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Power metal legend ? - 69%

extremesymphony, October 11th, 2010

Many times, some albums of certain bands are genre defining and for the same reasons are claimed to as legendary. True that genre defining albums are great, but does that also imply that they are legendary? Not necessary. Helloween's Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II is one of the most fundamental examples of the kind. Helloween jumped to the forefront of the metal scene with their speed metal debut Walls Of Jericho and the equally gripping follow up in the form of Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I. Hence it was quite a natural thing that this album would be successful.

Among the individual performances, the guitar duo of Kai Hansen and Michael Weikath shine. AS on the last two Helloween albums, the guitar work on this album is just superb. This includes both the riff work and lead work as well. The riff work is a bit more melodic from the last two albums, where it was mostly thrash inspired. Markus Grosskopf also sounds great and his basslines are creative rivalling the likes of Steve Harris and Geezer Butler. The drumming is so-so. It sounds great, but there were even better drummers during that period, and so it doesn't quite sound unique. The vocals are the main problem of the album. No, don't get me wrong, Michael Kiske is a superb singer with a great range, but on this album he sounds very weak and powerless. Also he lacks imagination in his vocal delivery. Many times he goes into high pitch, without any necessity and it sounds annoying. He has a great range and a great voice, but an inability to use it perfectly.

Among the individual performances, the opener Eagle Fly Free is the essential highlight. It has great pace, chorus and a superb vocal performance by Kiske. Dr.Stein is another highlight. it features superb guitar work. It would have sounded much better if Kiske was replaced by a rough singer. Kiske sounds powerless in this song. but it doesn't make too much of a diffrence to it. Save Us and March Of Time are also great tracks, both highlights. The title track has it's moments and it works well when it gets going. But it is overlong and many of it's sections seem out of place. It would have sounded much better if it was reduced to it's half. I Want Out is pure crap ( comparing to the highlights ). It sounds like a random Bon Jovi song with a more guitar oriented approach. We Got the Right, Rise And Fall and You Always Walk Alone are the worst songs from the album. I don't even remember listening to them as I always have used the skip button.

Finally this album breaks down due to consistency. Had it been more consistent it would have been great. But from an influential point of view, this album established the whole new genre of power metal, especially the european power metal. The standard guitar work, siongstructures, vocal melodies were established by this album. If you want some lesson in power metal songwriting listen to this album. The rest looking for enjoyment, please look somewhere else.