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A gap of 7 years between a first and second album is a rare thing, and rarer still that a band seven years older can keep the flame of youth and creativity burning for that long without choking out. Halloween achieved that feat with this sophmore LP all the way back in 1991 though, and here it is at last with a vinyl re-release, the first 100 on green vinyl.
The unusual gap between recordings is alluded to in the song “7 Years” which is a powerful statement of distaste at the collapse of Metal in the early 90's and of a stubborn willingness to give up regardless of that. In that interim the Detroit Horror Metal masters evidently kept up with shifting trends as in tracks like the opening title track, “Crawl To The Altar” and even the more mid-paced number from deep in this 51 minute opus “The Thing That Creeps.” Touches and Megadeth and Overkill are detectable, but ultimately the template of traditional US Metal, particularly of the slow variety, is not abandoned.
“If I Die You Die” is the first track of this type coming in right behind the contrasting “No One Gets Out Alive”, and boasts some pretty killer lyrics positing on mortality, but it really isn't to the run of great songs beginning with the almost inspirational “Kings.” From there the epic 8 minute “Sanity In Danger” begins with its genuinely unnerving spoken intro (one of the best in Metal history, hands down) and captures upon a vibe like King Diamond at his solo material's best, and with huge touches of Candlemass for the doomy elements. The triumvirate of classics is rounded off with almost equally as long slow-burn ballad “Miss Eerie's Child.” Both musically and lyrically this track is so simple, yet so infectious and genius at the same time. Without a doubt the central 20 minutes of this album are the best that Halloween, and among the best than any US Heavy/Power Metal band, ever committed to tape.
The only thing that stops this surpassing the 1984 classic of Don't Metal With Evil is that this quality is not maintained without. There is nothing at all bad about the Lizzy Borden-ish mid-paced rocker “Halloween” and the homage to their hometown and heroes with a cover of “Detroit Rock City” (though personally I felt the Kiss cover would've worked better as a live recording), but they take the edge off the album's concision and power just enough to stop this becoming Halloween's finest ever output. It is still among the best traditional Heavy Metal albums of the 1990's though, and an essential purchase for anyone with an interest in the band. [8/10]
From WAR ON ALL FRONTS A.D. 2013 zine- www.facebook.com/waronallfronts
No One Gets Out- 1991
Here we have what should have been the break-through album for Detroit metal band Halloween. Personally, this is the best thing that they have ever done. It is heavy, dark, and gloomy, with a few mid tempo songs that find a way to rock out just as easily. Now not many people have too much knowledge of Halloween, which is a sad thing, because they are missing out on a great metal platter here. You see, my dad used to work the lights for these guys from about 1987 to 1993. His name is even in the credits for the “scare crew” in the back of the original pressing from 1991. When I was about 3 or 4, I picked up this CD and growing up in the world of the late 1990’s, my head was filled with pop bullshit that was popular at the time. But I thought that it was worth a listen. So I popped it into my CD player and I do say that my world was forever changed from that day on. I abandoned all of that pop shit and began my descent into the metal realm.
To get on with the review, the first track, “No One Gets Out” is a smashing metal romp. It has a high, speed metal like pace, Chugging riffs and some powerful double bass drum work that gives you an extra punch in the face. The bass comes through so clearly that I once blew my headphones out from listening to this at full blast! The next track is called “The Death Of Love” which is a somewhat slow ballad, if you will, about heartbreak or something about that. To tell you the truth, this is the weakest song on the album. It is great but it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the tracks. The next is the full speed ahead thrasher “Crawl To The Altar” which was written by second guitarist Tim Wright and recorded with his previous band “Erebus”. This song is one of the many highlights of the album. Again, like the opening track the true thing to listen for is the double bass drum work. It is just a pounding drive. “7 Years” is okay. It gets real good when it gets to the heavier parts though. Not really a weak one but again, It doesn’t really sit well with the rest of the tracks as much. The 5th track is the gloomy “If I Die, You Die” which is based upon a single, consistent drum loop. To tell you the truth, this is really a great song. It has so much power and punch to it. The lyrics are just as powerful, talking about destruction and corruption. The next is another true highlight, “Kings”. This song was played at a 1990 Detroit Pistons finals game. But it is a great song. A simple, chugging riff, excellent drumming work, pounding bass and just all around great vocals. The lyrics have a message too, to not give up, to pursue.
The next part of the album is a bit scarier. Track 7 is the creepy “Sanity in Danger”. I am dead serious; the intro freaked the crap out of me when I first heard it. It is a dark, gloomy song about a man’s descent into insanity. Once the song starts, it can really kick some ass, but do not let the intro freak you out. The next one is even more dark and creepy. “Miss Eerie’s Child” is a song about child abuse which also freaked the hell out of me. It begins with a soft acoustic guitar line and about 7 or 8 seconds into it, freaky high-pitched vocals come in and just set the mood. The beginning is somewhat reminiscent of “In Harms Way” by Seattle area thrashers “Metal Church” off of their critically acclaimed “The Human Factor” from the same year as NOGO. Things begin to lighten up again with “The Thing That Creeps”, which was written in 1989, preceding this albums release by three years. Once again it is a heavy one with lyrics that tell of people who are afraid of freedom. Great double bass work and what a riff. I cannot even play it, that is how fast it goes by. The final two music tracks are cover songs, the first of which is a song by Detroit metal band “Seduce” appropriately entitled “Halloween”. It features once again a chugging riff and great drumming. I only wish that it was not a cover. The latter is “Detroit Rock City” by KISS. Almost everyone has heard this at least 1,000,000 times, so does it even need a description! The 12th track on this is A.B.F.$ which is a backwards thing that came from the mid- section in “Crawl To The Altar”. I cannot for the life of me tell what it says if it is supposed to be saying anything.
In short, this is a perfect album for anyone to have in their collection. Clean, crisp production, Steamrolling guitar riffs, Pounding bass, barbaric drumming and just plain great vocals. It may sound a bit forced, but this has to be the best Halloween album bar none.
It seems that Halloween never got a real break back in the 80's. And even though a live album, and 2 demos were recorded in between, this their sophomore album wasn't released 'til 1991. With an all new line-up, Brian Thomas continues to deliver some stellar underground power metal!
The album starts with the speedy title track, with Brian's falsetto screams sounding like it was still 1986! "If I Die You Die" continues, and this is a mid-paced classic! One speedy number after another, only interrupted every now and again by another great mid-paced power metal delight, and even some half-ballads. I don't find 'No One Gets Out!' to be quite as horror influenced as it predecessor. But there is still this ever-present creepy feeling through this album as well.
I cannot believe that this band is forever banished to the obscurity of the metal underground. They deserve so much better. If you like your metal real, and without any commercial tinges at all, Halloween is the band for you.
"Detroit Rock City" is of course a cove of the Kiss classic. I can certainly see the appeal of this song, seeing that Halloween are from Detroit and all. But it sticks out as a turd in the punchbowl on this album.