For the perfect example of what the band are doing here, listen to the single “Are You Metal?” and pay attention to the music underneath the guitar solo. Then listen to the first heavy riff on “Who Is Mr. Madman?” – See? It’s the Deris-era Helloween sound, but darker, harder, and heavier. Songs like “Long Live The King” still have huge sing-along melodies and soaring triumphant guitar lines that you want from Helloween, but they simply crush as well.
It sounds kind of like a mixture between the heaviest parts of 2000’s The Dark Ride and 2007’s Gambling With The Devil albums.
Ok. So its heavier than their usual style, but is it also good? Yes. Yes, its very good. There are memorable choruses in spades, great guitar solos, fun drum fills and a very smart balance of consistency with variety. You won’t get bored, but it feels like a cohesive “whole.”
Standout tracks include Grosskopf’s fantastic contributions “World Of Fantasty,” and “If A Mountain Could Talk” as well as the fist-pounding, anthemic “Raise The Noise” which they should have made a concert staple. Its an absolute stormer. It even has a Jethro Tull-esque flute solo that doesn’t feel cheesy, token or forced.
A lot is said about Helloween’s frequent line-up changes, but this third album by the Löble/Gerstner/Deris/Grosskopf/Weikath line-up (the longest-lasting and most stable line-up in the band’s 30-year career) more than stands up to scrutiny, and shows progression and development without “missing the point” of the band.
Overall, if you wanted to pick up the harshest most savage Helloween album, this would be your best bet. If you want to pick up another good Helloween album this is still a great bet.