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Raising another fluffy fist against the system - 60%

kluseba, May 30th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Nuclear Blast

On "My God-Given Right", Helloween delivers more of the same. The band offers standard European power metal without any surprises. The most convincing songs are the first three which happen to be among the most joyful tunes the band has written in recent years. "Heroes" starts with sound effects and distorted guitars before one of the fastest contemporary songs of the band kicks off. Orchestral sounds and a powerful bass guitar slow things down before the catchy chorus explodes. This is compact European power metal by numbers but it's performed with enough passion to convince. The first single "Battle's Won" has a similar approach but the chorus is even catchier, the melodies sweeter and the vocals higher. This track is the obvious hit on the record and should convince old and new fans of the band alike and become a long-time candidate for concert sets. Title track "My God-Given Right" reminds me of the power metal sound the band had about fifteen years ago. This track could have had its righteous place on "Rabbit Don't Come Easy". Once again, the track is passionate, fast and catchy enough to hide the obvious problem: the band stagnates.

As the record goes on, the tracks become a little bit less catchy, compact and fast and uncover the band's lack of ideas. Song after song rushes by and fails to leave a deeper impression. The album even starts to become dull and boring by the end. Thirteen similarly sounding tracks are definitely too many to carry an entire album and the diverse bonus editions even include more of the same. It would have been cleverer to release a more concise album with the nine best tracks from the recording sessions. Even if that option had been chosen, this wouldn't have been more than an average Helloween record. The last album had a couple of surprises in form of the historically inspired epic opener "Nabataea", the slightly progressive single "Burning Sun", the short Queen-influenced stomper "Wanna Be God" or the controversial "Asshole". This new album has no special moments, no experiments and not even an emotional ballad to lighten things up.

One thing is even more annoying than seventeen songs that sound exactly alike for nearly eighty minutes on the special edition. The band includes more lyrics that criticize the lifestyles of the rich and famous, greedy businessmen and the Catholic church. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a friend of capitalist entrepreneurs, hedge fund managers or the Vatican. Still, the band's pseudo-intellectual social criticism is closed-minded, provocative and stereotypical in the hope of getting approval. In addition to this, the band had already covered these topics many times before and Andi Deris' last disappointing solo album was filled with lyrics about these topics. Gerstner and Deris seem to be filled with hatred for the leaders of our world and with admiration for the poor working men. When I was sixteen, I would have adored this kind of music in combination with these lyrics. Today, I feel that the whole thing sounds childish, pretentious and redundant. If I wanted some critical comments on politics, rebellious socialist day-dreaming and socio-economic propaganda, I would rather listen to an underground punk album instead.

In the end, Helloween disappoints with a tiring record without any true highlights. This record is still acceptable thanks to the strong opening tracks if you adore the genre. Apart of the cringeworthy "If God Loves Rock 'n' Roll" that doesn't fit to the socialist propaganda in most of the other tracks, I must give the band that there is no real stinker on this release. On the other side, the band really needs to change its musical approach and lyrics for the next album. With controversial albums such as "Chameleon" and "The Dark Ride", the band has already proven that it was able to reinvent itself in the past. It's about time to do this again instead of raising another fluffy fist against the system even at the risk of losing a few fans like fifteen or twenty-two years ago.