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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.