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Helloween continues to take charge and kick ass! - 90%

TrooperOfSteel, September 6th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Sony Music

If you are reading this, then you have accepted the terms and conditions to enter into the crazy world of Helloween. Inside you will find that pink bubbles do go ape, rabbits don’t come easy and everything is better than raw. And as you notice the chameleon as you pass the walls of Jericho, you will come across a few interesting characters. Like the master of the rings and the keeper of the seven keys. Pressing further into this world, you can pass the time by gambling with the devil, however the main attraction just has to be the dark ride. There’s no tokens you need for it, only your soul is required when you sign your name on the dotted line.

But now, a new attraction has arrived and its name is ‘7 Sinners’. It’s where all the sinners go and inside you find the answer to that burning question, just who is Mr. Madman. Hear the words from the sage and the fool and they’ll tell you to raise the noise. So as you declare long live the king that rules this place, you may think it all seems far in the future. This isn’t a world of fantasy…this is Helloween!

Alright, enough of the Helloween-isms, let’s get on with it. ‘7 Sinners’ is Helloween’s 13th studio album (not including ‘Metal Jukebox’) and if you don’t know who Helloween is – you are either delving into the headbanging world of heavy metal for the first time (welcome to the club), or you already are a metalhead but have been living under a rock for the past 28 years. While they beat to the sound of their own quirky drum, Helloween are considered to be primarily European power/speed metal and are one of the pioneer bands of their genre. Led by Andy Deris, who’s been the vocalist since 1994 and has helped transform Helloween into who they are now, he is joined by drummer Dani Loble, guitarist Sascha Gerstner and the only two original members of the band; bassist Markus Grosskopf and guitarist Michael Weikath.

‘7 Sinners’ continues Helloween’s current power/speed metal formula that has been prominent on their most recent CDs such as ‘Gambling With The Devil’, ‘Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy’, ‘Rabbit Don’t Come Easy’ and ‘The Dark Ride’. Helloween’s sound is quite distinctive, thanks mostly to Deris’ unique raspy but with a high tinge vocals, and also the impressive axe handling of both Michael and Sascha. Those who enjoyed the above mentioned previous albums will have great delight in hearing this latest offering, which is just as good and consistent, maybe even better (arguably). It is also one of Helloween’s most heavy, powerful and speedy releases in quite some time. The energy and tempos on this CD are indeed at dizzying heights, while the song-writing is spread almost right across the board, giving the album much diversity and character.

‘7 Sinners’ is catchy as hell from beginning to end, with tracks that are of a high level and are consistent all the way through. There are no low points and no “fillers” that I can think of. All of Helloween’s traits flow superbly throughout the disc, I speak of bold power chords, crunchy guitar riffs, licks and slides and impressive solos galore...including (wait for it), a flute solo! Yeah! That’s metal! Andy Deris is also at his wacky best, his vocals one of the most unique in the metal world today. Whether you prefer Michael Kiske over Deris is up to personal preference, however you cannot deny that it has been Deris who has helped take this extraordinary band reach the heights they are currently at. He’s also a damn fine singer with great range, delivery and overflowing emotion.

This album is all about the killer tracks, so let’s mention them. The biggest hits (IMO) would be as follows: “Where the Sinners Go”, “Are You Metal?”, “World of Fantasy”, “Long Live the King”, “You Stupid Mankind” and “Raise The Noise”. The opening track of the album, “Where the Sinners Go” is an aggressive and catchy tune, filled with chunky guitar riffs and a memorable sing-a-long chorus, while “Are You Metal?” is a typical Helloween-not-so-serious sounding track, saluting heavy metal. Quite speedy and heavy, the thunderous beat mixed with the keyboards works very well, not to mention the brilliant solo in the middle.

“Raise the Noise” is another quick-paced track, very catchy and melodic, with a trademark typical Helloween sound, with Deris leading the way with a kick ass vocal performance and the impressive flute solo seals the deal for another cracking track. “World of Fantasy” has a galloping riff which you can’t help but nod your head when you hear it. Probably the most melodic track of the bunch, the chorus is quite memorable as well. It may have that simple feel to it, but Helloween makes it work to a tea. “Long Live The King” is a ferociously fast-paced track, going hell for leather, with crunching guitar riffs and pulsating double bass, while “You Stupid Mankind” contains aggressive guitar bursts mixed with atmospheric sounding keyboards and soaring vocals by Deris. It’s an interesting track indeed, one of the catchiest on the CD and also one of the most entertaining; typical unpredictable Helloween in anyone’s language. Other tracks worth mentioning include the serious “If a Mountain Could Talk” and “Who is Mr. Madman”, reminiscent of (and a loose sequel to) 1994’s “Perfect Gentleman” from the ‘Master of the Rings’ album.

Once again, Helloween has pulled out all the stops and have created another kick ass album. ‘7 Sinners’ ranks right up there with Helloween’s best material to date and should appeal to all European power/speed metal fans. ‘7 Sinners’ should also make anyone’s top 10 of 2010 for best album and why not, this CD deserves all the accolades it receives and more. This just goes to show that there is no slowing down for this pioneering band who will celebrate 30 years in the metal scene in 2 years time. What puts Helloween aside from every other metal band out there is that they are just so unique and carefree – quoting the band “just have fun with the shit you’re doing”. Statements like these have allowed the band to be confident with everything they do, no matter how experimental or strange. So to finish this review, I’ll leave with one more Helloween-ism – Helloween, please don’t stop being crazy, we love it!

Originally written for www.themetalforge.com (22/02/2011)