www.firegoat.com » Reviews » Helloween
  Guest: Login | Sign up Slovenska verzija - Slovene version
Helloween - "Treasure Chest"
Metal-is Records 2002

Grandfathers of German Power Metal have finally decided to bring out their first best of album in many years. A logical idea in the current situation after departure of guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch. This is not the first time for them to deal with problems around their band members. The same troubles were also with ex-band leader and major guitarist Kai Hansen (now with Gamma Ray), former singer Michael Kiske (now solo) and of course outrageous drum maestro Ingo Schwihtenberg who also named the band. Their impact had two very different results: from little known and funny pumpkin headed band to the top of the world's metal scene when they were even declared so far as the successors of Iron Maiden in late eighties to the bottom of German charts when they lost their orientation and became target of fans fury. However, with great additions such as charismatic frontman Andi Deris and two guys that I mentioned before they finally brought their reputation back. Their style of playing was changing every time they got a different singer, so I can hardly remember a single band who experimented so much as Helloween. We can put their evolution in four eras: from flashy and aggressive style with Kai as singer (85-86), melodic and romantic times with supertalented Kiske (87-90), their fall when they signed to EMI (91-93) and finally more symphonic and crafty modern era with Deris which started in 1994 and came to a new part with new band members.

I was wondering about which songs from their rich collection will be included on this double CD edition. Every Helloween fan has got his own favourites, so I wasn't sure if I'll be happy with band's choice. Fortunately it was not such disappointment with a quick look back, but I was indeed unhappy with some few but lousy titles which could be also on their worst of album.

On the first, golden disc you may find some fresh material from their last three albums. "Mr. Torture" (give me a break), "I Can" (cool and powerful), "Power" (every time it is there) and "Where The Rain Grows" (it never stops) are all tested and respected songs, especially if you are one of the fresher fans or you don't care about the fact that there was once a great singer who was compared to the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Geoff Tate (and I don't care, you will know why). Yes, with immortal classics "Eagle Fly Free" and "Future World" we return back to the days of their don't ask me how successful "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" era. After that all Rayniacs will recognize the angry and specific voice of Mr. Hansen who back then sang pretty different from nowadays. "Metal Invaders", "Murderer" and "Starlight" (both re-mastered) are all great, prehistoric songs from their legendary mini-LP and I really like the decision to put them on the list. But I was specially amazed with enormous version of "Starlight" with Kiske on lead vocal. Great, also cause this is a very rare edition! Everyone loves traditional "Ride The Sky" (re-mastered) and melancholic "How Many Tears", because they are both part of the shows by them or Gamma Ray. Then you will hear again Kiske's powerful and clean voice on "Halloween", in my opinion their best song ever. After this highlight be prepared for two unusual songs, commercial "A Little Time" and a ballad "A Tale That Wasn't Right". Cause you may get bored there is also smashy "I Want Out", which still kicks ass!

The silver one may cause some eyebrows. Despite such great moments as re-mastered version of (for many the best of them all) - "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" (finally!) and "Dr. Stein" (the sound effects are really far cry better) it includes those three lousy songs that I don't like. I am not talking about always enjoyable"The Chance", it is this softy "Windmill" from "Chameleon" where they sound like Eurovision contenders. The other two are annoying "Kings Will Be Kings" and too wet "Forever And One". Never mind! Luckily, my favourite songs are yet to come! With "Sole Survivor", "Perfect Gentleman", "In The Middle Of A Heartbeat", "Mr. Ego", "Midnight Sun" (nice surprise!) and especially "The Time Of The Oath the Helloween" that I enjoy are back. Normally that I like "Immortal" and "Mirror, Mirror" from the last album "The Dark Ride", but there may be probably many other as it is full of entertaining songs. You will also receive a colorful booklet with some information about band's history, but do not expect something in a way of Iron Maiden's "Best Of The Beast".

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about this funny and entertaining CD called "Buried Treasure"! It is a compilation of rare songs from B-sides and singles. Most of them were never realized in European countries so I never got a chance to hear them. Sure that I didn't have any great expectations, so I was pretty amazed by some of them. Those are by no meaning songs with Kiske who sang them like he has lost all his power and energy. "Shit and Lobster", "I Don't Care","You Don't Care", "Ain't Got Nothin' Better" are all behind expectations, because unenthusiastic singing. The only song that shines on from EMI era is Grapow's great solo performance on "Oriental Journey". "Moshi Moshi Shiki No Uta" is Kusch's drum solo that was recorded during Japanese tour. When I almost gave up hope that it was worthy to got this bronze disc, I woke up! With "I Can't Fight Your Desire", "Star Invasion" and "Silicon Dreams" my supposition finally came true. That Deris is not only a better singer than Kiske, but also far better songwriter. I just wonder why they didn't put them on official releases. "Electric Eye", a Judas Priest classic is the only cover here and I must say that it is better than I expected. Now as usual the pumpkincake came to an end. "A Game We Should Not Play" is with no joking one of my favourite songs they ever did with Andi on vocal line. Hey, this is another proof that he is as cool as Kiske will never be, even if he came back (I hope not to). And Rolando proved the same to all his successors with excellent "Grapowski's Malmsuite 1001" ("In D Doll"). I think that without this bonus shrine, Treasure Chest doesn't give a damn' thing that all true fans deserve, so get the rare edition if you can! The pumpkins shall fly again, I promise you!

Author:   Peter

Content of this page is copyright of www.krokar.net and firegoat team.
All rights reserved. © 2000-2002