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I would say that in my opinion this is the best Helloween album to date with Deris on vocals. I have never heard a bad opinion of this album, and if you listen to it you’ll se why: the best performances from all the band, including melodic, fast and emotive solos, kick ass drums and the stunning rhythm of bass lines never heard in a whole Helloween album.
From the very beginning you know the intro is one of the best in metal, a perfect mix of classical arrangements with powerful guitars, followed by the amazing, jawbreaker and powerful Push! This one is the key to keep the listener tight to the stereo since you push “play”. Deris performance on his tune is one of the best, reaching one the highest and difficult vocals to emulate in metal. And the guitar solos just break in the perfect moment. Great song! Falling Higher follows with the special sound that just Helloween can give to their songs, “happy” verses and strong vocal lines, with direct guitar and riffs. The solos are great, specially the first one, because there’s not only the guitar playing it, but the bass too! Then comes Hey Lord!, a song more direct and of easy singing. It’s a good track, but it doesn’t has too many pick ups to mention except for the chorus that everyone remembers and a good main guitar riff. Don’t Spit of My Mind is one of the bad songs from this album, and I say “bad” because it doesn’t fit with the other songs. It’s ok, a typical rock/heavy metal song but in the end it doesn’t reach the levels of the other tracks, but, well, this is compensated by the following beauty: Revelation, the masterpiece of the album. The guitar solo intro is simply amazing and the following heavy riff makes you wish this never ends. The verses aren’t soft, guitars fly along with one of the must difficult bass lines I’ve ever heard and then comes the chorus with metal choirs reminding me of Halloween. Then comes the interlude and solo section… This is one of the songs that you must heard and discover by yourself because there aren’t enough words to describe it’s superiority... Well, then it seems that Helloween takes a rest, because Time is another bad song for this album, too slow and with no highlights, I think it’s another fail from the guys to create a ballad. I Can is the commercial song of Better Than Raw (there’s always one), but it sounds good with a chorus melody that will keep in your head for a while and the solo so good so you’ll wonder why it ends so fast. A Handful of Pain announces the end of the album is near, but it’s one of the highlights. Worth to mention: the perfect coordination between Weikath and Grapow and the versatility in Deris vocal range. Lavdate Dominvm is the Helloween funny song for this album, full of joy and happiness, but with the special characteristic of the whole lyrics written in latin. And at the end comes Midnight Sun, a strange song to close the album, but with great power and incredible musical sections, specially the drums, giving a lot to say about the good performance from Kusch, who gave great contributions to this album.
Better Than Raw is really “better” than its predecessor and one of the best albums of 1998. A lot of these songs are the outstanding anthems that seemed to disappear on The Time of the Oath. Let’s say that this album is one of the top 5 on the Helloween career (including the Kiske and Hansen era). You must have this one, it doesn’t matters if you are a fan or not.