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Play it as loud as you're allowed. - 75%

hells_unicorn, July 31st, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, 2CD, Nuclear Blast (Limited edition, Earbook)

Considering the massive amount of time that 30 years is for any musical career, it goes without saying that a certain degree of predictability comes along with a latter day release of any such project. No band can really last this long without some degree of stylistic consistency, though often times a band that begins with an extremely eclectic approach will express this consistency very differently than a band like Helloween. To be clear, Helloween began as something of a revolutionary act, as something along the lines of the Keepers albums were definitely a departure from a more formulaic approach to speed metal that was typified in a number of mid-80s German bands. Nevertheless, this band's career highs have generally been marked by consistency, whereas their lows were generally marked by mild to moderate departures into different stylistic territory or by a lineup instability.

With the release of My God-Given Right, Helloween's 15th full length studio album of original material, this general rule of thumb has given way to a noteworthy exception where things have teetered off into a generally entertaining, but flawed result that has all the characteristics of Rabbit Don't Come Easy and Master Of The Rings, but without the lineup shifts. It's an album built primarily off of solid hooks and generally strong performances, and even a fair degree of nuance from time to time, but still manages to feel a bit contrived and mechanical in spite of it all. It should be stressed that this does not come about because of any notable change in stylistic direction, as the first impression that this album gives off is still well within the realm of what typified their recent works following Dani Löble joining the band 10 years prior and the release of the third installment of the Keepers saga.

Interestingly enough, things start off pretty strong and a sound that fairly closely resembling that of Gambling With The Devil emerges and holds steady for most of the first several songs. The lead off number "Heroes" takes a bit more of a punchy, heavy sound and is fairly fast, but largely a gritty affair that lends itself pretty strongly to the aforementioned 2007 opus. Immediately nipping on its heels are two very catchy speeders in this album's lead off single "Battle's Won" and the title song, each placing a fairly strong emphasis on guitar melody and capturing that good old days vibe that permeated a lot of the better material on the past three albums. Similarly, though at more of an upper-mid pace, the preceding single's b-side "Lost In America" and "Living On The Edge" keep up the generally happy and upbeat character of this band's happy-go-lucky character without becoming overly comical.

Much of the rest of this album is a bit of a mixed bag, if not so much for being too formulaic within itself, but more so for drawing from a number of different points in Helloween's past and not quite holding onto the level of consistency that makes for a smooth flowing album. On the predictable side of things is a number of slower rockers in "Stay Crazy" and "Russian Roulette" that are fairly solid, but don't really stand out very much. On the less than predictable side of things is a quirky sounding heavy number with a slight industrial feel in "Swing Of A Fallen World", which almost seems like it wants to emulate the title song off Time Of The Oath but fails to come off as climactic and powerful and functions more like a token heavier number that's overly formulaic. As the album closes off things get back on track with a pair of epic cruisers in "Claws" and "You, Still Of War", the former almost recaptures the glory of "Eagle Fly Free", whereas the latter mixes things up a bit more and is fairly reminiscent of the longer songs heard on Straight Out Of Hell.

In terms of the sum of the regular studio songs, the standard version of this album is roughly identical in quality to the moderately appealing yet mixed affair of Rabbit Don't Come Easy, but anyone ambitious enough to actually pick up the limited edition two CD version will be getting their money's worth as the 4 song EP that makes up the second CD contains some pretty strong songs that probably would have functioned better if they stood in for some of the weaker numbers mentioned earlier. While maybe not a whole lot more elaborate than much of what comprises the first CD, songs like "I Wish I Were There" and "More Than A Lifetime" have a bit more life to them. But even when accounting for all of this, on the whole this is a bit weaker than what has been standard operating procedure for this band since 2005. Weikath and company pull a respectable showing, but they were edged out this time by recent offerings out of former band mates' Michael Kiske's and Kai Hansen's respective projects.