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Who Says Perfection Doesn't Exist? - 100%

NecroWraith, February 12th, 2007

This album is (dare I say…?) perfect. And I mean it. I’m very picky about my music, and I always find at least one tiny thing I don’t like. There’s always one filler. Perhaps bad production. Or maybe bad vocals? Guitars? There’s not enough song diversity? Something always bothers me. But no, not on here. Helloween’s second ‘Keeper’ is musical perfection.

Of course, this album is considered a landmark in metal history. And rightly song. How can you go wrong with Kai Hansen on guitars and Michael Kiske on vocals? You can’t. And that’s not even mentioning Kai Hansen’s amazing songwriting. I mean, every single song on this album is a power metal masterpiece, and I cannot find any song on here that could be considered filler in the smallest bit.

Obviously, Helloween were highly experimental here (as well as on the first Keeper) since they were treading previously unexplored territory and creating new genres of metal with each new album, it seemed. It is clear that this album contains even more power metal elements than the first of the Keepers, but it still has that hint of traditional metal and NWOBHM, as well as speed metal elements. Taking the best parts from each genre created a legendary sound that will NEVER be copied, no matter how many times it may be attempted. (Basically every single power metal band is DIRECTLY, and in a lot of cases SOLELY influenced by Helloween… and none of them manage to sound as great as the originals.)

So enough of the history lesson and let me start of with the vocals. Fuck, I can’t think of a single word good enough to describe them. Michael Kiske’s voice is godly. I don’t know of any vocalist that can sing better than him. There’s Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, Rob Halford of Judas Priest, Dio… all amazing vocalists, and they do come close, but I do believe, at least in ‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys, Part 2,’ Michael Kiske outsings them all.

Kiske has an incredible amount of singing ranges. He can be heard singing high, singing low… speeds vary as well. We hear him singly slow and operatically, and singing fast. It adds a lot of variety and song diversity to the album, which is yet another plus. Kiske’s voice is also incredibly catchy. When you hear vocalists like, say, Timo Tolkki from Stratovarius, Tolkki’s voice is incredibly forgetful. Kiske’s is quite the opposite.

The guitars on this release are perfect as well. Ranging from slower songs like ‘We Got The Right,’ to faster songs like ‘Eagle Fly Free,’ we always get riffs and solos that match perfectly the mood of the song. Kai Hansen seems to be able to influence the listener’s mood at will, which is something that not enough musicians can do.

The song structures here are flawless as well. The opening of each song is a masterpiece. ‘I Want Out’ for example starts out with a short and repetitive guitar solo that is catchy as hell. Right after we hear Kiske singing, slowly but steadily building up to the chorus, and at 55 seconds into the song we hear a second of drumming, and the chorus erupts with one of the catchiest choruses in metal history… “I want OUT! OUT! OUT!” At four minutes and ten seconds the song begins to close, and we hear one more “I WANT OUT!” as two more riffs and rums sound out, and the song closes. It’s perfect.

The song diversity on here is amazing. But it is not so diverse as to be annoying. There is a perfect amount of speed and style changes throughout the album to keep the listener entertained all album long. Each song is something completely new and original, with no repetitions of any kind, and no fillers whatsoever. The themes of the songs range greatly as well. For example, we have the anthemic ‘I Want Out,’ and then we have the legendary epic, ‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys,’ going at over thirteen and a half minutes. Then we have ‘Eagle Fly Free,’ which is a speed metal masterpiece with power metal vocals from Kiske, and then we have songs along the likes of ‘Dr. Stein’ and ‘Rise And Fall.’ Both are less serious, and are simply… goofy. Take a look at this excerpt from ‘Rise And Fall’ for example:

“A spaceman flies the rocket
that takes him to the stars
thinks his wife is in his pocket
but she's strolling 'round in bars”

Absolutely ridiculous lyrics. Sang in a ridiculous way. But you know what? It WORKS. Helloween are not afraid to have fun while they play, and don’t worry about taking everything so damn seriously. They didn’t earn the nickname “Happy Happy Helloween” for nothing :-)

I love Helloween. I love Helloween. I love Helloween. And ‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys, Part 2’ is the biggest reason for that. Throughout their whole history they released legendary albums like, of course, both ‘Keepers,’ ‘Time Of The Oath,’ ‘Master Of The Rings….’ And countless others. But this album right here is what etched their name in heavy metal history forever. If you don’t have it yet… GET IT. It’s as simple as that. You cannot be regarded with the least amount of respect if you don’t own this masterpiece.

-Marcin C.