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For the Lighthearted Metalhead. - 84%

hells_unicorn, April 13th, 2007

Often shelved by some as an exercise of pointless slapstick comedy on the part of Michael Weikath, “Dr. Stein” is something of a cult classic in current days among fans of 80s metal who simply wanted to have a good time and didn’t care about how cheesy the lyrics or music turned out. Indeed, cheese is a good word to describe the main riff, over the top vocals, B-movie horror sounding pipe organ solo, and the general subject matter of a mad scientist creating monsters and letting them out into the world. I myself actually sang karaoke to this tune and literally brought down the house by re-enacting some of the events depicted in the lyrics.

The B-sides of this single concur with the lack of over-seriousness and lightheartedness of the A-side, but with a somewhat different musical character. “Savage” is about as fast and intense as they come, sounding quasi-punk inspired and featuring plenty of over-the-top vocal acrobatics on the part of Michael Kiske. The lyrics are right up the punk rock alley as well, sticking it to the aristocratic mainstream by embracing the label often used to pigeonhole metal heads as misfits. “Living Ain’t No Crime” follows suit with a more mid-tempo and melodically catchy offering. The only thing that truly separates this single from being a novelty/comedy act is the musical credibility that the band exhibits, as I doubt that any punk rock band has the ambition to attempt to recreate what is heard on here.

For those crazy, eccentric, and utterly mad collectors of oddities out there like me who wish to obtain every single thing put out by Helloween, this little tidbit is now available in the box set that was put out last year, along with 6 other singles from the Kai/Kiske era of the 80s and early 90s. Particularly if you have an obsession with the decade of metal, a decade which I myself viewed through the limited vision of an 8 year old boy, this box set is loaded with fond memories of long hair and good times. Obviously this particular single is not for those who can’t handle comedy, but for all of you stiffs out there I simply say this, any cause without laughter is a cause not worth following.