I am loathe to criticise this album and band because when one does, fans of the band bombard your review with unhelpful comments etc (witness my scathing attack on Nightwish - which was tongue in cheek but obviously upset more than a few people!)
I am also loathe to criticise this album because it is blooming good! You'll have noticed the 4 stars - one dropped for being derivative, or ploughing the same old furrow, or regurgitating the same old stuff, or however else you may criticise this sort of release. Yes it is all of these things, but here's the rub. If this IS derivative, then it is excellently so and it is is ENJOYABLE! You know, music that makes you smile, music that get's you nodding your head, music that is FUN!
Lets face it, this lot have been doing this for years now and hopefully, like me, those of you who haven't yet caught up with them will now dip into the back catalogue and SMILE!
This is easily the best album Helloween have put their name to for over a decade.
There have been glimmers on previous releases; The Dark Ride, Rabbit and Keeper (Legacy) were not without their high points, though they certainly lacked consistancy. Finally, with "Gambling..." we have a Helloween album that works from start to finish again.
The very best thing i can say is that there is no filler whatsoever and every track is different enough, within the confines of the power metal genre, to be interesting and worth repeated listening (and that Biff Byford spoken word intro is short enough not to worry about!)
Initial favourite, the very heavy "Kill It" has been replaced by the soaring chorus of "Paint a New World" (That one's going to slay the arenas!) But there are chorus's and kick drum breaks, lead's and riffing, speed metal and heaviness plentiful enough to satisfy even the 'stick in the mud' Hansen and Keeper (pt.I) era Helloween fans. True, it's not another "Keeper..." and thank God for that! It's different and it's so much the better for it.
I'd recommend this, without reservation, to any doubters or old school metal heads with fond memories of those Noise Record days.
In my opinion, this is Helloween's best ever album! My favourite prior to this was still the quite dated 'Pumpkin Tracks' - a compilation of their most manic tracks. This beats it to a pulp - quite literally! I've played it continuously since I bought it about 3 weeks ago and only wish I'd bought it sooner.
The best track by far is the totally thrashtastic 'The Saints' which is 7 minutes long and played at a couple of hundred miles an hour. God knows how Dani (drummer) doesn't drop dead! Close second in my opinion is 'Kill It' - the only time I've ever heard Andi sing (some lines) in an evil voice - suits him. These two blinders are closely followed by 'Paint A New World', 'I.M.E.' and 'The Bells of the 7 Hells'. These are all fast and furious but superbly composed and played.
Just wish they'd taken this tour round the UK more!
Hmm, yes. Helloween have never really been known for solid album titles - Pink Bubbles Go Ape, Chameleon, Rabbit Don't Come Easy; the list goes on. Do not let that put you off from listening to this mighty fine album though.
At last the band seem to be embracing the Deris Helloween for what it truly is. I very good metal band in it's own right, that doesn't need to live off old glories.
You'll see that I was rather scathing (and rightly so in my firm belief) about the massively failed attempt to sell the last album by linking it to the Keeper albums, squillions and squillions of years after those fantastic albums were released. Well, thankfully this album has taken the band full circle.
Hats off to the boys. They've put out a mighty fine metal album here, sounding very much like a rejuvenated Helloween. The opening track is a bit of a strange spoken word intro - and why they needed a guest to do this I do not know. However, once the album kicks off proper you can't help but shout "YES BOSS"; 'Kill It' is a wonderfully dark thrash metal piece, and Andy's voice sounds rather evil here. Great versatility. I really like this 'experimentation' by the lads. Then we're off into 'Saints'. Think 'Jericho' speed metal Helloween, but with lots of melody and voice harmonies to make it sound much better than way back then (sorry Kai). It even has bits of Maiden in the solo section. The obvious highlight of the album is the triumvirate of 'Bells' 'Pieces' and 'IME' Bells is quite simply epic, and no doubt will be a stalwart of the live set for a while to come. In fact they should do an Iced Earth and play all 3 back-to-back live.
This review is for the 2 disc version! Crack the Riddle kicks off this amazing album before we are treated to Kill It which you would think was a Judas Priest track, just fast and furious!The Saints is a good track which leads us to As Long As I fall, this is were the album really begins to kick ass...with Paint A New World, Final Fortune,the fantastic The Bells of the Seven Hells, the brilliant ballad/chaotic ending of Fallen To Pieces, the great I.M.E, the rock anthem style Can Do It, the fabulous Dreambound great vocals again to the last Heaven Tells No Lies....just makes this one of Helloween's best....fantastic sound, heavy riffs and just pure power metal as it should be!!!
Disc two has Find my Freedom and See the Night, two great tracks and with As Long As I fall video with a making off too, this could be released as a stand-alone cd single. But it comes with this album so a little icing on the extremely yummy cake!
Life is not really fair for Helloween. No matter what they do, huge bouts of the metal population are going to go "oh, it's not as good as Keepper...blah, blah, blah", regardless of whether their new album is any good. Or, indeed, whether said mumpers have actually heard "Keeper...".
Of course, they did themselves no favaours bringing out "Keepers...3", a hunnerd years after the original with the new lineup, but I'm an easy going kind of fellow, so chose to stick my fingers in my ears and went "la, la, la" until it went away. Which means I'm still favourably inclined to the current veriosn of Helloween, who have produced some tasty tracks of late. And os it proves to be with "Gambling With The Devil". Which is a pants name for an album, by the way. Unless your name is Rambling Blind Lemon Jefferson Airplane.
Things kick off with an odd spoken word intro by Biff Byford from Saxon. Eh? Let's get Biff in the album and have him speak. Not a sensible conversation by any means, but then 'Kill It' arrives and we're off into early nineties Priest mode. Which is not a bad place to be. But things really take off with the thrasy 'The Saints', which is an absolute peach of a track.
The centrepiece of the album is the thematically linked 'The Bells Of The Seven Hells', 'Fallen To Pieces' and 'I.M.E.' 'Bells...' is the out and out classic on this album, a song as good as anything in their extensive canon, with some incredible, ferocious riffing and a memorable hook and chorus. It's a song that should be in their live set from now until the end of their career.
"Gambling With The Devil" is without doubt the best Helloween album for a long time, taking in all aspects of the sounds they've been exploring over the last ten years, without ever straying too far away from the power metal formula they're best known for. The whole band is on song, and it could prove to be the highlight of the Andi Deris era. So far.
YES! Finally, Helloween have made (in my view) there best studio album since 98's 'Better Than Raw'. 'The Dark Ride was good but just not as good as BTR, Rabbit's Dont Come Easy had about 3 or 4 killer songs and the rest was all filler and Keeper 3 was rubbish compared to the first two keeper albums. It's hard to pick out a favorite song on this album cause there all good but it would have to be either Kill It, The Saints or Paint A New World.