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Helloween’s single box collection features the eras started by main man Kai Hansen transitioning into Michael Kiske help birthing the power metal genre. The singles contained here are sort of a like time capsule taking you back to the days where roaming record shops for these items was fun and also available. If you are a young listener like me who missed out on those times, then it’s awesome to be able finally have versions of these and being able to stare at the cool artwork when more effort was put into releasing singles.
The biggest addition to this box set is the inclusion of the “Helloween” EP. The tracks are featured on the expanded edition of “Walls of Jericho”, but it is nice to finally have the item and letting the tracks stand on their own merits. “Victim of Fate” is a great speed metal number where Hansen really wails with his vocals, while “Starlight” will always be a favorite because of the little jingle from the movie “Halloween III: Season of the Witch.” The other standout is “Warrior” which has hurdling guitar part and then some aggressive riffing that warrants head banging.
It is nice that some of the b-sides get their time to shine as Helloween have some strong songs that unfortunately did make some full-lengths. The best out of the bunch belongs to “Save Us” from the “I Want Out” single as the sticking riff and the drumming from Ingo Schwichtenberg is very impressive. The Markus Grosspoff penned “You Run with the Pack” is also a standout with some great guitar parts and should have definitely made “Pink Bubbles Go Ape.” By far the goofiest track is the cover of “Blue Suede Shoes”, but it is a fun listen and Kiske puts forth some good vocals for a song that really does not suit his talents.
The box set is rounded out by a booklet containing linear notes and separate credits for of all the singles presented in the set. All the discs are in slipcase form, but are not loose to the point where they come right out. All in all, there are seven discs with just over two hours of music. This is a must have for any Helloween fan and the price for this set is not bad either. Since this came out in 2006, it’s a shame that a second box has not come out covering the last of the Kiske era and the first half of the Andi Deris era. At least we can savor the riches when the pumpkin crew was starting to make their mark.
After a long period of waiting and hoping many younger core-fans of Helloween were given a true treat, a box set of all the singles released between 1985 and 1992, arguably the period of Helloween’s greatest time as an influential member of the power metal movement. Although the 1991 greatest hits compilation “The Best, The Rest, The Rare” included a sizable number of b-sides that are also found on here, the most obscure of the Kiske-era music is now available for fan consumption. The greatest feature of this compilation is that it offers the listener a copy of the original self-titled EP without being attached to the Walls of Jericho album, which allows for a greater perspective as to how great of an accomplishment it was in and of itself.
In addition, newer fans are given the chance to hear what early efforts by the Weikath/Grapow guitar team sounded like apart from the Pink Bubbles Go Ape album. “Las Hambourgeois Walkways” showcases one of the greatest technical displays ever put forth by Weikath on the guitar, while “You run with the pack” sports an early example of them playing speed metal at its best. Likewise we get the novelty remake in “Blue Suede Shoes” and the not quite heavy enough for the second Keeper album “Don’t Run for Cover” (what made them think this?), which is quite a hard edged riff master that reminisces on Iron Maiden’s better days. There is also the fake live versions of “Guardians” and “Ride the Sky”; preceded by about a minute of live footage of them playing “Starlight”.
As someone who missed the 1980s and had to weather the 1990s with a smaller amount of this music still in print, this was a godsend. Anyone else who is a younger fan of Helloween is high encouraged to get this box set, which listens almost like a time machine. And for those who are not quite convinced that it would be worth your while, I’ve written reviews for every individual single contained in this collection, so feel free to read them before you make your final decision. I haven’t regretted my decision yet and I’ve listened to all of these singles at least 6 times each.