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Singles are an odd thing, they generate interest in a band and sometimes they prove to be a treasure trove of rare tracks and oddities. Yet some singles have no genuine purpose. Take this one for example, Helloween's sole non-album single. The titular song is pretty decent, shoulda been on Walls of Jericho. And yes, it really does sound like an improved "Murderer." The lyrics are pretty interesting because it's anti-establishment/government/whatever which deviates from the Helloween norm of erectile dysfunction (Rise and Fall,) Charlie Brown (Halloween,) or fantasy lark (the rest.)
The live tracks aren't live, in fact you can tell when the split between concert audio and studio audio occurs, "Intro/Ride the Sky" is very noticeable. It starts off with the "Starlight" intro then a gap occurs and BAM! "Ride the Sky" is spliced in. I guess it's only notable for "Judas" and not the two faux-live tracks.
I gave it 50% because of "Judas" and the choice of bonuses. If those were real live tracks then this would get a high 70/low 80. No point in tracking this down, all three are in the Walls of Jericho remaster. Buy the actual single if you're a collector or simply must have anything with "Helloween" on the cover.
The philosophy of heavy metal could be described as a sense of rabid artistic and political individualism; consequently there is an open hostility to the political establishment in most quarters within the genre. One of the best examples is the dedication found on the title track of this single, which reads “to all politicians who talk human but act like monsters”. Although later Helloween would tone down the gravity in their political message and instead poke fun at the ridiculousness of it all when Michael Kiske came into the fold, this song stands firm as a final afterthought and culmination of what the band was when Kai Hansen was leading the vocal charge.
“Judas” listens almost like a better produced and refined version of “Murderer” off the self-titled EP. The principle riff is memorable, the song cooks at record speed, and the monotone background chant during the chorus fits well with the angst driven message of political protest. The two accompanying songs on here, both taken from the “Walls of Jericho” album, are labeled as live yet are actually the studio versions that are preceded by some live footage from one of their tours. If you are curious as to what Helloween sounded like on tour from 1984-1986, this minute long live snippet at the beginning of “Starlight” is something of a bonus to what is otherwise a pretty standard single.
I obtained this single on CD along with all of the others between this one and the Pink Bubbles Go Ape album in the box set released not too long ago. It comes highly recommended to rabid fans of Helloween who are looking for songs that are not found on the studio releases and in many cases the 1991 “The Best, The Rest, The Rare” compilation which has some of the rare B-sides from the Kiske era. The art work on individual card board containers for each single range from being simple depictions of their pumpkin logo to a series of single block comic illustrations similar to what is featured in their CD inserts.