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They Won't Stand-Up from the Floor Anymore - 80%

ballcrushingmetal, June 17th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1988, CD, RCA

Helloween's third release seems to be a step behind from its predecessors due to its excessively cheesy sound. Nonetheless, the concept established herein is still solid and it fits the standards of epicness and melody that made up the well-known European power metal sound. And to their credit, the German power metallers remained loyal to the concept of its predecessor, making altogether one of the most successful sagas in the history of heavy metal music. However, the band unfortunately started to run out of good compositions and they were victims of their own concept. Furthermore, it seems that they were pressured by the discography to write up more commercial stuff, and that is how their creative mind Kai Hansen felt sick of the direction that the band was meant to follow. This feeling was reflected in their album highlight "I Want Out".

From a merely musical perspective, the band seems to keep on exploiting the Maiden and Judas Priest influences. For instance, "I Want Out" mixes the riffs of the Judas song "Rock Hard, Ride Free" with the concept that they depicted throughout the album. And these influences are also present in other songs like "You Always Walk Alone", whose riffs are pretty much a Maiden thing. On the other hand, the band never abandoned their speed metal music roots which gave them a name in the German metal scene. And that's how pieces, such "Eagle Fly Free" and "March of Time" provided to the album certain moments of outrageous speed which were softened by the keyboard sound, which is a feature that made those songs different from other frenetic numbers like "Ride the Sky". Especially, since the aforementioned couple of songs became more melodic due to the high-pitched vocals of Michael Kiske. These songs were indeed a blueprint on which flower metal bands wrote their music.

Then, the epic title-track closes the album in such a glorious way through the epic lines which mainly deal with the battle between the good and evil. However, Weikath's songwriting abilities displayed herein are quite far from Hansen's brilliant compositions. Whereas Hansen's composition "Halloween" from the previous album of the saga was full of good riffs and quite fast moments, said number is slower-paced and it seems to be a quite lenghty ballad with some heavier moments. That said, the rest of the album shows serious songwriting deficiencies, like if they felt sick of the project. It seems that the band embedded the album with filling stuff rather than with serious compositions.

Despite of the aforementioned deficiencies, Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 2 represented their last moments of brilliance. After the release of this album, Hansen left the band to form Gamma Ray. His departure was such a painful loss from which the band was not able to recover. Thereafter, they suffered a lot his absence and sadly, their compositions became worse and more uninspired than ever thought, even turning their songwriting into a self-parody game, and any single attempt on regaining respectability became such a failure.