“Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy” by Helloween

Artist: Helloween
Title: “Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy”
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 11/8/2005
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 7.5/10

Helloween takes their music into the future with two giant steps. The first is jumping ship from Nuclear Blast Records to join the ever expanding roster of SPV Records talent. The second is a celebration of their core history by revisiting the classic “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” tale by giving us “The Legacy”. Returning to this story might seem to be a risky move for when an album is held in such a high regard you really have to pull out all the stops to meet the expectations that surround it. I have to say that after the intro dialogue completed, I felt that the music Helloween was performing was a return to the more classic sound. It felt good to find myself blasting the high energy Power Metal style that Helloween was instrumental in making popular almost twenty years ago. The interesting part of this return would be that it is with an almost entirely different line up at this stage of the game. Singer Michael Kiske and guitarist Kai Hansen have long moved on with Kiske handling solo work and Hansen running the show in Gamma Ray. For many years Andy Deris has been handling the vocals; and while some material was on and off with fans, I think this will show them how impressive Andy can be.

Original members Michael Weikath (guitar) and Markus Grosskopf (bass) still perform to great proportions and are joined by Sascha Gerstner (guitar) and new member Dani Loble (drums). The release is a double CD, as the full time runs a little over 76 minutes, which surpasses the existing limit of time on CD’s. The group’s older fans will also appreciate the return to more epic song lengths, as opener “King For A 1000 Years” is 13 minutes and quite a demonstration of resounding riffs and great chorus vocals. “Invisible Man” also runs longer than a standard 5 minutes, and is one of my favorites along with “Silent Rain”, which just cooks. The quirky and brief “Mrs. God” is very catchy and was the group’s first peek at what the fans were in store for on the album. The poppy nature of the track seems a little out of place during the context of the rest of the album.

Blackmore’s Night singer Candice Night makes an appearance during “Light The Universe”, which serves as the ballad/duet of the release. I enjoy her work with her Renaissance group, so it was nice to hear her focus on the slightly heavier side for a change. Wrapped in a double digipak case, the full-color booklet lines out the whole story in detail and provides some photos of the band. Consistency in tempo and material is what lines out the rest of the recording. I feel that overall, this album will bring a lot more of their original fans back to the fold as a result of this return to format. Non-Helloween fans who simply enjoy the classic style will also appreciate this for there are more than a fair amount of solid numbers. Melodic Power Metal seems to be on the rise once and with groups like Kamelot, Blind Guardian, and Sonata Arctica all finding levels of success at their efforts; it is nice to see the forefathers of the genre bringing us some reminder on how it was done in the beginning.

Track Listing:
1. The King For A 1000 Years
2. The Invisible Man
3. Born On Judgement Day
4. Pleasure Drone
5. Mrs. God
6. Silent Rain
7. Occasion Avenue
8. Light The Universe
9. Do You Know What You’re Fighting For
10. Come Alive
11. The Shade In The Shadow
12. Get It Up
13. My Life For One More Day

Official Web site: www.Helloween.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.