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The album of the year for 1988 - 97%

TrooperEd, January 5th, 2012

And considering 1988 was a breakthrough year for thrash (each of the big 4 would put out a classic this year), black and death metal, that's a massive accomplishment when you're sticking to basics.

I’m a sucker for when a band’s discography is a slow rising journey in quality until it culminates with a masterpiece for the ages. This is that very concept.

Now I’m sure to most Helloween fans their top two Helloween songs are Halloween and Viction of Fate or Ride The Sky fighting out at #2, but 3-10 could very well be the tracklisting for this entire album. My expectations were very high for this album due to hype, etc. and this album passed every single one of those expectations, every one. Everyone is on their A-game here, from both a musician and songwriting standpoint. While Keeper 1 managed to carry the weight of quality through seven tracks (I ignore the intros, so should you), this manages to carry a higher level of quality through nine songs. Yes, nine, I include Save Us. I usually scoff at and ignore bonus tracks, but Save Us is a fantastic song that I wouldn’t even be opposed to appearing the top 10 of Helloween songs!

The lyrics are also worth mentioning to, as they display a sense of social conscious (From our lives' beginning on, We are pushed in little forms, No one asks us how we like to be), cynicism with humanity (in the sky a mighty eagle doesn’t care about what’s illegal), and surprisingly, humor, both intentional (his assistant’s hips were nice, so he cloned her once or twice, now his hips are aching) and unintentional (an earthquake, squirting fire).

It’s of course worth mentioning that not only is this a blast to listen to, but it’s highly innovative as well. If Seventh Son of A Seventh Son didn’t do a complete job of laying down the ground rules of power metal, than this album certainly did.

If you’ve ignored this album, because of the power metal tag or the sounds too much like Maiden tag, I urge you to reconsider and pick it up. You are missing out on too much joy (and metal) for you to afford otherwise.

Recommended songs:
Eagle Fly Free
March of Time
Keeper of the Seven Keys