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A landmark, but not without flaws - 90%

Doomrock, March 26th, 2006

I love this album, I really do. It's one of the ones responsible for my metal rennaisance back in high school that saved me from a lifetime listening to mediocre radio crap. It started with Time of the Oath that I found on the used racks, I figure a band with a name like "Helloween" deserved some investigation. Probably one of the best decisions I ever made. I followed that one up with this immortal album, a reference point for the entire genre.

With the Keeper albums, Helloween took their turbo-Maidenish sound and refined it into something new and original, starting a shockwave in the metal scene that's still being felt nearly 20 years later. My esteem for this album has not wavered, but I find myself hitting the "next" button on the CD player a few more times than I'd like.

The Great: Catchy, melodic tunes, some of the classics of the power metal genre like Eagle Fly Free and I Want Out, and some excellent but overlooked classic songs like We've Got the Right, still to this day one of my favorite Kiske performances. The guitarwork is inventive and excellent, and Markus and Ingo are no slouches either. The songs are expertly crafted, and hold their own to this day.

The Not So Great: The production isn't really that great. It's good, but it does make the album sound a little dated at times. Not in a bad way, but if an album was released that sounded like this in 2006 fans would be clamoring for a remixed, remastered version. There are some thin songs on here, as the band has remarked in recent years they didn't have the time they'd have wished to fine tune some of the songs. Yes, there is some cheese here, but no "black arrows to false metal" type of junk here. It's evident they don't take themselves too seriously, so you can't really fault them for this. There are some middling tracks as well, like You Always Walk Alone and Save Us, good but not great.

The Lousy: Rise and Fall. If I were the god of metal, I would erase this song from the album. It's really stupid. I've tried since my teen years to look at the song in context and I really tried to like it, but from the vocals to the guitars to the sound effects, this song would have been best left as a B-Side (though it's nowhere the steaming pile of turd that is Heavy Metal Hamsters). Dr. Stein doesn't really do it for me either, I liked the song years ago but the more time has passed, the less I can tolerate this song. I know it's regarded as one of their classics, but I would have to say it hasn't aged as well as some of the other songs on the album. Also to echo an earlier review, they could have done without the dumb sound effects.

To summarize this album, It really is a great album. I still consider it one of the albums that changed the way I looked at metal and music in general, and I still give it a spin very often all these years later. Though there are some songs that would make me want to give it less than a 90, the impact of the great songs on here and the shockwave it sent through European Metal warrants it having a great rating. I still regard it as an essential release, even if there are some songs on here that make you say "ehh".