without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
This was originally going to be a review of ‘Pink bubbles Go Ape’. And then I realised I only ever listen to two songs on that album. That’s because there’s only two songs worth listening to. Kiske can sing – but he can’t write metal. And Grapow can play guitar – but he can’t write anything. That leaves Weikath.
Weikath can do anything. Speed metal and power metal were on their way up until Weikath put his foot on the accelerator. In the process he managed to make it sound like he invented both those genres in his spare time. If that wasn’t enough, he also took a side step into symphonic territory with the song "Keeper Of The Seven Keys". For the record he managed more with five guys and a killer hook – than some bands today manage with orchestras and choirs and very thick CD booklets.
Which brings us to “Number One”. Lyrically it does that bravest of things. The talk is hope where there might be none. Think human spirit. But this isn’t self help trash. It’s self faith and a metal soul. And the melody is every bit as powerful. It may have seemed a tad light or slow for fans blinded by the Keepers anthems, but then Weikath was never very good at repeating himself anyway. If what you want is catchy and soul stirring and repeat-button brilliant; this is one of those songs.
So here’s the deal. Metal gets a tonne of bad press. Some matters, but most doesn’t. The point though is that no one takes their music more seriously than metal heads. Weikath knows that and if he’s going to say something, he’s going to make sure it matters too. That’s what he’s been doing for almost thirty years. Two things here; ask yourself how many lives that’s changed. And while you’re at it, ask yourself how much head banging has gone on. Either way – this guy wrote the book.
I have been a staunch Pink Bubbles Go Ape detractor ever since I first heard the album in 1997 and have yet to waiver from the view that it is their weakest album even after hearing Chameleon and Rabbit Don’t Come Easy. Something about the production and the lack of solid songwriting just keeps me from being able to enjoy it. When I purchased the singles box set that this release came with I was mostly interested in hearing the B-sides from the Walls of Jericho and Keepers era, but surprisingly enough I found myself taken in by the other material I heard on here.
“Number One” is a nice catchy mid-tempo song, nothing offensive, but not something that I would qualify as being the inspired moments that were “Kids of the Century” or “The Chance”. Not much of a guitar solo to speak of either, but we do get some solid vocal work on the part of Michael Kiske. Things look extremely up when we get to track 2 however, as “Les Hamburgoises Walkways” proves to be quite the lead guitar extravaganza. This is definitely one of Michael Weikath’s finest moments as a lead player as he trades off some mellow blues leads for some rapid fire attack licks. Although UltraBoris affectionately referred to this as the Prom song from hell, I would be more inclined to title it the blues ballad from hell or maybe Jimi Hendrix burning in hell (picturing him screaming in agony as he is forced to listen to SOD’s ballad of Jimi Hendrix blasting at full volume on endless repeat play).
But the true moment of intrigue on here goes to “Run with the Pack”, which is a fine piece of speed metal genius with plenty of aggression. Michael Kiske grits up his vocal delivery a bit to match the hard edged riffs and fast beats behind him. Along with the other B-side, this track lacks the production flaws found on most of the regular tracks found on Pink Bubbles Go Ape, and consequently does not come off sounding processed and lacking any real guitar crunch. If this song had replaced either “I’m doing fine crazy man” or “Going Home” on that album I would have bumped my score for it up 10 points.
To all interested parties, particularly my fellow Pink Bubbles decriers, if you have any hesitation in picking up the singles box set recently released due to this single being part of the purchase, put your minds at ease. This is one of Helloween’s better moments during their short-lived lineup with both Roland Grapow and Michael Kiske still in the mix. If you liked the harder edged speed metal found on “Walls of Jericho” and “Keepers Part 1” then the closing track on here alone would give you reason to pick up this particular single.