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Helloween - Helloween

Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: Download
Released: 2021
Reviewed By: Rich Catino / Jack Mangan
Rating: 10/10

Rich Catino:

Anyone that knows my metal music reviews for twenty (yes, twenty) years now, and my tastes knows I am a longtime Helloween fan, and how much I have supported the band over the years. I bought the albums in the 80s on import (here in America), the classic first three, to the 90's and forward Andi Deris era. Helloween have always been relevant. And I am not some blind fan either, unable to either dislike or find faults in their history.


So what does this mean going in listening to this album? For the pumpkins united? Well, its singer Michael Kiske and guitarist/singer Kai Hansen back with original members Markus Grosskopf (bass) and guitarist Michael Weikath, joined by now long standing third guitarist Sascha Gerstner and Daniel Loble on drums. Does this capture the magic of the 80s albums, and those gems from the 90s? Yes, these songs are arranged and delivered with an effortless synergy, everything one would want from pumpkins united. Its like taking the best of Helloween mixed with Gamma Ray.
Opener 'Out For The Glory' charges forward with a classic Helloween upbeat energy, chorus, Kiske sounds as fresh as he did on those Keeper albums. Second track 'Fear of the Fallen' Deris takes the lead, a contrast, compliment to Kiske, the chorus is as classic power packed power metal as one would want. Fast aggressive, yet catchy. 'Best Time' (Gerstner, Deris) in spirit much like a Gamma Ray tune, this should be a hit single. Great vocal trade off between Kiske and Deris, and twin guitar harmonies.
Third writing credit for Deris on 'Mass Pollution', a harder grittier tune that would have fit on 2000's albums like "Gambling" or "Straight Out of Hell". Sacha gets his second credit on the darker slower 'Angels', while 'Rise Without Chains' brings back the power metal gallop. Grosskopf gets writing credit on 'Indestructible', and Weikath for 'Robot King' two more that would have worked on a previous Deris record. Kai Hansen only credited for 'Orbit/Skyfall' the epic journey twelve minute closer where all three share vocal parts.
The 2021 pumpkin patch growing season is a winner. Happy happy, Helloween.

Jack Mangan:

There have been many extreme highs, lows, and middles for Helloween since Keeper - part II, but their self-titled 2021 release, the first to feature Michael Kiske, Andy Deris, AND Kai Hansen on lead vocals - - is their best since their imperial phase. Without question, the highest the Helloween Eagle has flown since 1988.
“Out for the Glory” kicks off the album with a bit of an eerie Slayer vibe in the intro, before transitioning to the classic Helloween Power Metal template. The result is another tune for the very crowded Helloween “Best Of” playlist.
Helloween are a band that know how to start a song. Every intro on the album is a masterpiece - - including the 1:05 song, “Orbit,” which is just a lead-in to the new Helloween epic, “Skyfall.” This last tune is clearly the culmination point of the album, like “Halloween” and “Keeper of the Seven Keys” were for their albums, and it’s more than worthy of inclusion in that illustrious company. The melodies, the solos, the racing-heartbeat drums, the grandeur, the lead vocal trio: this is the greatness of Helloween.
2021 is the year of the Pumpkin.

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