Helloween – Straight Out of Hell: Review
Helloween is primarily known for their Keeper of the Seven Keys albums, which many define as the two most influential albums in the history of power metal. That being said, there is much dilution in their discography, especially in the years immediately following their magna opera. Recently, they’ve come out strong with The Dark Ride, Gambling With the Devil, and 7 Sinners. So in conclusion, there’s no way to predict the quality of a Helloween album nowadays.
All in all, Straight Out of Hell is a rather typical power metal album. There are well-crafted pieces in here, but nothing extraordinary within or beyond the genre boundaries. The symphonic elements are spotlight worthy, as are the general use of keyboards to induce atmosphere (particularly with the break in “Live Now!” and the chorus of “Waiting for the Thunder”). There are some neat riffs as well, but lots of standardized characteristics. And it shows as well with the album and song titles where uniqueness severely lacks. But still, there are some tracks that are sure to impress.
Although the front is hit-loaded, the latter portion of the album is somewhat amiss. At track 8 out of 13 (“Wanna Be God”), the album starts losing steam. With all due respect, “Asshole” is one of the worst songs I’ve heard in a long time. And no, it’s not just the vulgarity and dumb lyrics, but just how they coincide with the obnoxious riffs and melodies. Also, I’m doubtful that it’s an issue with my pretentiousness preventing my personal appreciation of that song as I’ve given my whole heart to Strapping Young Lad’s City, one of the most wonderfully degenerate albums on my playlist (Oh My Fucking God!). But moving on from my half-assed self-justification, the first half of Straight Out of Hell is sincerely excellent listening; “Nabataea,” “Burning Sun” and “Waiting for the Thunder” are my tracks of choice. Then there are the ‘good tracks’ interspersed in the first half and the ‘acceptable tracks’ in the second.
Straight Out of Hell is a quality-inconsistent album, but still a decent work. Of Helloween’s recent releases, it would rank similarly to 7 Sinners, but still far from The Dark Ride and Gambling With the Devil. There are tracks here that rise to the standards of Helloween’s highest capabilities, but they are far too scant to warrant full appraisal. And so, my final recommendations go to fans of power metal or Helloween; it is unlikely reach to those beyond.
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