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Review: Helloween - Helloween

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2021
Duration: 1:07:42
Tracks: 12
Genre: Power Metal


Review online: June 7, 2021
Reviewed by: Christian Renner
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 4.57/5 (91.3%) (46 Votes)

No point in doing the customary opening blurb about the band, where they are from or the style of metal that they play. If you don't know Helloween, where they are from or their genre of metal, you are clearly at the wrong web site. I will, however, use this section to freely admit that I am a big Helloween fan and as such I have been a bit of an apologist for some of their more questionable decisions. That being said, I never let that cloud what I give as a score for a review.

Helloween is one of those bands that have the unique problem of being compared not to other bands, but themselves and their previous albums. As far as Power Metal goes, their only actual competition to the throne at the top of the mountain is Avantasia, Blind Guardian and possibly Stratovarius. When you consider those three bands wear their Helloween influence openly, it's not really a competition. Even if it were, with the release of this album, Helloween has given notice that any pretenders to the throne will be summarily dealt with. To put it in plain English, this album fucking smokes. There was a small part of me that was wondering if this would work. Back in the day, this wasn't a split that was super amicable, and everyone was happy about it. There are some VERY strong personalities in this band with VERY strong opinions. That they have been able to put that all aside and come out with an album this strong is commendable all on its own.

Indulge me a little now as I have some possible insights about the album that I could be absolutely wrong about. I'm going to go with them anyway, even if I am reading WAY more into this than there actually is. This album is just loaded with symbolism and deeper meaning. I feel a LOT of thought was put into it. From the absolutely stellar cover art to the track order. The opening track "Out for the Glory" starts out with a very clear nod to Slayer's "South of Heaven". I'm not sure if this is a nod to Slayer on their retirement or if after going through the absolute shitshow that was the pandemic they were playing with the fans a little. You hear this dark and heavy intro that puts you on your heels a bit and makes you think "Uh-oh, this is going to be an angrier The Dark Ride album," then they come out of it and remind you exactly what Helloween is one of the best bands in the world at and that is up-tempo and catchy as fuck Power Metal. Every song on this album has absolutely great riffs and sing along choruses that will be absolutely incredible for the crowds at their live shows. It really feels like these songs were written with a live setting in mind and with all the positive reviews of the Pumpkins United Tour before the pandemic, I can see why. Obviously, not all the songs are 100% bangers, but I would say an average Helloween song is still significantly better than most power metal bands' best songs. The guitar work is absolutely stellar with some of the best lead work I have heard in a very long time. The drums are next level and bring this all together with perfectly placed fills and cymbal work that would impress any drummer. Now I could very well be completely wrong about all of this fanciful "insight" I have, and this could simply be just an album they threw together. Me being German myself I have to believe everything was done with forethought. No one will ever complain about Germans being these free spirits that are hard to pin

Overall, if you like Helloween and were worried about this album living up to lofty expectations, you have nothing to fear. Catchy riffs, catchy choruses, catchy guitar "jam" moments are all over this album. I'm a fan from the Walls of Jericho era and even though the Keeper... albums will always hold a special place for me, I think looking back this could very well be the best album of their career. With the insanely talented songwriters throughout this band, it really shouldn't be a surprise. I can't recommend this album highly enough. Definitely in the running for the album of the year for me.

More about Helloween...
Review: 7 Sinners (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Better Than Raw (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Chameleon (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Gambling With the Devil (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Gambling With the Devil (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Helloween (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Helloween (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: High Live (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Keeper of the Seven Keys - Part I (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Master Of The Rings (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Metal Jukebox (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: My God-Given Right (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Pink Bubbles Go Ape (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Rabbit Don't Come Easy (reviewed by Pierre Bégin)
Review: Rabbits On The Run 2003 (reviewed by Pierre Bégin)
Review: The Dark Ride (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Dark Ride (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Time Of The Oath (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: United Alive in Madrid (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Walls of Jericho (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
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