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After the success of the Keepers albums by the german metlars Helloween, the group fell into some disarray with the departure of Kai Hansan who formed his own band Gamma Ray and the band was going through some problems with its previous record company Noise. In comes Roland Grapow who pens some of the finest tracks on this record. This record is NOT a sell out album, but it definitly shows signs of the band going soft.
The album kicks off with a short acoustic interlude with Michael Kiske singing a little noodle saying pink bubbles have gone ape. The awkward look on my face disappeared as soon "Kids of the Century" blasts off with speed and a delightful chorous as this is one of the top tracks on this album. "Back on the Streets" does not let up either as it continues the assault with high speed and fast riff work by Michael Weikath and Grapow. "I'm Doin' Fine, Crazy Man" has some good guitar work also, but kind of falls flat in the chorous. This album is high on speed, but unfortunately it does not last.
A couple songs on here just fall flat on their face. The first one is the cheesy, terribly written song "Number One." The high thumping bass along with the horrible lyrics makes me want to puke. Another one is "Mankind." This is obviously an attempt for an epic sounding song, but it is too long and just drags on with no interesting arrangements and it has a glaringly poppy chorous and melody. It is just plain boring. The other song that can be thrown away is the last song and a ballad calle "Your Turn." Any ballad by a heavy metal band that has Mickey Mouse in the lyrics is bad. Now, I don't have anything aganist Mickey Mouse, but he should not be referenced in a ballad by Helloween!
One of things noticeable on this record is this album features many "happy" sounding riffs which is evident in "Goin' Home" as well as the ones i mentioned above. Helloween is known for this, but it has a huge presense on this record. It is not annoying, but it might be to some people who want more heaviness and "mean" sounding riffs, but it should not deter the sheer enjoyment one will get from this record.
Something that must be mentioned is Michael Kiske's performance on this album. He is flawless bellowing out the vocals with great range and presense in these songs. Just take a listen to "Someone's Crying" and you will know what I mean. Kiske brings another great performance on this Helloween album.
You do not have to approach this album with caution. The speed and the great guitar work by Weikath and the newly recruited Roland Grapow make this a worthwhile album. Go out and give this album a try. You should not be disappointed. Buy it. Love it. Like it. Own it.