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The Weakest Helloween Release to date. - 67%

hells_unicorn, March 2nd, 2008

In 1989, after Kai Hansen left the band and formed Gamma Ray, Helloween was thrown into the abyss and didn't re-emerge for 2 years. Needless to say, expectations were high as there had been no studio release from the band in 3 years. But even without the expectations, this album is suffering from serious identity issues, and this can not be blamed on the entry of Roland Grapow into the band, because his compositional effort "The Chance" is the only 100% excellent offering on here.

One of the problems that immediately jumps out at you when you listen to the album is the ridiculous intro that carries the same title as the album. This underscores the different lyrical direction that the band took here, choosing to try to either satirize humanity or make some otherwise witty critique of it, which in even the case of some allegedly brilliant philosophers and thinkers, is a recipe for disaster.

There are some decent songs on here. "Kids of the Century" is a decent rocker, though I am getting a bit annoyed with all the damned environmentalist propaganda that various rock and metal groups seem all to willing to help spread. "Number One" is a rather down tempo melodic track that has a nice catchy chorus. "Heavy Metal Hamsters" is an awesome rocker musically, although the lyrics seem to be pandering a bit too much to the rather false notion that metal didn't evolve, it did it consistently for more than a decade. Why do you think that metal lasted from 12 years in many forms, while the so-called Grunge scene died completely with Kurt Cobain after a reign of 3 or 4 years. "Your Turn" is lyrically a bit strange, but musically it is rather good, particularly the acoustic sections and the vocals.

There is only one truly great track on here, and that is "The Chance". Probably the most intense vocal performance Michael Kiske has ever delivered, combined with one of the most insane and brilliant solos every written courtesy maestro Roland Grapow. If this album had been more oriented in the direction that this track was, it would have been a brilliant change of pace from the "Keeper" albums, but sadly this did not happen.

Although not a total throwaway, it is definitely sub-par for what Helloween is capable of, and in my view at the bottom of the list in their 25 year history. I for one can not strongly recommend this album as I don't believe in buying an entire release for 4 or 5 songs. But for the sake of the songs mentioned, if you can find a second hand copy of this for $6 or less (or the equivalent in your currency), you may want to get it.