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Well here it is the 14th full length album from Helloween. I think it’s fair to say that many of us have had an up and down relationship with them over the years. I remember very well getting the mini album and then ‘Walls of Jericho’ pretty much as soon as they were released and then being totally blown away by the two ‘Keeper…’ albums which are rightly regarded as classics. I was also one of the few who absolutely loved ‘Chameleon’ but there have been some patchy releases and I will admit to preferring Kai Hansen’s Gamma Ray over the years. However, since 2005 when Helloween made a fair stab at resurrecting the ‘Keeper…’ franchise with ‘Legacy’ they have released some increasingly fine albums and ‘Straight Out Of Hell’ is probably the best they have released in many a year. If there was any worry in the Helloween camp now that Kai Hansen has reunited with Michael Kiske for the Unisonic project it certainly doesn’t show and the strength of this release will hopefully shut up a few people who didn’t think they could compete.

Opening track and first single ‘Nabataea’ is a stormer of a song, firing on all cylinders. Its main riff reminds me of Dio-era Rainbow on steroids; it perfectly captures how tight this lineup is and also showcases the excellent vocals of Andy Deris which appear to be improving year on year. From here on the album is chock a block full of power metal anthems with some of the catchiest choruses you’ll hear this year (and it’s only January!). ‘World Of War’, ‘Burning Sun’, Straight Out Of Hell’ and ‘Asshole’ (which proves the Helloween humour is still intact and has one of the best groove laden riffs I’ve heard in a long time) are all fantastic. The album varies tempo nicely and ‘Wanna Be God’ has some incredible drumming courtesy of Dani Loble who, on this album, has put in the performance of his life. There are probably less solos on the album than I would have expected but the songs themselves are so catchy it doesn’t really notice.

I’ll grant you that they aren’t doing anything terribly original, but when it’s done this well who gives a damn? I certainly don’t and when you consider that Helloween pretty much invented power metal then you can forgive them for doing what they are good at. If you thought Helloween had departed to pumpkin hell then you were very wrong. They have exploded ‘Straight Out Of Hell’ to pummel you into power metal heaven!
Spinefarm Records
Review by Rick Tilley
28th Jan 2013
1) Nabataea; 2) World of War
3) Live Now!; 4) Far From the Stars
5) Burning Sun
6) Waiting for the Thunder
7) Hold Me in Your Arms
8) Wanna Be Good
9) Straight Out of Hell
10) Asshole
11) Years
12) Make Fire Catch the Fly
13) Church Breaks Down
"...the best they have released in many a year."