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Helloween: My God Given Right

Seems that this latest release from European power metal kings Helloween is taking a bit of a beating on various sites and blogs around the net, and to be honest I'm not really sure why. My God Given Right doesn't really deviate far from the tried and true formula that this band have perfected for 30 years now, and though it might not come as close to the out and out ferocity of their previous album Straight Out of Hell (which was a pretty damn inspired release), it's by no means a clunker and contains a wealth of very strong material.

Kicking off My God Given Right with two raging barnburners like "Heroes" and "Battle's Won" gets the listener settled in immediately, each one brimming with effective guitar riffing from the always impressive duo of Michael Weikath & Sascha Gerstner, as well as soaring vocals courtesy of Andi Deris. Both the title track and "Stay Crazy" come in slightly less heavy as the opening two tracks, but the catchy, anthemic choruses are kicked up a notch, which can also be said for "Lost in America", a tune that will have you singing along instantly and thrusting your fist in the air. "Russian Roulé" is somewhat cliche ridden, but the riffs rock and Deris is screaming to the heavens, so it ain't all bad, and for the first time on the album, the atmosphere & prog metal tendencies creep into play during the awesome "The Swing of a Fallen World". Unfortunately, they follow this up with the bluesy ballad "Like Everybody Else", a decent enough tune but one that sounds so out of place here. "Creatures in Heaven" sees them bounce back with more prog as well as blistering speed metal for a can't miss formula (killer guitar work on this one), and the band moves into familiar tongue-in-cheek 'happy power metal' fare for "If God Loves Rock 'n' Roll". Honestly, I like more 'serious' Helloween, but they always manage to throw a few tunes of this ilk on each album. "Living on the Edge" is one of the more generic sounding songs here, and not overly memorable, but "Claws" is easily one of the highlights, a crushing metal ripper with tumultuous riffs, acrobatic drumming, and Deris shrieking to the heavens. No doubt this piece will go down a storm in a live setting should the band choose to include it on their upcoming tour. "You, Still of War" also has potential for the stage, the longest track here and packed with epic prog-metal majesty thanks to symphonic keyboards and layers of effective guitar riffs. Two bonus tracks are included on the US edition, the speed metal anthems "I Wish I Were There" and "Wicked Game", both decent enough songs but with their inclusion we now have 15 tracks, making this an album that's a tad too long and could have used a little trimming.

Thankfully the 'really good' far outweighs the 'mediocre' on My God Given Right, and if you've followed this band loyally for decades, no doubt there's going to be a lot of material to sink your teeth into and savor for months to come. I'm deducting a few points for a couple of filler tracks that just don't hold a candle to the majority of what's on display, but My God Given Right is still plenty solid overall to recommend to any veteran metalhead.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
01. Heroes
02. Battle's Won
03. My God-Given Right
04. Stay Crazy
05. Lost In America
06. Russian Roulé
07. The Swing Of A Fallen World
08. Like Everybody Else
09. Creatures In Heaven
10. If God Loves Rock 'N' Roll
11. Living On The Edge
12. Claws
13. You, Still Of War
14. I Wish I Were There (bonus track)
15. Wicked Game (bonus track)

Added: August 15th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2256
Language: english

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Helloween: My God Given Right
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-08-15 06:10:00
My Score:

As my esteemed colleague, Peter, has alluded to in the main review above, a quick click through the net will find this latest addition to the Helloween canon, My God Given Right, being lambasted and called everything from "f#@king awful", to "the worst in their history" - both of which allegations are remarkably unfair. Maybe this is the price a band pays for releasing (with the odd spectacular blip) universally excellent albums across a three decade career?

To be fair Helloween once again set their own bar high with the bombastic 2013 album Straight Out Of Hell, a set of power-tastic metal songs given life with great character, no little self awareness and the usual great performances. So the question was, whether the band would stick or twist with My God Given Right. Would they simply give us more of the same, or as has been the case over the years, point things in a new – if hardly daring – direction. And if there's an obvious failing of MGGR, then it's that it does both and neither.

There's no mistaking this is Helloween, and yet for a band with such an established sound, there are some obvious (maybe too much so?) touching points. Take "Battle Won" for example, where a very blatant nod to Accept roars and rips, or the off-kilter "Stay Crazy", where a meandering bass/guitar intro positively reeks of latter day Iron Maiden, before a soaring solo instantly reminds you of Neal Schon (yes, of Journey!), and then a staccato verse shouts The Sweet in your bubblegum covered face – and let's not even talk about the lyric, "We wanna stay crazy, fresh as a daisy...". However both these songs can't help but veer back into 'Ween territory, widdling solos and pummelling drums feeling tacked on so we know exactly who we're listening to. Does that make either song bad? Well not in my book and I'll happily admit to dusting off the air guitar and singing along, no matter how inane the words. But Helloween at their best? Not really...

From there "Lost In America" and "Russian Roule" take us back down the path Straight Out Of Hell blazed so well, however with "If God Loves Rock 'N' Roll" hitting like a bizarre cross between a metalised oompah lick, a supercharged snog of pop and, well, Helloween, again the focus – while undoubtedly set for fun – hardly feels as steely and determined as you'd wish. Part of the problem is that the album itself, as Helloween have a tendency to, is simply two or three songs too long (not forgetting that there are various formats in various territories with different bonus cuts...very annoying); the feeling being that if we'd simply been left with the cream of the crop, then there would be few complaints from any corner.

And yet for all my moaning and whining, you know what? I quite like My God Given Right; the song "The Swing Of A Fallen World" actually being amongst the most hard hitting the band has produced. Yes, there's maybe a suggestion that good though this album is, it could have, with more focus and a little pruning, been great. However come year's end, it'll still be one of the best power metal offerings to come out of the continent of Europe in 2015 and that in itself is no mean feat.

Helloween: My God Given Right
Posted by Scott Jessup, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-07-24 05:04:24
My Score:

Well it just took a few spins for this here new melodic power/speed metal album to have me humming along. Brought to us by a band who released their self-titled debut some 30 years ago in 1985 Helloween. Over those years the band has managed to steadily pump out the albums releasing so many memorable songs along the way. While the early pair of Keeper albums remain their most revered featuring that classic line-up I would have no hesitation in following these with Master Of The Rings an album which remains one of their finest, and one that any power metal fan should have in their collection.

Helloween's fifteenth studio album My God Given Right doesn't rise up to the same level of those above, although it does feature so much of that which makes us keep returning for more. My God Given Right follows on from the impressive Straight Out Of Hell and 7 Sinners which more than compensated for the curveball that was the lightweight take on many popular Helloween tunes namely Unarmed - Best Of 25th Anniversary. If you are fond of Helloween's style of metal then My God Given Right has them churning out many tasty numbers. There are no massive surprises in store, My God Given Right is an uplifting kind of album with a touch of old school Helloween. Helloween's songs still have a memorable appeal thanks to those strong melodies and catchy choruses be it the likes of "Heroes", "Stay Crazy", "Living On The Edge" or when they "come out and play" that "Russian Roulé", with My God Given Right the German metal group got it right.

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