October 30, 2000
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Thanks to adg211288, diamondblack, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The Dark Ride, from 2000, is the ninth full-length studio album by the legendary German Power Metal band Helloween. It was produced by Roy Z (Halford, Judas Priest, Bruce Dickenson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Sepultura) and Charlie Bauerfeind (Angra, Blind Guardian, Primal Fear, Hammerfall) and released through Nuclear Blast records.

It was the fourth and final record by the Derris, Weikath, Grapow, Grosskopf, Kutch line-up, who released the Master Of The Rings, Time Of The Oath and Better Than Raw albums in the 90s. After this album, guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch left Helloween and started the band Masterplan.

Sometimes people tend to dismiss The Dark Ride as a bad record and sometimes people tend to think of it as a massive departure from the band’s usual style. I feel this album is a bit of an underdog album in their discography that has a bad rap that it doesn’t deserve. Initially I wasn’t crazy about it, but it is a real grower and with repeat listens I really, really warmed to its charms.

It is undoubtedly true that there are a few mid-tempo numbers like “The Departed (Sun Is Going Down),” “Immortal (Stars)” and “Mirror, Mirror,” some of which have with some downtuned guitars and pinch harmonics (“Escalation 666”) which isn’t what you’d expect from this band most of the time …and of course, there is a Power Ballad (“If I Could Fly”), but to be fair, there has been one on every Helloween album since The Keepers.

There are however also some of the bouncy, happy, up-tempo Power Metal songs with melodic choruses and great guitar solos just like you’d expect from Helloween (“Salvation,” “All Over The Nations,” “We Damn The Night,” “The Dark Ride”). As well as just fitting the bill of being in the band’s usual style, these are top-quality tracks as well. The Title-Track in particular is excellent. If you wonder whether this album is too dark for you, give the Title Track a listen first.

I wouldn’t make this your first Helloween record if you are a newcomer (Go for the Keeper Of The Seven Keys albums) or your first Derris-era record if you are a Derris-skeptic (Go for Time Of The Oath) but it is still a good record with a lot to offer and not worth skipping entirely. The musicianship, vocals and production job are all pretty great and there’s plenty of memorable and enjoyable material on offer throughout.

If you are an existing Helloween fan but haven’t chosen to pick up a copy of The Dark Ride yet, I don’t think its wise to think of this album as being way too different from the Helloween you know and love. Even if you only like Helloween doing strictly their usual stuff, you’ll enjoy half of the record. Furthermore, Even when songs aren’t in the style you expect from the band, they are usually quite great songs anyway. “I Live For Your Pain” for example isn’t speedy, but it has a great melodic chorus and an absolutely fantastic guitar solo. When you’re listening to the finely produced record, during an uplifting neoclassical sounding guitar solo you should find yourself entertained, even if magazine reviews at the time said the album was darker than usual.

Overall; The Dark Ride is not your typical Helloween record, and sees the band adding a few more strings to their bow, but there’s still plenty of what makes them great in there, and just because there is some change, does not necessarily mean its bad change, look at it more like a bit of variety to break up things and keep it interesting. Don’t miss out on this one due to the reputation.

Members reviews

I pretty much lost my interest for Helloween after the departure of Kai Hansen and even through I did give "The Time Of The Oath" and "Better Than Raw" a few chances, both of those records left me feeling very unsatisfied with the band's lack of memorable compositions and prominent vocalist who could match the magnificent Michael Kiske. Luckily some of this had changed with the release of "The Dark Ride". For the first time in many years the band finally returned to the pure Power Metal style that they were known for in the past.

After the short intro we get the album's second single "Mr. Torture" ("If I Could Fly" being the first one) and it's quite a memorable track in its own right! Michael Weikath definitely shows that his love for fast songs is not dead with "All Over The Nations", and "Salvation", two of the only tracks that were written by him on this album(!). Marcus Grosskopf is also surprisingly absent in the songwriting department with his only credit making an appearance among the bonus tracks. Instead it's Andi Deris who makes the most contributions to the material with half of the tracks listed under his name! This could possibly explain the enthusiasm that his vocal performance contributes to the material and thus making it the first great achievement after three less impressive albums with Helloween!

Having said all that, I find Uli Kusch's contribution of "Mr. Torture" and, the album's biggest highlight, "The Departed" to be the most impressive of the bunch. "The Dark Ride" was the album where all the (relatively) new members of the band showed they were just as capable in the songwriting as they are in the instrumental departments and thus achieving a new renaissance for the band! The journey to achieving former greatness was still far away but now, more than ever since "Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II", it finally seemed possible for the band to return and even surpass their glorious past. Having said that, "The Dark Ride" is still merely a step in the right direction and it would probably need a few more albums before all the gears would be properly set in motion.

I feel that most of Andi Deris's compositions are still not on par with the rest of the collective and there aren't really any real standout moments in the mix either (even though "The Departed" does come close). Instead we get a well balanced comeback album that serves as a great demo for the potential glory that may lay ahead if Helloween continues to sharpen their songwriting.

**** star songs: Beyond The Portal (0:45) Mr. Torture (3:27) All Over The Nations (4:54) Escalation 666 (4:24) Salvation (5:42) The Departed (Sun Is Going Down) (4:36) We Damn The Night (4:06) Immortal (4:04) The Dark Ride (8:48)

*** star songs: Mirror, Mirror (3:43) If I Could Fly (4:09) I Live For Your Pain (3:59)

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