HELLOWEEN — Walls of Jericho

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HELLOWEEN - Walls of Jericho cover
3.97 | 70 ratings | 7 reviews
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Album · 1985

Filed under Speed Metal
By HELLOWEEN

Tracklist

1. Walls of Jericho (0:49)
2. Ride the Sky (5:57)
3. Reptile (3:45)
4. Guardians (4:19)
5. Phantoms of Death (6:37)
6. Metal Invaders (4:11)
7. Gorgar (3:55)
8. Heavy Metal (Is the Law) (4:02)
9. How Many Tears (7:17)

Total Time: 40:56

Line-up/Musicians

- Kai Hansen / vocals, guitars
- Michael Weikath / guitars
- Markus Grosskopf / bass
- Ingo Schwichtenberg / drums

Guest musicians:

- James Hardway / emulator
- Chris Boltendahl / vocals

About this release

Release date: October 1, 1985
Label: Noise Records

Most CD versions contain the EP "Helloween" as tracks 1 - 5 and the track "Judas" from the "Judas" maxi as track 15, with the actually Walls of Jericho album sandwiched in between.

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

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HELLOWEEN WALLS OF JERICHO reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Unitron
"Give me wings to fly, ride the sky!"

When people think of classic power metal, Helloween is usually the first band to come to mind. After all, they did release the legendary Keeper of the Seven Keys Parts 1 and 2, which have since became known as two of the greatest metal albums of the 80's. However, before leading the way of the German power metal scene, Helloween released one of the most melodic yet at the same time heaviest thrash/speed metal albums at the time of 1985.

After a short orchestral intro title track, you're thrown right into a storm of riffs and cannonball drums that rain down upon the listener that is called "Ride the Sky". This might simply be the greatest and heaviest song Helloween ever wrote. It really sets a mood, conjuring up images of dogfights in the sky with bullets flying at top speed. It's followed up with "Reptile" which pounds itself into your head, with a real marching stomp of a main riff. That's what you'll get on this album, it will either shred at blinding speeds or pound a stomping groove through your skull. "Heavy Metal (Is the Law)" could not be titled better, as this is a speeding masterpiece that continuously throws catchy guitar and bass riffs and crazy solos. This is a song made for the stage.

While it's hard to beat "Ride the Sky", "Gorgar" may actually take it's place. Talk about a headbanging anthem! It instantly reels you in with a groovy hook, and it becomes impossible to not headbang and scream along. Add in the fantastic metal rendition of Edvard Grieg's classic Hall of the Mountain King as the bridge, and you've got a masterpiece.

This is the only Helloween album that features Kai Hansen on vocals, so this sounds more like what would end up being Gamma Ray then the Helloween most people know. He has a unique and distinct voice that really suits everything that the music does, whether it be thrash, power, or speed. Markus Grosskopf really gets plenty of time to shine on the bass end, you can almost always hear the rumbling, clicking, and shredding basslines. In particular, the closing epic "How Many Tears" highlights this best. "Heavy Metal (Is the Law)" gives some time for some showing off with bass riffs a plenty.

As much as I love the classic Keeper of the Seven Keys albums, Walls of Jericho has always been my favorite Helloween album. It's got the edge of thrash, with the melody of power metal. It's a match made in heaven, and never worked better. If you want to get the definitive version, be sure to get the one that includes their amazing self-titled EP and the blazing classic "Judas". Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!
siLLy puPPy
Tucked in amongst the diversifying sounds that were emerging in the 80s, the metal world found one German band in particular finding a way to carve out a new niche now called power metal by taking the melodic influences of bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and marrying them with a ferocity emerging in the fledgling thrash metal movement as was gestating by the likes of Metallica and Slayer. HELLOWEEN, while most notable for their “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” power combo which pretty much raised the bar high from the very beginning actually had dabbled in the more raw and primeval world of speed metal on their debut album WALLS OF JERICHO. Released in 1985, HELLOWEEN was a new breed of band that was quickly taking the traditional sounds heard in the NWOBHM, emphasizing the melodies, deemphasizing the punk influences and adding more aggressiveness, virtuosity in guitar solos as well as the speed, which have earned this particular transition period as being tagged speed metal.

WALLS OF JERICHO, released in October 1985, can be seen as a mere extension of their debut eponymous EP which was released in April 1985 and were only separated for limitations of time length on vinyl LP records at the time. The album has two significant track listings. The original vinyl contained a mere nine tracks beginning with the title track but as soon as CD technology became common place the album was reformatted in 1987 to include the eponymous EP to provide the first five tracks as well as the bonus track titled “Judas” which very much takes a cue from the great “Judas Priest” not in style and compositional methodology but equally shows how the band had diverged from the sound as much as it shows the similarities at this point. So intertwined are the combo effect of the debut EP with the debut LP that most newer releases don’t even bother to distinguish how the tracks were really separate releases in the beginning.

HELLOWEEN was a different band at this point. Before Michael Kiske would join the band as the vibrant poster child vocalist for the entire power metal scene that the band launched with their “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” fantasy albums, vocals were performed by Kai Hansen who offered a more gritty raw 80s metal sound to the band. His style was very similar to Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson without the distinguished operatic perfections. Like many an 80s metal band, lyrics were based in fantasy, morbidity and just plain fun as well (“Gorgar” is about a pinball game whereas “Heavy Metal (Is The Law)” provided a mindless anthem for fans to sing along about how great it was to bang their heads to metal music! How innocent were those days! Musically WALLS OF JERICHO shows a great deal of derivative tracks such as “Phantoms Of Death” which shows a “2 Minutes 2 Midnight” Iron Maiden type of riffing at first only to become a Judas Priest type of track reminding me a bit “The Sentinel.” Many other tracks are clearly linked to the NWOBHM heroes of the days but tracks like “Guardian” already show a clear deviation from the pack with pure power metal attributes and a prognosticator of exactly where the band was steering their sound.

The debut album by HELLOWEEN is hardly a perfect one for it does have a rather inconsistent selection of tracks that sometimes ring too close to their influences and sometimes surprise as to how far the band had already developed their sound at this point. From the production side of things, WALLS OF JERICHO is much less polished than the albums that immediately followed. This one is a filthy raw metal affair, one that serves it well for a debut as it gave HELLOWEEN the proper street creds to build their sound upon. When push comes to shove, i have to admit that WALLS OF JERICHO is hardly the most sophisticated album of the era dwarfed by the greats of the day as well as by the band's own following masterpieces but there is truly something special about WALLS OF JERICHO. It has an energy and feel unlike anything else of the era. True that bands like Omen were in the same camp, but no one else pulled it off quite like HELLOWEEN. When it comes down to it this is simply an enjoyable album to listen to even if one can intellectually find flaws in the analysis, at least it is quite the enjoyable album for me.
Warthur
Helloween's debut album offers a more speed metal-oriented sound than the classic Keeper of the Seven Keys albums that would follow, and whilst they'd never quite go back to this rawer style it's nice that we did at least get one album in this mode from them. It isn't always especially original - Heavy Metal (Is the Law), in particular, seems to be following the 1980s metal law that every generic speed metal album must include a song about how much you like heavy metal - but there's still a few gems on here like Reptile and the overall album is still quite fun.
Kingcrimsonprog
In late 1985, the legendary German Melodic Power Metal band Helloween came out of Berlin’s Music Lab studios and released their debut full-length studio album, Walls Of Jericho. In so doing, the band arguably changed heavy music forever.

Lead by the very talented Kai Hansen, who would later go on to become the frontman of Gamma Ray and help form Iron Saviour, the band combined powerful US style Thrash Metal (despite being fellow countrymen with the likes of Sodom, Destruction and Holy Moses) with British NWOBHM and their own unique sense of melody and whimsy that would ultimately prove vastly influential over the whole European Power Metal movement.

Compared to later albums, Walls Of Jericho is faster, harder, heavier and more rooted in the Thrash tradition than anything else. If you only knew them from singles like “Mrs God,” “If I Could Fly” and “Live Now” it might come as a shock to hear how raw and ferocious the material here can be.

That being said, everything that would come later in both Helloween and Gamma Ray’s signature sound can be picked up on here. ‘Metal Invaders’ for example tones down the Thrash and adds some of that Power Metal magic, as does the middle of ‘Ride The Sky.’

The record does a pretty good split between the styles of Kai Hansen and Mikael Weikath, in a real spot who wrote what kind of way. The real hero here however is drummer Ingo Schwitchenberg, who’s one of a kind fills and absolute mastery of the double-kick gave such a personality filled performance. Highlights include the furious ‘Metal Invaders,’ the damn catchy ‘Heavy Metal (Is The Law)’ and the memorable duo of ‘Gorgar’ and the aforementioned ‘Ride The Sky.’

Negative things? There aren’t that many. Maybe the vocals could’ve been recorded better and placed higher in the mix, and some of the transitions are jarring so structure isn’t as spot on as in the later albums, but arguably both points only add to the charm of the album, which vastly outweighs the technical complaints anyway.

Overall; Walls Of Jericho is a rawer, grittier, dirtier and more aggressive Helloween album than usual, but undeniably a Helloween album. It isn’t just interesting as historical context either, its fully entertaining in its own right musically. There are some brilliant riffs, some amazing solos and some damn catchy choruses to be found.

If you can, try and get the version which also contains the equally strong Helloween EP and assorted other compilation tracks from this era. It features extensive liner notes, photos, press clippings and the like in the booklet, and the extra music is more or less just as good as the main album.
adg211288
Walls of Jericho, released in the 1985, is the debut full-length album from German power metal legends Helloween. At this stage in their career the band was much more the speed metal act however, although Walls of Jericho contains some traits of the power metal that the band would go on to pioneer. It’s also the only full-length within the discography to feature the vocals of Kai Hansen, who would go on to record a further two albums with the band, but only as a guitarist. He would later return to being a full-time frontman with Gamma Ray.

The Helloween here is a much rawer sounding band than what they would ultimately go on to be known for. Hansen’s vocals are high pitched, the music fast and the leads blazing. The bass has quite a prominent role in the mix, which is clear but not all that polished, fitting to the speed metal direction of the music. An early highlight is Ride the Sky, which showcases all these elements at their very best. I think it remains one of Helloween’s best tracks really despite the power metal masterpieces that would follow this album.

The problem is that although it has its gems, Walls of Jericho is also an inconsistent album. Although it gets off to a great start with Ride the Sky and the following Reptile, there are also tracks that just don’t stand up to their greatness, such as Gorgar, and some which are definitely enjoyable but have some faults that hold them back from classic status, such as Guardians. Some of the album is just plain cheese as well, and this is before Helloween were even fully in power metal territory.

So far I’ve talked of the album with its original tracklist. You’ll actually find that most if not all CD versions come with the preceding self-titled EP at the start of the disc as well as an additional track, Judas, at the end. These are good additions to the album, making it a much more full experience to the early speed metal Helloween, especially since it contains the early gem Victim of Fate. Things would change pretty quickly after this, for the better in my opinion although I am aware that there is a portion of fans who wouldn’t agree, and Walls of Jericho is a solid early offering from the classic band.

8.3/10

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))
Time Signature
Ride the sky...

Genre: speed metal / power metal

This is the debut full-length release by power metal legends Helloween, and it contains nine well crafted tracks which draw on pwer metal, speed metal traditional metal and also a bit of thrash metal.

The guitar distortion is quite dirty for a Helloween release, but that adds a welcome sense of brutality; I think this album also contains some of the most aggressive and brutal riffage ever produced by Helloween (such as the main riff of "Ride the Sky" and the opening riff of "Guardians"). Unfortunately, as was typical of 80s metal, the entire production is drowned in reverb which muddies everything up.

I think that the weakness of this album is Kai Hansen's shrill and rather thin voice. I mean, he was a great guitarist and songwriter already back then, but he sure wasn't the geratest singer in the world. Fortunately, his annoying singing does not ruin the listening experience in its totality.

I'd recommend this to fans of German speed metal, German pwer metal and traditional and thrash metal as well.

Members reviews

RuneWalsh2112
I'm sure that fans of the band's EP were not disappointed with the material that they've got to experience of Helloween's full length album. "Walls Of Jericho" not only shows signs of progression from the raw and unpolished sound of their debut EP but there are also a few more sounds and sights added to the mix.

The album's obligatory intro followed by another classic Hansen scream are just as epic as they were on the EP but then Helloween delivers the track that can easily be considered their best fusion of the Thrash/Speed Metal styles with a hint of Power Metal sprinkled just to add some flavor to the mix. "Ride The Sky" is easily my favorite track on the album, even though the closing number "How Many Tears" does come close to excellence as well on a few occasions.

Unfortunately I've never really enjoyed the more straightforward approach of "Reptile" and "Gorgar", both of which began a trend of filler tracks on all the consecutive Helloween releases. "Guardians" can be considered the first true Power Metal track and it's quite an enjoyable introduction to the sub-genre that the band would be known for in just a few years time. "Phantoms Of Death" and "Metal Invaders" remind me a lot of "Murderer" and "Warrior", from the EP. Both are pretty enjoyable in their own right.

"Heavy Metal (Is The Law)" is a straightforward head banging anthem that I have a love and hate relationship with. It's a pretty awesome track that I love to spin on a few occasions but can never listen to it all the way through because of it's repetitive nature. "How Many Tears" returns the band to greatness. This time it's actually Weikath who shows that he's quite a composer in his own right and that's pretty much everything I have to say about this track!

"Walls Of Jericho" is definitely an excellent debut from a band that we're clearly on their way to greatness. The next two albums might have made them the icons that they are today but I really hope that fans won't overlook the band's humble beginnings since they are definitely worth your time and attention!

***** star songs: Walls Of Jericho (0:49) Ride The Sky (5:57) Guardians (4:19) How Many Tears (7:17)

**** star songs: Phantoms Of Death (6:37) Metal Invaders (4:11) Heavy Metal (Is The Law) (4:02)

*** star songs: Reptile (3:45) Gorgar (3:55)

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