Label: Nuclear Blast Playing Time: 65 Min Release: 18th June 2021
2016 fans of the Hamburg based pumpkin institution had a big reason for their tears of joy: Kai Hansen, founding member and singer of the band until his exit, and his successor Michael Kiske, vocalist until 1993, joined the band again, plus their current vocalist And Deris. The reunion tour was triumphant, as expected. Understandably, the calls for a new album featuring all 3 singers rose up. And the calls were heard…
And there it is, simply called “Helloween”. The most important at first: The band did not choose the easy way and recorded a simple repetition of its past songs. Instead they created an album covering all periods of the band’s existence, an album with multiple layers and high ambitions. This is also a matter of the three fantastic vocalists, who complement each other as if they had been performing together for decades.
Let us talk about the songs: The opener ‘Out for the Glory’ begins with a typical Slayer harmonic, but it develops quickly into a typical happy-Helloween-double-bass-song. A good entry. The following ‘Fear of the Fallen’ starts smoothly, but soon a fast riff takes over. A little bit more diversified than the opener, but all in all quite similar. ‘Best Time’ is actually the happiest and also most Pop song of the album and it will spread happiness on live shows for sure. A sure choice for a single. ‘Mass Pollution’ is a nice contrast and its heavy riffs and drums remind of much to younger Helloween stuff. Cool song! The following ‘Angels’ begins calmly with organ sounds. All in all, it has less speed and has more Pop appeal. The first song that does not inspire right away. ‘Rise Without Chains’ has a high pace. Nice dynamics, first class chorus, great song! ‘Indestructible’ in return is much heavier and more riff based. A nice combination of older (chorus) and newer (verses) Halloween stuff. The next double bass attack is ‘Robot King’. Does not really kick ass, the weakest song so far. The following ‘Cyanide’ blows away its predecessor. Again riff and rhythm dominated verses with a great Andy Deris and a first class chorus again. The best song so far in my opinion! ‘Down in the Dumps’ features again an higher pace and the high vocals of Michael Kiske in the chorus. At next there is a short synth based intro before the great ‘Skyfall’ wraps up the album. Long, complex, progressive and a great chorus, definitely another highlight.
Helloween are delivering high class stuff. Those 2-3 weaker songs are forgotten quickly. The band did not chose the easy way and delivered one radio single after the next. Instead, the pumpkins are creative and ambitious. Therefore the songs need a few more times to be listened to, but you will remember them for a really long time. There is still something to discover after every time you listen in. Great work, guys!