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CD Review: Helloween – The Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy

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Helloween
The Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy
SPV USA

Back in 1986-1987, I found myself at the musical crossroads. Listening mostly to the strains of every hair metal band that was out there, I had presumably found my musical niche. Music of bands like Motley Crue, early Poison, Y&T and Ratt were pretty much what I was listening to. Occasionally, when I was super pissed off, there was the occasional play of Ride The Lightning, but for the most part, hair metal was where I was at. Then, in a club in Korea called The MTV Club, I discovered something a lot more evil, mean and appealing to me. This club played nothing but tapes of Headbanger’s Ball that were sent over from the USA, and on them, tons of European bands that I had not discovered. One of those bands, and the one that turned me from hair metal to all metal, was Helloween. The Keeper Of The Seven Keys I and II stayed in my player for a solid three years, and with it, my metal obsession widened and I became the junkie I am today.

That being said, you would think that Helloween would be one of my all time favorite bands…not necessarily true. I love the Keeper Of The Seven Keys records, but not much else. So, when I read that they were going to revisit the Keys, I looked in with a skeptical eye. Would this band that put out such pieces of crap as Chameleon and Rabbit Don’t Come Easy be able to find the magic of their glorious beginnings? Thankfully, the answer is yes. While certainly not as exceptional as parts 1 and 2 (especially 1), THE Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy is a grande, epic masterpiece that neatly ties up the eerie tale that has always maintained itself and the foundation of this band.

To say the least, Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy finds guitarist Michael Weikath writing brilliantly once again. The songs here are extremely epic in scope. Multiple songs clock in over 8 minutes long, yet none of them leave a dragging feeling to them. From the very beginning of the massive 13-minute “A King For 1000 Years”, you realize that this is not merely another weak Helloween effort like many have grown accustomed to over the last 5 years or so. The orchestration of this song as it rides throughout emotional landscapes created by the band is exceptional. It’s easily the best song this band has penned since “Eagle Fly Free”; and the same can be said for the entire album. Songs like “Occasion Avenue” and the bass heavy track “The Invisible Man” are far better than anything this band has been doing for a decade.

Individually, they are dead on musically as well. Andi Deris may not be Kai Hansen, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t do justice on The Legacy. Deris has always been a solid vocalist, so it’s not surprising that he excels here. What is surprising is the marked improvement of the guitar work. Not that they’ve ever been weak, but Weikath and Sascha Gerstner played some monotonous, unremarkable music when last we heard from them; on 2003’s Rabbit Don’t Come Easy. This performance is far from it. They work flawlessly as a tandem here as they power material like “Born On Judgment Day”. Equally impressive here is the seemingly amped up rhythm section. Comprised of original bassist Markus Grosskopf and new drummer Dani Loeble, they singlehandedly keep the material pounding forward. Rockers like “Do You Know What Your Fighting For”, in particular, showcase these two making the bottom end thick and heavy. Overall, the band has captured exactly what they set out to get – a suitable follow-up to put The Keeper Of The Seven Keys name to.

RATING – 9/10 – I hold those original Keys albums close to my heart, and would be the first one to absolutely pound this release if it was anything less than awesome. That being said, it gets a 9/10 from this reviewer. If you liked the first 2, this is a can’t miss for you. If you want to learn about good power metal, this is a killer place to start.

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About richwithhatred

  • nugget

    *throws up*

    have fun in your minor key microcasm.

  • http://www.thebmrant.com Matt

    Chris–shocked, but pleased, to see Helloween grace our fair music page. I think they always got short shrift for having what I considered to be a regrettable name. They were brushed off as a novelty, when they were far from it. “Eagle Fly Free”, “Future World” and “Dr. Stein” are personal favorites.

  • http://trinimansblog.blogspot.com/ Triniman

    My first exposure to Helloween was Walls of Jericho, which has some strong tracks on it. Of course, Keeper I blew my mind and Keeper II did the unimaginable and topped it. After that, I was disappointed with their output and moved on. Hopefully, they will go on a North American tour. I don’t know how popular they are here, but metal fans should listen to Helloween’s best albums.

  • http://www.myspace.com/thefunpalace Ryan

    I have to agree with the review (at least, the score) except for the bashing of other Helloween albums. Master of the Rings, The Time of the Oath, etc. are very strong albums. I do think that Rabbits kinda sucked but it had some good songs.

    Everyone go out and buy your copy of The LEgacy and Helloween will come to the USA.

  • http://www.myspace.com/motleycruedude69 Rob

    he mentioned Kai Hansen in comparison to Andi Deris, im sure he meant to say Michael Kiske, cuz he was the singer on the first two Keeper albums. I like all the songs on this new effort except Mrs.God, kinda weird. but other than that everything is back to normal with this band.

  • Wil_de_los_coj

    I totally agree with Ryan. “The time of the Oath”, “Better than Raw”, “The Dark Ride” are strong albums, but I do like “Rabbit don’t come easy”, maybe it’s not their best release but it’s a good set…(except for the “reggae” riff in “Nothing to Say”).

  • ratnam

    andi deris fuck. Can beat michael kiske even bon jovi or klaus mine or any nu age band vocalist

  • danny

    the keeper of the seven keys 1 & 11 are great but im not so fond of there others.