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Underrated, even today! - 80%

aplws, January 3rd, 2005

Coming out from a law-suit after their label change and a huge line-up change which leaves legendary guitarist-songwriter Kai Hansen out of the band, Helloween come back with "Pink Bubbles Go Ape". A record which was bashed by music critics due to the fact that the band changed their music to a small effect when compared to their highly praised Keeper Of The Seven Keys records.

"Pink Bubbles..." admitably has a really strange, even silly title but this is not the case with the song writing. The music departs a bit from the continuous double-bass drumming stile and is enriched with more progressive and at parts mainstream ideas. Some songs are softer than the usual tracks found on the Keeper records reminding more of heavy metal than power metal, but that's not a drawback for sure.

Without diving into each and every song, I'm going to name only the outstanding ones! "Mankind" is a great-epic and progressive song with wonderful vocal and musical variations. "The Chance" is a mid-paced heavy metal anthem, which contains some of the albums best vocals and is the most known track from this relish. "Someone's Crying" is the only song that could be categorized as pure power metal (fast double-base drumming), a truly great song, which reminds a lot of their previous albums. "Your Turn" is a wonderful rock -blues ballad with great vocals and finally "Kids of the Century" is another fast song with smart lyrics and great solos.

The new guitarists R.Grapow proves to be a worthy replacement, as his guitar playing is outstanding and he also contributes some great tracks to the album. Vocalist Michael Kiske has improved even more (if that could be possible) in both technicality and emotion delivering his best vocal performance up to that point. While the other 3 band members, especially drummer Ingo, continue to show how talented musicians they are.

The only drawback of this album are silly tracks "Heavy Metal Hamster", "I'm Doin Fine..." and "Pink Bubbles..." and the production, which is kind of weak, making the vocals and the drums stand out above the rest.

You should definitely give this album a chance, if you enjoyed Helloweens previous relishes, as you can see how the band progresses and doesn't continue repeating itself for the sake of record sales.