Sound — 10
Ok, let's be honest here, since mastermind Kai Hansen and selfish out-of-this-world-voicalist Michael Kiske left the band, Helloween have been falling from an endless cliff without salvation in sight for about 15 years. Though they have released some great Power Metal tracks like "Kids Of The Century", "Sole Survivor", "Wake Up The Mountain" and a bunch more, most people never thought of them as metal gods or anything near that. So, after all this years and some experimental albums in between Helloween are back trying to prove us that they still are the masters of the genre. And, may I dare to say, they do it in a rather extraordinary way! Following the album's intro "Crack The Riddle", where you think you'll listen to a "Dark Ride Part: The Legacy", you'll be blown away by the awesome "Kill It" where Rob Halford gave a few vocal lessons to Helloween's Andi Derris in exchange for his soul (I mean there's just no other bloody way). One can say that this particular song gives away the personality of the album, fast, angry at times, dark with light in the perfect doses but most important of all, never getting the joy out of your ear, not ever. "The Saints" which is next will surely remind you of the first two Keepers with some fast guitar arrangements, melodic vocals and a few solos that will surely fill your pose-hunger. After that you'll be introduced to the commercial side of Helloween, where "As Long As I Fall" proves that Helloween never hit the ground with some nice piano riffs and a great chorus which is overwhelmed with power. But then you'll enter the party. "Paint a New World", "Final Fortune", "Bells Of The Seven Hells", "Fallen To Pieces", "I.M.E", "Dreambound" and "Heaven Tells No Lies" will just leave with an open mouth, angry, wondering "Why did it have to end? I mean, Why?" Guitars written by some divine entity, piano that would make Mozart jealous (ok, just joking) and a flow of music which very few, special, albums are proud to be known for. I leave "Can Do It" out of all this because it can be quite cheesy for some, but who cares for all those depressing people, right? In the end, Helloween prove right in your face that the last 15 years weren't a waste of time after all, but a sum of experiments on the sublect of sound with one goal in mind. Perfection. In conclusion, if you're asking for a mix of trash, melodic speed, power and heavy metal this the place for you.
Lyrics — 9
As I said before, many can argue about the musical direction Helloween have followed over the years, but none can deny that they have some of the bests lyrics in the history of metal (especially in the Power genre). For those who don't know, "The Bells Of The Seven Hells", "Fallen To Pieces" and "I.M.E" are considered to be a trilogy, written by Andi Derris, talking about the history of Germany and what Hitler did to the band's homeland. But somehow Andi has this magic and cleverness in his lyrics that even if he talks about a particular sublect there's also a general meaning behind it. That's why you'll hear about the seven sins, how you feel when someone has run over you(litteraly) and how to say that "I Am Me" and I'm something better than what you want me to be. You'll also hear to a bunch other stuff too but the real meaning of this album is "Gamble with the Devil, man. You'll win." The meaning itself, though, isn't really the nice part of Helloween's lyrics. It's more important how you get to it. The thinking of those ugly looking texts. After about half an hour of deep concentration you'll feel really smart for halving solved the easy riddle Helloween described right before you ears. And having that smile on your face is 7 times more worthy than the pseudo-cultural meaning of this CD. Highight line of the album for me: "We try to force our final fortune, /as if we knew the final score, /and we pretend to know things better, /and all madness we ignore," Final Fortune. Approaching the end of this sector, in the vocal part of this album, Andi gives his best on all notes, all song and all octaves with some outstanding screams, some rather angry grunts and an unreal combination of both those elements togehter.
Overall Impression — 9
All said, Helloween have really done it this time offering one of their bests works as of yet. I mean, yes pals, the Keeper albums are quite great but time goes on and maybe you were wrong. So try to open your life a little and accept that you're not 20 anymore. As for the bests songs of Helloween's 13th studio album for me, they have to be something like this: Bells Of The Seven Hells, Kill It, Final Fortune/Heaven Tells No Lies (I can't really decide). Before I salute you, I have to say that what you're going to love about this album is that it never gets old and boring. I've been hearing for about a month now and I still can't seem to delete it from my mp3 playlist. Like me, you'll just keep asking for it. Now ending this quite tiring review I have to answer that I would certainly buy it again and again if it was stolen, but more probable is the case that I'd steal it from someone else (no kidding). Have a nice time hearing this masterpiece! Note:It's not gotten a 10 because there really isn't anything radical that will blow you way. Just some polished-to-death Helloween elements put togehter perfectly.