Michael Weikath - Guitars & backing vocals / Markus Grosskopf - Bass & backing vocals
Kai Hansen - Guitars & vocals / Michael Kiske - Lead vocals / Andi Deris - Lead vocals
Sascha Gerstner - Guitars & backing vocals / Daniel Loble - Drums
The brand new self-titled sixteenth studio album is without a doubt one of the most anticipated albums of this year, and it marks the longest gap between albums from the band, being that it has been six years since My God-Given Right. To make the recording of this album even more special, the drums were recorded on the Ingo Schwichtenberg's original drum kit used on the Keeper Of The Seven Keys records. What a feeling that must have been for Daniel Loble. The album was also recorded on analog, and on the same modulators from the studio where Master Of The Rings, The Time Of The Oath and Better Than Raw were recorded, bringing in some of old-school elements into the modern era of Helloween.
Aside from having the immense triple guitar attack of Michael Weikath, Hansen and Sascha Gerstner, the triple vocal attack between Hansen, Kiske and Andi Deris makes for one of the most unique and explosive elements that Helloween has ever had. From the dueling trade-offs to the potent harmonies, the three legendary voices coming together will bring nothing but joy to fans' ears, but especially hearing Kiske and Hansen together again after so many years.
Overall, with amazing tracks like "Best Time", "Out For The Glory", "Mass Pollution", "Fear Of The Fallen" and "Skyfall", the album is a great mix of the old, new and everything in between. The speed metal attack with the soaring chorus is one of Helloween's signature elements. You can definitely see the Markus Grosskopf penned track "Indestructible" becoming a fan favourite, especially with it's memorable chanting-type chorus, and the message it delivers. "Best Time" in particular feels like it pays tribute to 80s pop music with its catchy and boppy melodies, and ultra-memorable chorus. For some reason, it makes me think of A-ha's "Take On Me".
For some, the only flaw of the album might be the length. If you have a bit of a short attention span, and you dive into an album that's over an hour long, it's always best to split the listening sessions in half. This way, you will enjoy the album so much more as opposed to trying to ingest the entire thing in one listen. It's happened to me on numerous occasions with certain albums. Since I split my listening session with the Helloween album into half, I found the album to be much more enjoyable. Obviously some attention spans are longer than others, and they can take in the whole album in one sitting.
Helloween have always been about bringing positivity, which is something that we seem to be in dire need of in this day and age, with so much division in the world. The vibe felt throughout the new album just screams positivity, because the songs are memorable and fun. Many bands can really learn from Helloween when it comes to forgiveness, putting differences aside, and sorting out any past issues. If they can do it, it makes you wonder why certain bands can't. Unless of course one of the members did something that is beyond unforgivable, or have passed away, then that's understandable. With that being said, this album was a long time coming, and has exceeded the expectations of everybody that has heard it, and it certainly makes us fans hope that there is more music to come from this incarnation of the band. No doubt, one of this year's biggest and most essential releases.
Highs: Kiske and Hansen are back on a Helloween album. 'Nuff said.
Lows: The length might be a bit much for some.
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