HELLOWEEN — Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I (review)

HELLOWEEN — Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I album cover Album · 1987 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
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Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I is the second album by German power metal act Helloween. The album, released in 1987, along with its direct follow-up Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II (1988), is widely considered to be power metal’s groundbreaking release(s). For Helloween it marks a noticeable shift into a fully fledged power metal style, which now, in 2012, they are regarded to have pioneered. The album also introduces Michael Kiske to the group’s line-up, replacing Kai Hansen as the lead vocalist while Hansen remained as a guitarist. Although Kiske would only record four albums with the band, and two of those not as well regarded by a large portion of the Helloween fanbase as the two Keeper albums, he is still widely regarded as the true voice of Helloween.

And honestly it’s not hard to hear why. Kiske represents which would become the typical vocal style of power metal. Clear singing and with a high vocal resister. He was and still is one of the best in the game and with a performance miles ahead of Hansen’s natural abilities (Hansen would improve by the time he took over vocals in Gamma Ray), Helloween’s music is catapulted into classic status, with Kiske doing for Helloween what Bruce Dickinson did for Iron Maiden. And it’s undeniable that’s just what Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I is, a true classic album. Setting the standard high for the masses of power metal bands that would follow them with classic tracks such as I’m Alive and Future World, as well as having the odd quirky moment such as A Little Time, I’m not sure how anyone, regardless of whether they like the band/album or even the genre, could deny the importance of the album on the metal scene as a whole.

The album’s masterpiece track though is Halloween. Lasting for over thirteen minutes, a trait which would be repeated on the next album with the Keeper of the Seven Keys title track, the track represents the most epic side of power metal. It’s a much shorter track, Follow the Sign, that actually closes the album but really Halloween feels like the true conclusion to this early power metal masterpiece, like everything else, as amazing as it is, was only building up to this point. I guess that’s doing the rest of the album a major injustice, because every moment of Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I is top tier quality and more than that the songs all have an excellent flow between each other. It’s a very easy album to listen to many times over and still enjoy it like it’s your first listen. More than that even Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I remains about as perfect a power metal album as you will ever find.

10.0/10

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))
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