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In 1998, the German power metalers had already created a legacy and were knee deep in historical material from all their wonderful albums. With this in mind, Helloween had the great ability to release countless compilations to showcase their excellent skills. In the fall of ‘98, Helloween released "The Pumpkin Box" but only in Japan. This is where a few problems come into play. This career highlighting box set is divided into four parts on four discs.
Disc 1 is mostly material from the early days, the "Walls of Jericho" album and B-sides. This disc includes some great tracks like "Ride The Sky", "Victim Of Fate", "Judas" and "How Many Tears". The cool thing about this disc is the inclusion of songs like "Starlight (Michael Kiske version)" and "A Little Time (Another version)". This is pretty solid album.
Disc 2 is very simple but brilliant at the same time. It's a compilation featuring only the best material from the two best Helloween albums. Yes, Disc 2 is only songs from "Keeper of the Seven Keys pt.1 and 2". Songs that are found here; "Future World", "Eagle Fly Free", "Dr. Stein" and "Halloween". This disc is perfect because it's very useful. Instead of always carrying both Keeper albums, you can just bring this compilation.
Disc 3 is comprised of songs from the Roland Grapow era and several live tracks. The tunes on this disc are taken from "Pink Bubbles Go Ape" and "Chameleon". This is almost a good thing since those two albums weren't the greatest, so this is a perfect opportunity to feature the best stuff like "Kids Of The Century", "The Chance", "First Time" and "Windmill". The live songs found here are from the "Live in the U.K." album. The live version of some of these songs are spectacular.
Disc 4 is an interview disc. This is a great feature for the fans but there is one problem. Since this is a Japanese exclusive, all the questions that are asked during the interviews with Kai Hansen, Michael Kiske, Michael Weikath, Roland Grapow, Markus Grosskopf, Uli Kusch and Andi Deris are in Japanese. This is bizarre because you can understand the answers but not the questions, which could be a little confusing at times. Besides this minor problem, the interviews are very insightful.
This box is very good at moments. One of the moments is the booklet. The booklet contains very good and rare photos of the band during their various phases. There is also great information regarding the band, albums and singles. If you can read and understand Japanese, this is a good thing but if you can't, you will be stuck with only the pictures. "The Pumpkin Box" also comes with various other items, including a cool sticker.
In conclusion, "The Pumpkin Box" is only for die hard fans unless you can get it for very cheap. "Treasure Chest" might be better for casual fans and all other fans of the power metal pioneers. Disc 1 is very good because it contains moments from the past and the Kai Hansen era. Disc 2 is brilliant because it is a good roundup of the best material from Helloween's best albums. Disc 3 is awesome because it features the best moments from two less than stellar album and it showcases Roland Grapow's genius skills. Plus, the live tracks are a bonus. Finally, Disc 4 is a must for all die hards because of the interviews with past and present members that are very interesting if you can get past the Japanese DJ. And we can't forget the Godly and insanely informative booklet.
This is a real attractive looking box set that comes inside a plastic bag with a poster. It comes with a booklet full of rare pics, a sticker, singles info and liner notes. It has four cd's the last one being an interview of each band member plus Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen.
The songs range from the first five albums concentrating on the Kiske era albums. A total of 38 songs plus one song from the time of oath in the interview cd. Sounds nice!, but the only thing is that the liner notes are in japanese. Being this the only unique feature that you will find, only on this box set, makes it a total waste of money. There are no rare songs except for an alternate version of a little time and a kiske version of Starlight that can be already found in Treasure chest. And before you buy it there's no way of knowing what songs are in it until you open the damn thing because the poster is covering the track listing on the back of the box. If you could get this for thirty or forty bucks then it would be a good buy but no, this thing costs almost a hundred US dollars. With that kind of money you could buy most of their albums. Made for completist freaks only.