HELLOWEEN

Power Metal / Speed Metal / Hard Rock / Heavy Metal • Germany
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Helloween is a heavy/power/speed metal band from Germany founded in 1983 by members of Iron Fist and Powerfool. Helloween are known as major innovators of power metal.

Members today are Andi Deris – Vocals, Michael Weikath – Guitar, Backing vocals, Sascha Gerstner – Guitar, Backing vocals, Markus Grosskopf – Bass, Backing vocals and Daniel Löble – Drums

The original line-up featured Kai Hansen (Vocals/Guitars), Michael Weikath (Guitars), Markus Grosskopf (Bass) and Ingo Schwichtenberg (Drums). In 1984 the band had signed a deal with Noise Records and recorded two songs for a Noise compilation record called Death Metal. The two tracks were "Oernst Of Life" by Weikath, and Hansen's "Metal Invaders" which later on ended up in a faster version on the bands first full-length album.

1985 came around and Helloween then recorded their first record Helloween, a self-titled EP containing 5 tracks. The EP was successful, and during
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Keepers of the Seven Keys PT. 2Keepers of the Seven Keys PT. 2
Sanctuary 2008
$8.26
$6.41 (used)
United Alive (2-BluRay Digibook ) [Blu-ray]United Alive (2-BluRay Digibook ) [Blu-ray]
Nuclear Blast 2019
$42.38
United Alive (3-CD)United Alive (3-CD)
Nuclear Blast 2019
$97.31
Keepers of the Seven Keys PT. 1Keepers of the Seven Keys PT. 1
Sanctuary 2008
$6.29
$2.98 (used)
Pumpkins UnitedPumpkins United
Victor Entertainment 2018
$14.79
$15.77 (used)
Gambling With The Devil (CD)Gambling With The Devil (CD)
Nuclear Blast 2019
$10.65
$11.42 (used)
Time of the OathTime of the Oath
Remastered
Sanctuary Uk 2008
$8.27
$6.36 (used)
Pink Bubbles Go ApePink Bubbles Go Ape
Sanctuary Uk 2008
$6.25
$5.02 (used)
Straight Out of HellStraight Out of Hell
Sony 2013
$10.40
$9.71 (used)
My God-Given RightMy God-Given Right
Nuclear Blast Records 2015
$4.73
$4.73 (used)
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HELLOWEEN Discography

HELLOWEEN albums / top albums

HELLOWEEN Walls of Jericho album cover 4.01 | 70 ratings
Walls of Jericho
Speed Metal 1985
HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I album cover 4.43 | 94 ratings
Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I
Power Metal 1987
HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II album cover 4.49 | 115 ratings
Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II
Power Metal 1988
HELLOWEEN Pink Bubbles Go Ape album cover 3.24 | 44 ratings
Pink Bubbles Go Ape
Heavy Metal 1991
HELLOWEEN Chameleon album cover 2.87 | 47 ratings
Chameleon
Hard Rock 1993
HELLOWEEN Master of the Rings album cover 3.59 | 48 ratings
Master of the Rings
Power Metal 1994
HELLOWEEN The Time of the Oath album cover 3.80 | 46 ratings
The Time of the Oath
Power Metal 1996
HELLOWEEN Better Than Raw album cover 4.05 | 50 ratings
Better Than Raw
Power Metal 1998
HELLOWEEN Metal Jukebox album cover 3.01 | 25 ratings
Metal Jukebox
Heavy Metal 1999
HELLOWEEN The Dark Ride album cover 3.78 | 47 ratings
The Dark Ride
Power Metal 2000
HELLOWEEN Rabbit Don't Come Easy album cover 3.39 | 37 ratings
Rabbit Don't Come Easy
Power Metal 2003
HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy album cover 3.71 | 39 ratings
Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy
Power Metal 2005
HELLOWEEN Gambling With the Devil album cover 3.56 | 39 ratings
Gambling With the Devil
Power Metal 2007
HELLOWEEN 7 Sinners album cover 3.71 | 43 ratings
7 Sinners
Power Metal 2010
HELLOWEEN Straight Out of Hell album cover 3.64 | 30 ratings
Straight Out of Hell
Power Metal 2013
HELLOWEEN My God-Given Right album cover 3.58 | 16 ratings
My God-Given Right
Power Metal 2015

HELLOWEEN EPs & splits

HELLOWEEN Death Metal album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Death Metal
Speed Metal 1984
HELLOWEEN Metal Attack Vol. 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Attack Vol. 1
Speed Metal 1985
HELLOWEEN Helloween album cover 4.07 | 24 ratings
Helloween
Speed Metal 1985
HELLOWEEN Mr Ego (Take Me Down) EP album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mr Ego (Take Me Down) EP
Power Metal 1994
HELLOWEEN Lay All Your Love on Me album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
Lay All Your Love on Me
Power Metal 1999
HELLOWEEN The Sage, the Fool, the Sinner / Bring them to Light album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Sage, the Fool, the Sinner / Bring them to Light
Power Metal 2011

HELLOWEEN live albums

HELLOWEEN Live in the U.K. album cover 4.37 | 11 ratings
Live in the U.K.
Power Metal 1989
HELLOWEEN I Want Out album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
I Want Out
Power Metal 1989
HELLOWEEN High Live album cover 3.62 | 4 ratings
High Live
Power Metal 1996
HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy: World Tour 2005/2006 album cover 3.90 | 5 ratings
Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy: World Tour 2005/2006
Power Metal 2007

HELLOWEEN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

HELLOWEEN Demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo
Speed Metal 1984
HELLOWEEN Death Metal Demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Death Metal Demo
Speed Metal 1984

HELLOWEEN re-issues & compilations

HELLOWEEN Pumpkin Tracks album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Pumpkin Tracks
Power Metal 1989
HELLOWEEN The Best, The Rest, The Rare album cover 4.64 | 7 ratings
The Best, The Rest, The Rare
Power Metal 1991
HELLOWEEN Pumpkin Box album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Pumpkin Box
Power Metal 1998
HELLOWEEN Buried Treasure album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Buried Treasure
Power Metal 2002
HELLOWEEN Treasure Chest album cover 3.67 | 3 ratings
Treasure Chest
Power Metal 2002
HELLOWEEN Unarmed - Best of 25th Anniversary album cover 2.69 | 24 ratings
Unarmed - Best of 25th Anniversary
Non-Metal 2010

HELLOWEEN singles (25)

.. Album Cover
4.57 | 3 ratings
Judas
Speed Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Future World
Power Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Dr. Stein
Power Metal 1988
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
I Want Out
Power Metal 1988
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kids of the Century
Heavy Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Number One
Heavy Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Windmill
Hard Rock 1993
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
When the Sinner
Hard Rock 1993
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 1 ratings
Step Out of Hell
Hard Rock 1993
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Don't Wanna Cry No More
Hard Rock 1993
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sole Survivor
Power Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Perfect Gentleman
Power Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Power
Power Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Forever and One (Neverland)
Power Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Time of the Oath
Power Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Can
Power Metal 1998
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hey Lord!
Power Metal 1998
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
If I Could Fly
Power Metal 2000
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mr. Torture
Power Metal 2000
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Just a Little Sign
Power Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 1 ratings
Mrs. God
Power Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Light the Universe
Power Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
As Long as I Fall
Power Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 1 ratings
Are You Metal?
Power Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 1 ratings
Burning Sun
Power Metal 2012

HELLOWEEN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.85 | 5 ratings
Helloween - High Live
Power Metal 1997
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 2 ratings
Hellish Videos: The Complete Video Collection
Power Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
United Alive
Power Metal 2019

HELLOWEEN Reviews

HELLOWEEN Walls of Jericho

Album · 1985 · Speed Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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!

HELLOWEEN Chameleon

Album · 1993 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
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.

HELLOWEEN Walls of Jericho

Album · 1985 · Speed Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II

Album · 1988 · Power Metal
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Vim Fuego
Say you’re a German heavy metal band, and in 1987, you released an album called “Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1”. It is a melodic metal tour de force, spawning the band’s debut single, garnering great critical acclaim, and racking up immense praise from fans. What do you do next? Simple. You release “Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2”, and completely blitz the previous album.

Helloween intended to release the two “Keeper of the Seven Keys” albums as a double album, but the band’s record company forced them to split the release. It hardly matters now, because no self-respecting Helloween fan would be without both albums. However, it made “Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1” seem a little silly, because the title track wasn’t on it. The record company interference has also long been thought to be a key factor behind Kai Hansen’s departure from the band after this album’s release.

Helloween were often unfairly compared to Iron Maiden during their early career. The similarities were pretty superficial. Yes, both bands had two guitarists, a great singer, an ear for melody, and a penchant for crafting epic masterpiece songs. But that’s where the similarities end. For anyone whose ears aren’t painted on, it’s quite obvious both bands play different styles of metal. Iron Maiden redefined what was meant by heavy metal, taking Judas Priest’s British steel and Black Sabbath’s never say die attitude to new heights. Helloween, heavily influenced by The Scorpions’ animal magnetism, injected melody into thrash metal like no other band before them.

Some of these songs are among the greatest examples of melodic thrash you will ever hear. Yes, this style of metal now gets the label power metal, but back in 1988, it was still called thrash. The brief instrumental “Invitation”, a bombastic military march, replete with brass, and an angelic choir, leads into the muscular main riff of “Eagle Fly Free”, and the album is off and running! The choppy rhythms of Hansen and Michael Weikath are driven by drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg’s double kick drum barrage and Marcus Grosskopf’s virtuoso bass. Over it, Michael Kiske weaves an allegoric tale, with a soaring eagle chorus.

“Rise and Fall” follows the same formula, except the chorus is even more magnificent, more sing-a-long-able, and Kiske hits some glorious high notes. “Dr Stein” was released as the album’s first single, and on the surface seems like a song about Dr Frankenstein. A closer examination of the lyrics however, reveals a more political theme. Musically, it is a cheerful, bouncy thrash/power-pop song, and even offers a pipe organ break Dr Phibes would be proud of. “We Got the Right” changes the pace somewhat, a driving, serious power ballad with stratospheric vocals.

For some strange reason, Helloween seem quite adept at writing memorable songs, but their titles are far from inspiring. “You Always Walk Alone” is a great song, with incredibly strong vocal melodies, a variety of very different guitar solos, and a stunning percussion performance by Schwichtenberg, but has such a forgettable, bland title. “March of Time” and “Save Us” all suffer similar fates- damn fine songs, but ditch-water dull titles.

The Kai Hansen penned “I Want Out” was the album’s second single, and to this day, remains Helloween’s biggest and possibly best song. The opening riff is instantly recognisable. The chanted chorus is powerful, and the refrain of “I want out/to live my life and to be free” speaks volumes to so many people on so many levels about so many situations. It could have been speaking of the political situation of the still divided Germany, to a teen weighed down by the angst of his age, a prisoner or slave desiring freedom, or perhaps Kai Hansen’s desire to untie himself from the band.

So how do you follow a career defining single? With a career defining saga of course! The scope of the multi-faceted, near-14-minute fantasy “Keeper of the Seven Keys” rivals Iron Maiden’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (there’s that comparison again!) for scope, if not quite for execution or composition. While somewhat shorter than Lord of the Rings, it is a tale of travels and treasure, and demons and deception. Whether it is to be taken at face value or there is a deeper meaning, it’s a ripping yarn told in song.

And what do you follow that with? Well, depending on the version of the album you have, either contemplative silence, which leaves you wanting to replay the album again, or “Save Us”. While not a bad song in itself, probably the closest to a conventional thrash song on offer, it doesn’t work at the end of the album, seeming like a tacked on left-over, or a Japanese b-side. It is neither, originally being the seventh song on the album. It has been stuck there in one of those unfathomable decisions made when the album was remastered.

“Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2” marked the end of an era for Helloween. Founding member Kai Hansen left the band soon after its release, and forged a successful career with his own band Gamma Ray. Helloween also abandoned the fantasy driven melodic thrash the band had pioneered, instead committing near career suicide with the post-modern silliness of “Pink Bubbles Go Ape”, and the radio rock infused “Chameleon”, before returning to their power metal roots. The Keeper of the Seven Keys legend was eventually revisited in 2005 with “Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy”, but the band has never quite recaptured the magic. It matters not, because “Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2” still exists, and expecting Helloween to better it is the definition of insanity.

HELLOWEEN 7 Sinners

Album · 2010 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
The true followup to Gambling With the Devil - the anniversary release Unarmed essentially being an acoustic and orchestral tangent - 7 Sinners finds Helloween playing in much the same style as they did on that album, with perhaps a bit more of a consistent atmosphere than that release, the music here being angled towards the darker end of that sound. "Going darker" usually a good way to make metal fans' ears prick up, at least momentarily, but to me 7 Sinners neither represents a solid step up over the somewhat lukewarm Gambling With the Devil nor one of Helloween's occasional serious missteps - it's one more acceptable but inessential album in their catalogue which fans will probably enjoy, but which won't trouble the likes of the Keeper of the Seven Keys albums when it comes to a place in the top tier of Helloween albums.

HELLOWEEN Movies Reviews

HELLOWEEN United Alive

Movie · 2019 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kingcrimsonprog
Imagine a Judas Priest show with both Tim Ripper Owens and Rob Halford singing together. No wait… Imagine a Sepultura show with both Max Cavelera and Derick Green singing. No wait, that’s not even it. I’ve got it… Imagine an Iron Maiden show with Paul Dianno, Bruce Dickinson and Blaze Bailey all singing. Well, maybe, if Dickinson had left after four albums and Blaze had been there ever since. Ok, Now swap out the zombie mascot for some comedy pumpkins and you’re approaching the situation here. Helloween, one of Germany’s biggest and most important bands, one of the most iconic Power Metal bands in history, with one of the most impressive family trees (Gamma Ray, Masterplan, Freedom Call, Unisonic, Iron Savior etc) make one of the most anticipated decisions in the history of the genre.

Who is your favourite Helloween singer? Is it Kai Hansen, the heaviest singer and the original? Is it Michael Kiske, the most technically accomplished and the one from their most iconic record? Or is it Andi Deris, their best frontman and the singer on the most albums? – Turns out, now you don’t have to choose. United Alive, the live video from the Pumpkins United tour sees all three join the stage together, cracking out a career spanning mixture of material from the earliest thrashiest material to the modern gems, with all the iconic genre defining masterpieces from the peerless Keepers’ era sprinkled in too.

There are over 20 tracks here (some are intros and solos, and some are medleys/combinations, but still…) that’s a lot of Helloween. All three singers take it turns to sing. Sometimes not even a song each, but rather dividing it up section by section inside each song, or all at once. It is very welcome to hear them back on some of their own tracks like ‘Heavy Metal Is The Law’ after not hearing it on the other live videos, or ‘Dr. Stein’ after having heard only Deri’s take on it previously. Conversely it is very interesting to see Kai or Kiske sing on some of the big commercial ‘90s/’00s hits like ‘Perfect Gentleman’ or ‘If I Could Fly.’

There are often 7 members on stage at the one time (or 8 if you count the keyboardist, Eddy Wrapiprou). There’s Weikath and Grosskopft on guitar and bass as always. Sascha Gerstner and Daniel Löble on guitar and drums like the last several albums. And the three aforementioned singers (with Kai also playing guitar).

There’s a mix of footage, ranging from headline shows in Madrid, Spain to festival appearances at Wacken and in Brazil. Sort of like they did already on their previous ‘Legacy World Tour 2005/2006 DVD.

Normally I really prefer a concert DVD to come from one single show, rather than complied from a series of different dates in different places with different lighting, sound and camera work, but given that the band itself is now a compilation of past and present members and some of the songs included are medleys, I don’t know why but it just works here.

The band put on a great show. There’s a lot going on. There’s video screens, a big pumpkin stage set piece around the drum kit (which has 4 kickdrums for some reason, just to add to the over-the-top feel of it all), a light show, and a few cheesy moments like members coming out dressed in a top hat and cane, or raining pumpkin balloons.

Deris, ever the consummate front man is great at revving up the crowd, and then the different members get spotlights for certain tunes and join up on others, there’s prolonged solo segments, a tribute to late drummer Ingo Schichtenberg, its all very diverse and entertaining. They even do a stripped-down bare bones version of the ballad ‘Forever And One’ straight after a super heavy Walls Of Jericho/EP medley, which pretty much shows both polar opposites of the band’s varied discography.

There’s multiple different ways you can buy it. DVD, Blu Ray, combinations thereof. Versions with CDs. The version I got it two Blu Rays. One with the concert and one with a load of extra footage. There’s a few extra songs (Including the underrated ‘Kids Of The Century’ from the oft maligned Pink Bubbles Go Ape album). There’s a bunch of behind the scenes footage looking at various aspects of the tour and production. It comes in a nice shiny digi-book with some brief liner notes and a glossy photo booklet. You know, just as if it wasn’t value for money enough already with an almost three-hour concert of a Helloween fan’s wildest fantasy line-up.

As a concept you really have to hand it to them; its quite a clever move to reuinite with past members without losing current members as some fans never got over Kiske leaving the band or only ever even tried the Keepers albums. Some fans really love the Kai era and you never get to see Helloween play much material from it anymore (you only really get the chance if he chucks one in to a Gamma Ray show some time). Its a great idea to reel them back in and show them how great the Deris era can be too. Come for ‘Halloween’ and ‘Future World’ but stay for ‘Sole Survivor’ and ‘Power’ then learn to love the Deris era if you don’t already.

Thankfully though, its not just the concept that’s good. The whole package is good. The sound, footage, editing and bonus material. Most importantly though, the performance. It doesn’t come across as a novelty cash grab, it really feels like a jubilant celebration. As they say in the opening track ‘Halloween’ ”There’s magic in the air.” This may be cheesy to say (but hey, if you like Helloween, you better be used to cheesy) but it really is a heavy metal dream come true. Buy it!

HELLOWEEN Helloween - High Live

Movie · 1997 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kingcrimsonprog
High Live is a concert DVD by the legendary German Power Metal band Helloween, recorded in Milan, Italy (and Gerona, Spain) in 1996 on the Time Of The Oath tour.

The main feature is a scorching 84-minute concert, in which an energetic and totally on-form band blast through a lot of material from Master Of The Rings and Time Of The Oath to an enthusiastic crowd. Just going off the performance, this is an absolute 5-star live album.

Songs like “Sole Survivor,” “Before The War” and “Power” sound absolutely blistering here, and I’d highly recommend checking it out on that basis. Andi’s vocals on his own material are absolutely excellent on this release, and Uli’s powerful, understated drumming absolutely kills.

There are a few downsides to the overall product however, such as the picture being a little soft and not the sharpest. The sound is pretty great in one way, and you really get that “live feel,” but you have to turn it up fairly loud for it to become clear, as things can sound a bit muddy on low volumes. Nothing show-destroying though.

The other potential downside is that at the end of some songs, it stops, when they cut to the other concert (eg. from Italy to Spain) and the transition isn’t perfectly smooth, which may interrupt the flow a little. Luckily this never happens in the middle of songs or anything outrageous like that, and for the most part isn’t actually too disruptive.

Apart from that, this is a pretty great main feature all round, and shows the band proving why they are still one of the biggest names in Power Metal. In terms of bonus features: There is a text “History” feature, a discography feature and a photo gallery. All your standard ‘90s DVD extras that don’t add too much really, but look good written on the back of the box.

There is also a five minute “review” feature by Malcome Dome, which is a brief Metal Evolution style history lesson with a mixture of archive footage of the band and talking-head footage of Dome. The dialogue is a bit stiff and the audio is a bit muffled, but as a free extra its still worth a watch.

The track-listing for the main concert is:

1. We Burn 2. Wake Up The Mountain 3. Sole Survivor 4. The Change 5. Why 6. Eagle Fly Free 7. Time Of The Oath 8. Future World 9. Dr. Stein 10. Before The War 11. Mr Ego 12. Power 13. Where The Rain Grows 14. In The Middle Of A Heartbeat 15. Perfect Gentleman 16. Steel Tormentor

Overall; If you like the band, especially if you like the Deris era, then it’s a pretty worthwhile purchase. It shows the band at their Europe-conquering best, dripping with enthusiasm and playing like they mean it. The sound and editing are a tiny bit imperfect, but the band themselves more than make up for it. Comment

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