It was in November 2016 when the news of Helloween United travelled around the globe in no time. Hamburg’s metal institution announced a world tour and the sensational part was the fact of Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen rejoining the legendary band and the, at the time, operating line-up. This news was almost too good to be true and what followed was a tour that became a huge success. A second part of this Helloween United tour has been added to the schedules and now it is time for a next step that thrills as much as seeing the band on stage.
Helloween worked on new songs and the seven guys recorded with ‘Helloween’ an album at which the title tells a lot about what to expect. Eleven songs in total showcase the sound of all eras of a band that was and is so influential for many other metal units. Already while listening to the first tracks it becomes apparent, that this reunion has only one motivating factor: the passion for heavy metal. Often, these kind of collaboration are at least partly build on financial aims, not in this case. ‘Helloween’ for sure will become a very successful longplayer, but only because the band managed to make it authentic and real. There is no single second in these 65 minutes of metal delight, that brings up a thought of dressing for success. ‘Helloween’ breathes the spirit of heavy metal from start to finish.
The epic closer ‘Skyfall’ and ‘Fear of the Fallen’ have been revealed already as singles and are excellently chosen appetizers for the entire album. The latter is a bombastic metal anthem that unfolds a lot of energy after an acoustic intro hands things over to a great riff attack. Well placed calmer parts intensify the heaviness of this song.
Photo by Franz Schepers
It all begins with ‘Out For the Glory’ and a Slayer-reminding riff to start with. It doesn’t take too long since an increasing pace and great vocal lines are reflecting the typical Helloween trademarks rather quickly. A booming bassline and well done hooks are the key characteristics of the light-hearted ‘Best Time’ and listening to song and album is certainly a great moment in time. What comes as an unexpected twist, and not, is the next track – ‘Mass Pollution’. The seven-piece band unleashes the rock’n’roll beast which fits very well into the context of the album and also shows how widely the Helloween signature sound can be stretched without losing the roots.
After such a excursion into the fields of hard rock it is ‘Angels’ that shows another aspect of this album. Moderately paced, the song comes with a darker vibe and a cinematic expression. ‘Angels’ is one of these many moments proving, that Helloween isn’t using a simple cookie-cutter approach for their songs. It’s more that the guys combine everything they stand for to an exciting blend that is spiced up with the possibilities a band has with three guitarists and three singers.
‘Indestructible’ isn’t only a great new smashing Helloween song. In a way it is also the description of what Helloween stands for these days – “We are Indestructible, cause we are one.” Via ‘Robot King’ we get to ‘Cyanide’ which is reflecting more of the Andi Deris days and in the end eras doesn’t matter since this album is a collaboration and not an collection of puzzle pieces. It’s a start of a new era. Next to the happy flow songs, manifested by songs like Best Time’, this longplayer also includes some darker moment. ‘Down in the Dumps’ is certainly what we all could say, reflecting over the last months. The beginning of the galloping ‘Down in the Dumps’ mirrors these darker moments but doesn’t drown in those. The songs is blistering metal anthem, written by Michael Weikath, equipped with a furious solo part and a terrific chorus. I think there is no way around adding this song to future setlists.
‘Skyfall’, penned by Kai Hansen and clocking in at 12 minutes, ends the album and in a way sums up what fans got offered along the way. Reminding of the glorious ‘Keeper…’-days the grande finale is an excellent way to end this milestone album. ‘Helloween’ is an album and at the same time it is a bold addition to the chronicles of heavy metal in general. In a time, when joy was so hard to come by, this album is the delight many metalheads have been looking for. The reunion of Helloween members from key eras came at the right time and gave the band an extra boost, a power injection that is rolled out over 65 minutes on this stellar longplayer. In pumpkins we trust.
- Out For The Glory
- Fear Of The Fallen
- Best Time
- Mass Pollution
- Rise Without Chains
- Robot King
- Down In The Dumps
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date EU: June 18th, 2021