Helloween is one of the metal acts of the 80’s that, while talented, never really clicked in the US, at least not to the extent of other similar acts of the day. Although, they did do well in their native Europe. At this point I will admit, like I have done many times in the past, to not being familiar with the band. This is actually my first experience with them. It seems the more that I peruse the music shelves, the more acts I see that I haven’t listened to. Helloween is one of those acts that I had always meant to check out and never did. Now I have, and I am interested in more.
Helloween’s music seems to tread between the straight up power metal of Iron Maiden, and the more hair metal sounds of bands like Ratt. The music has a strong melodic base, but isn’t terribly heavy. I’m surprised that they never caught on that big, the music is definitely there.
This disk has 13 videos covering the albums between 1987’s Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I and 2003’s Rabbit Don’t Come Easy. You know, while looking that up, I was amazed at how long they have been around, and still consistently putting out albums. It’s not often that you find a band that isn’t A-list (no offense intended) to be that enduring. I find that encouraging, knowing that there are bands keeping metal alive.
The early videos, such as “Halloween” and “I Want Out,” have some seriously high doses of cheese. The videos are low budget affairs, but they have a certain old school charm. The band displays a penchant for the goofy, a slapstick styled sense of fun, and that is something you don’t see all that often in a metal band, kind of refreshing actually.
After a few songs, there is a lineup change, the band has picked up a new singer in Andi Deris. A change that I applaud. It also signals a change to some of the videos, the goofiness diminishes, in favor of a growing maturity and an increasing use of the high concept. Besides that Deris has a much better voice, it has a little bit of gravel thrown in and fits better with the sound.
The experiments gradually increase, culminating with “Power” and “The Time of the Oath.” The experiments begin to taper off, and are replaced with a more 90’s stylized movement, using black and white and lots of shadows, also slightly minimalist with songs like “Forever and One” and “I Can.” The album closes out with the CG excess of “Just a Little Sign.” It’s a good song, but the video is a little over the top, but it does show them embracing the uses of modern technology at any expense.
There isn’t that much in the way of extras. There is a montage of live clips to the song “Hey Lord.” There is a photo gallery consisting of nearly 100 photos of the band on and off stage. Finally there are Outtakes, which amounts to about 5 minutes of footage of the band off stage.
Bottomline. This disk is a lot of fun, and works s an introduction to an underrated metal act. The videos are good and show a growth in the band over the years, plus the music isn’t that bad. So, if you happen to have a penchant for 80’s style metal, this would definitely be worth looking into.
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