“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.
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“Destroyer” (remaster) by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Destroyer” (remaster)
Label: Mercury/Universal
Release Date: 7/15/1997
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 9/10

Destroyer is probably one of the most popular of all the KISS albums that has ever been released.. As the immediate follow-up to the juggernaut “Alive”, the larger public suddenly found themselves “KISS Crazy” and this album would prove to be an instant classic. Released in 1976, the original album took advantage of the momentum that was provided by the live album and delivered to their fans a solid record with many of the bands most popular numbers. Starting off with “Detroit Rock City” the group now had a concert opener that rivaled “Deuce”. It remained an opening track for over a dozen years until the band would decide to change things up. Songs such as “King Of The Night Time World” and “God Of Thunder” were instrumental in bringing to life the over the top nature their individual personas had over their fans, while “Flaming Youth” and “Shout It Out Loud” became anthems that everyone would find themselves singing. The coin was flipped with “Beth” as the piano laden ballad was considered a throwaway track yet would become the bands biggest hit.
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“The Origin Of The Feces” by Type O Negative

Artist: Type-O-Negative
Title: “The Origin Of The Feces”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 5/17/1994
Genre: Gothic Metal
Rating: 8/10

Type-O-Negative’s second album fooled a lot of people at first by seeming to be a live recording. It started off with the audience chants of “You Suck” to lead singer/bassist Steele berating them as he was apt to do in such a setting. The assorted responses between songs and the delivery really gave the appearance of a very clean live recording. Instead this was a mock live album that featured a large amount of re-worked material from the first album “Slow, Deep & Hard”. The first album had a rushed production to it and some of the tunes were too long and as result will find new life on this album. “IKYFSE” sounds a lot more powerful and heavy here and is a bit more condensed. Other sections of the first album are morphed to some effect in “Gravity”, “Pain” and “Kill You Tonight” and for the context of the recording I felt that worked that much better. New songs such as “Are You Afraid” (with its U2 meets Munster’s feel) and “Hey Pete” (a re-hashed Jimi Hendrix song) are placed between the older material making this a fresh piece of work rather than a cleaner repeat. A cover of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” is the bonus track on this re-release of the original album which was pulled because of its cover.
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“Slow, Deep & Hard” by Type O Negative

Artist: Type-O-Negative
Title: “Slow, Deep & Hard”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 6/14/1991
Genre: Gothic Metal
Rating: 7/10

Originally called “Repulsion” and “Sub-Zero”, the mighty Type-O-Negative was a spawn of the brutal Metal entity known as Carnivore. Founder Peter Steele took an interesting turn with this group by adding the keyboardist Josh Silver. The resultant mix of Metal riffs and moody, dramatic keyboard compositions made this either a band you would love or hate right off the bat. As their debut release “Slow, Deep & Hard” would have a rough production value, and find Peter screaming more than singing. It’s gloomy and vengeful subject matter would make this a difficult listen at first yet one needs to know how a band begins to find where they will go. This is probably the heaviest release in the bands collection. “Unsuccessfully Coping” is an anthem for those whose hearts have been torn out by deceit and betrayal while “Xero Tolerance” is where the earlier victim finds his retribution and proves truly that revenge is a dish best served cold. Social standings are touched upon with “Der Untermensch” and this begins the bands lack of political correctness or apology for offending the world. Their sense of humor begins here with the lengthy titled “Misinterpretation Of Silence & It’s Disastrous Consequences” which in reality is mere silence and no music at all.
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“Bloody Kisses” by Type O Negative

Artist: Type-O-Negative
Title: “Bloody Kisses”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 8/17/1993
Genre: Gothic Metal
Rating: 9/10

“Bloody Kisses” would break a lot of ground for Type-O-Negative as it would not only bring fans a hefty amount of great songs but it would also find the band receiving radio play for the first time. A wide mix of Sabbath inspired Metal with a very deep use of keyboards made this a sure fire hit. Featuring a little bit of everything Steele and Company provide mood and intensity with songs like the three part “Christian Woman” & “Bloody Kisses: A Death In The Family”. These two songs truly showcase the imposing Steele at his best while “Black #1” became the anthem for Gothic Girls everywhere. There is a tongue-in-cheek TON sense of humor displayed in both “Kill All The White People” and “We Hate Everyone”. The band’s level of sarcasm touches upon people’s misconceptions about them perfectly during these tracks. “Bloody Kisses” is still cited as the fan favorite because it is a constant body of quality Gothic Metal from top to bottom. Silver and his compositions tie the songs together and are an added treat that bring more to the atmospheric level that the band is building.
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