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Ah, 1993. 1993 has been a crucial year for Helloween, for many reasons: they released that "Chameleon" album that I (personal opinion - don't kill me please) think is the most awesome one of Helloween's entire discography; they kicked out of the band one of the most talented singers ever, Michael Kiske, and they also stopped playing with the lamented drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg - who will unfortunately die in a couple of years- replaced with the great Uli Kusch. Among all these things, in 1993 Helloween released something like four singles, every one of them related to the "Chameleon" masterpiece and everyone of them presenting couples of astonishing b-sides, which are more rock than metal in relation to the new "shift" in the band style, because the whole "Chameleon" has, as everyone knows, many "folk" rock, acoustic rock, hard rock etc. passages interspersed with the usual "happy" power metal, which has always been Helloween's trademark.
This single I'm reviewing, unfortunately, contains only three tracks, since the third one, Introduction, is nothing more than a spoken funny interview between mastermind and guitarist Michael Weikath and some interviewer (I don't actually remember who he was) called Johnny.
The first track is Windmill, the only track that is also contained in the full-length "Chameleon", and it's an astonishing slow ballad dominated by Kiske's melodic and emotional voice. The song itself makes a great use of a piano melody, accompanied by acoustic guitars that eventually, between catchy and slow choruses (it's a love song, with dreamy lyrics), give way to a brilliant solo made up by keyboards and a lone electric guitar, only in order to recall once again the previous chorus greatly sung by Michael Kiske's unique high-pitched voice.
The other two tracks are, I would say, plain "rock" tracks: both Cut In The Middle and Get Me Out Of Here are made up by hard rock riffs, a simple structure and catchy choruses, in which Kiske fully manages to interpret the general "funny" feeling of the songs themselves - read the lyrics for proof! Cut In The Middle is, actually, a bit more musically "serious" (or, better, "complex"); it opens with a great guitar riff and it presents, apart from the trademark Helloween catchy choruses, a remarkale guitar solo, always in the style of hard rock. Even in Get Me Out Of Here the two guitarists - Weikath and Grapow - have made, of course, a great work, and such an inspired writing will be maintained throughout all of Helloween's discography, in which I think the guitars are, probably, the most interesting and inspired parts. Plus, I really love Grapow's style!
On a side note, I have to say that I talked here about the European version of this single, since the same three b-sides that we have here have been sold in the Japanese market along with the Step Out Of Hell song, instead of Windmill - both belonging, of course, to the proper "Chameleon" album.
In the end, these three tracks are brilliant - Kiske's voice is astonishing as ever, and the songwriting is really original and beautiful. We have enjoyable guitar riffs, great solos, catchy choruses and a general "fresh" and entertaining feeling. You won't, of course, find no metal at all here nor "grave" or too complicated harmonies or lyrics, but you are going to hear three wonderful songs of the last and - I repeat, it's my personal opinion - the best and more inspired period of Helloween's life, of Helloween's best line-up ever. Kiske and Ingo will be, unfortunately, no more in Helloween for different reasons, and this is a reason for you to enjoy those two geniuses in the best way.