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Whoa, didn't see this one coming. - 91%

hells_unicorn, June 7th, 2010

Some would argue that just about every other band to come out of the European power metal scene is a Helloween tribute band of one stripe or another, usually going by the list of bands contributing to the famed “Keepers Of Jericho” tribute albums. But an actual, full out, unapologetic cover band that originally prided itself on being Helloween impersonators is not quite as common, although not an entirely unexpected occurrence within the Italian scene, which is known for its high end singers and symphonic tendencies. But interestingly enough, Trick Or Treat goes a bit more orthodox in their approach to emulating the 80s speed metal icons, avoiding any gimmicks in favor of a straight up, bare bones live performance to prove their credentials, and acid test if there ever was one.

The end result is, surprisingly enough, a very fresh and vital performance that actually puts the likes of Gamma Ray on notice. Disbelief is the only logical response to the notion that this is an entirely independent live recording, given how well mixed it is. The entire arrangement is literally as tight as they come, balanced out so that all instruments come through crisp, clear, and totally unified. The vocal performance is wonderfully realized, although Alessandro’s lightly tinged tenor comes off twice as flamboyant as Michael Kiske would be on his worst day, not to mention completely lacking any notion of gravely roughness or evil that Kai Hansen brought to the 86’ speed metal masterpiece “Ride The Sky”, let alone the scratchy attitude Andi Deris exhibited on “We Burn”.

The entire set list is thrown out to the audience like an endless shower of gold coins, never slipping up at any point, but things really come to ahead when they make their attempt at the famed 13 minute epic monster of a composition “Halloween”. No rag tag bunch of hacks can pull off this song at all, with all of the complexities demanded of each instrumentalist and the massive range required of the lead singer, let alone completely slaying at it long before making a huge name for themselves. Helloween themselves have never been able to get this kind of a magical atmosphere since Kiske left the fold, in spite of having a larger arena at their disposal and all of the superior equipment afforded to the kings of the genre.

Long story short, this is nothing short of impressive; especially given how unknown these guys were at the time in comparison to all of the highly visible acts who were offering up their own covers of these songs at around this time. They don’t have the large orchestral backdrops of Rhapsody Of Fire or Dark Moor, nor the dense keyboard overlay and Queen inspired vocal choirs of Freedom Call. But they pull off these songs just as well with two guitars, a bass, drums, and a very adept vocalist. The band has since become a serious contender in the power metal realm, offering up two well received studio albums with all original material, so this is a bit hard to come by apart from online download, but it’s worth surfing the net in order to obtain.