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A great compilation - 90%

CrystalMountain, May 12th, 2009

Best of albums are always a bit of a touchy subject, especially in the world of heavy metal. Most of these are met with disdain and seen as nothing but a sell out. Sometimes though, a band releases one like this. One that is a very good representation of the band as a whole and would make a great first impression for a new listener, and also includes some nice treats for the hardcore fans. Nearly all the classics are here, there are only 2 songs that I really felt should have been included that weren't. One is "Phantoms of Death" from Walls of Jericho, which is a personal favorite of mine, but it's omission doesn't surprise me. The second however is the classic "Eagle Fly Free" from the second Keepers album. Wow, how can you not include that song? That's like Helloween's trademark song. But you can't please everyone, and in reality it's still one of the best "Best of" albums you'll ever hear.

I won't bother going over each of the classic tracks, as all of them are fucking awesome, and that should go without saying. Songs like "Ride the Sky," I Want Out," "Halloween," etc. are some of the best heavy metal songs ever created. But I will go over the rare B-sides thrown in here. "Livin' Ain't No Crime" is a decent rocker, it has a similar vibe as songs like "Future World" and "Dr. Stein" it's just not quite as good as those two. "Savage" is much faster, and it's damn good. It was actually written by Kiske, which is kind of surprising because it was probably one of the heaviest songs they had at the time. "Don't Run For Cover" is another Kiske song, and this one sounds more like what you might expect from Kiske or Weikath. It's a little quirky, but still pretty heavy. The real gem here though is a rare version of the classic "Victim of Fate" re-done with Kiske on vocals. It's not just a vocal track over the original either, it's completely new with beefed up production. And god damn does it kick ass, I mean it doesn't get much better than this. I love the original to death but this version is better in every way. The same dark feeling of the original is kept here, and as good as Hansen sang the original, Kiske takes it to the next level. The really big change is the soft interlude in the middle of the song, in the original Hansen sounded a little unsure of himself with his whispering, but Kiske adds some dramatic flair to it. And the scream that ends the interlude, holy shit! "You will burn in hellllllllll!!!!" He sends that scream up into the stratosphere, very well done.

For what it is, you couldn't really ask for much more. The 2 early eras of the bands are well represented, and all though a couple of amazing songs were left off, and a couple generic songs were thrown in, it's still about as good as a best of CD can get really. And if anything, it's worth having for "Victim of Fate" and "Savage" alone.