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Essential Helloween - 89%

Dethrone_Tyranny, November 3rd, 2003

That's right, this is one of Helloween's most essential albums and also the last of their speed metal era. Most of the speed metal elements have already disappeared but enough is left to call many of the tracks on here speed metal. I have no idea why so many people bash this album. For the most part, it's not too different from the Keeper albums, just a bit more straight forward and much more absurd. That's right, the majority of this album is like 'Rise And Fall'. Perhapse it's the album and song titles that they hate, but as far as I know, these songs rock!

Pink Bubbles Go Ape - Not a very good start to the album. This intro is very goofy, and no, not the good type of goofy that Helloween is good at doing, this just sucks. Oh well, the next track doesn't, that's for sure.

Kids Of The Century - I wouldn't call this one speed metal, but boy does it rock! The riffs are pretty damn heavy and double bass is used, though not at a fast pace. Michael Kisk is in top form here, delivering an incredible vocal performance especially in the chorus. A very well done, catchy tune, just great!

Back On The Streets - This one is more of a speed metal tune, though not very heavy. It's average at best, quite catchy but Kisk doesn't use very good vocal range and the riffs are weak, unlike on the previous track.

Number One - A beautiful semi ballad, not all that heavy either but the vox is used quite well, Kisk puts it into full range here. Actually, his voice is quite tamed out on here, but it's powerful in its own unique way.

Heavy Metal Hamsters - Here we go now with the odd, absurd titles. What the fuck is a heavy metal hamster!?!? The world may never know...but this is indeed a cool song. I don't think it's the best one on here but it's pretty fuckin' catchy and VERY well structured. It's one of those songs that stays nailed to the back of your skull, whether you love it or hate it.

Goin' Home - The speed metal elements now return. Though being one of the fastest on the album, this tune is pretty weak. The chorus is not very memorable, plus the riff work and vox are just average, nothing really special, but nothing bad at all.

Someone's Crying - Now this is an AWESOME song! I can safetly call this a real speed metal tune. Awesome double bass, it's pretty heavy and Kisk just blows you away here with his vocal performance. Not to mention the this contains one killer chorus! One's of Helloween's best songs, whether you agree or not.

Mankind - Another heavy track, though very straight forward. It has a driving, mid-paced rhythm to it, causing it to be pretty catchy and easy to sing along to. Hey, with a cool song like this you can't help but sing along to it. So yes, this is another essential Helloween tune, and very underrated also.

I'm Doing Fine, Crazy Man - I think that this belongs on the 'Chameleon' album, because it sucks. Okay fine, it's an average tune but for Helloween, this is shit. Forget the stupid, almost meaningless (at least to me) song title, that's not what bothers me. What bothers me is that the music sucks, it's weak and boring. No where near metal at all, or even traditional rock for that matter. It sounds for like a folk tune.

The Chance - Now here's a cool one. If there were such thing as a speed metal ballad, this would be it. A semi-soft tune in a ballad form, though double bass is used through out the entire song, just as it would be used for a speed metal song. If you're a bit puzzled as to what I am talking about, you'll have to hear the song for yourself.

Your Turn - The album closes with a very well done ballad. Not as good as 'A Tale That Wasn't Right' or even the ballad that ends off 'Chameleon' (yes, you read it right, the ballad that closes of 'Chameleon' is better than this one, but I'll get into that a bit more with my review for that album), but it's a great tune. Good song structure and GREAT vocal performace, done by the one and only Michael Kisk. This guy can do no wrong when it comes to vox.

So an overall great effort by the band, one that fans should not be so harsh on. I could understand if this was 'Chameleon', but it's not, it's a solid heavy metal album from the speed metal gods.