Label: Stormspell Records
Touring with Troy Norr and Sanitarius as back up band:
Andi Deris- Lead Vocals
Michael Weikath- Guitars/Vocals
Sascha Gerstner- Guitars/Vocals
Markus Grosskopf- Bass/Vocals
Dani Löble- Drums
Troy Norr - Vocals
Eddie Campbell - Guitars
Joe Shavel - Guitars
Doug Odell - Bass
Hal Aponte - Drums
Robbie Padovano - guitar
Robb Quartararo - guitar
Stu Ustick - bass
Dave Cordero - drums
Jon Doyle- Vocals
Mike Grund - Guitar
Thomas Ireland - Guitar
Nich Ireland - Drums
Bill Elliott - Bass
Interview with SASCHA GERSTNER. Guitarist of Helloween
Place: Opera House - Toronto, Ontario Canada
Date: September 24, 2013
Fans assembled outside the Opera House on September 28th for a night to remember. After touring for almost over nine months, Helloween finally arrived in Toronto to bring us some of their Hellish Rock Tour. Though many fans were disappointed that Helloween's sister band Gamma Ray would not make it to Canada, the Opera House still brimmed with dedicated fans. Helloween was here to please. Even a few lucky fans at the tail end of the line up were visited upon by Helloween's Markus Grosskopf doling out cans of beer.
The Celtic themed folk/thrash band Battlesoul graced the stage with their bare chests and plaid kilts. They had a good heavy sound that got some fans moving. As guitarists Mike Grund and Thomas Ireland whipped their long manes around, bassist Bill Eliot wafted that mighty beard of his. Battlesoul mixed a thrashy sound with a combo of clean vocals and growls as well as the occasional Celtic element in their backing tracks. Vocalist Jon Doyle's sarcastic, beer-induced humour finished off with him taking his kilt of, flashing his clover themed boxers. At least he wasn't free balling it this evening.
Coldsteel blasted into their set with vocalist Troy Norr waving a giant Canadian flag. They reminded me a lot of an earlier Iced Earth with their patriotic image, fast intense riffs and higher than high screams. A committed group of fans got a mosh pit going a couple times throughout their set and were the first ones to join in chanting "we the people, rise!" However their rowdy pit sent glasses flying and fans moving away from the stage, leaving Coldsteel to play in front of a sparse crowd. Either way that group of Coldsteel fans took advantage of the space to throw down.
The very fitting "For Those About to Rock" by ACDC was played through the monitors giving fans the chance to warm up those vocal chords. Helloween swarmed the stage, roaring into the opening riff of "Eagle Fly Free" and fans strained their voiced to match vocalist Andi Deris' in the chorus. Helloween lined up front and center with bassist Markus Grosskopf wagging his tongue, guitarist Michael "Weiki" Weikath sporting his trademark snarl and guitarist Sascha Gersnter wooing the crowd with his puppy face look. Behind them Dani Loble was a beast on the drums as he created those heart-pounding beats that got the crowd jumping.
Helloween treated us to some new songs off their new album, "Straight Out of Hell," including the single "Nabatea," "Live Now!"and "Waiting for the Thunder" as well as many fan favourites like "Are You Metal," "Hell Was Made in Heaven" and "I'm Alive." Deris rocked that stage as he reached for those high notes and engaged fans to sing along with him. Helloween gives a performance that fans eat up. Throughout the set Gerstner would stick picks to his forehead pretending to lose them, then tossing them to an eager fan or to Grosskopf who would catch them in his mouth and spit them out to the crowd. Though I dodged that pick a time or two, there were many fans happy to fight over them.
We were treated to a new power ballad, "Hold Me In Your Arms," with Gersnter on acoustic guitar. I saw more than one bearded metal head stare up at the stage with sparkles in their eyes. To be fair, it was hard not to have your heart melt while seeing Gersnter and Deris singing, "Hold me, hold me /hold me in your arms" to the crowd. In their two encores (because a band of this caliber needs two encores) Helloween got fans in every corner of the venue singing along to "Future World" and "Dr. Stein." They finished the night off with the very energetic "I Want Out," leaving fans in a gleeful daze of power metal as they compared stories of the night.