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Helloween: Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 1 -Expanded Edition (remaster)

Here it is, the birth of power metal, on Helloween's second full length album, Keeper of the Seven Keys-Part 1, one of the most beloved metal albums of all time. Refining their previous thrash/speed metal attack that was evident on Walls of Jericho, Helloween unveiled a glossy yet powerful melodic sheen to their sound here, thanks to top notch production values courtesy of Tommy Newton & Tommy Hansen, as well as the arrival of 18 year old vocalist Michael Kiske. It was perhaps the addition of Kiske that best helped take this band to the next level, as it was his soaring, Geoff Tate inspired high-pitched vocals that really added an element of class and accessibility to Helloween's sound. The first part of what became a trilogy, Keeper of the Seven Keys-Part 1 is full of metal anthems, catchy rockers, and progressive tinged epic power metal rave-ups. The combination of soaring vocal harmonies, twin guitar work, pounding double bass drums, and lyrics dealing with fantasty and science fiction provided the framework for what would become the European power metal genre.

The album contains many classic tracks, from the raging "I'm Alive", the speedy "Twilight of the Gods", the catchy rockers "Future World" and "A Little Time", the ballad "A Tale That Wasn't Right", to the epic, 13 minute classic title track, which did more for battling dual guitar solos than perhaps any other metal song up to that point. Included in this nifty little remaster from Sanctuary Records are a few bonus tracks, like alternate versions of the songs "Victim of Fate" and "Starlight", both songs from the Walls of Jericho era, but this time with Kiske on vocals. The edited version of "Halloween" is included as well, but most who have followed the band already know of this butchered version which was edited for their video for the song. The booklet contains some nice photos and magazine review clippings, along with an interview with Michael Weikath. Lyrics are included, but unfortunately, as they made the attempt to fully replicate the LP layout, the text is so small it's impossible to read. Otherwise this is a great reissue of an extremely important album in heavy metal history.

Track Listing
1. Initiation
2. I'm Alive
3. A Little Time
4. Twilight Of The Gods
5. A Tale That Wasn't Right
6. Future World
7. Halloween
8. Follow The Sign
9. Victim Of Fate (Single B-Side)
10. Starlight (Remix)
11. A Little Time (Alternative Version)
12. Halloween (Video Edit)

Added: November 19th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Helloween Website
Hits: 3921
Language: english

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Helloween: Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 1 -Expanded Edition (remaster)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-11-19 19:58:02
My Score:

As the follow up to their debut Walls Of Jericho, Helloween would find lead singer/guitarist Kai Hansen choosing to focus on the axe work while they brought in a then 18 year old Michael Kiske to handle the vocal duties. The song writing would grow by leaps as well, and as a result the 1987 release of Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1 would become one of the most revered albums in Power Metal music history. Interestingly enough, Power Metal was not yet a widely used term and based on their efforts, Helloween is regarded as one of the prime founders of the genre. It's easy to see why this is the case based on the direction that the group took with the second album for instead of maintaining course to the more thrashy debut they increased the use of melody and double guitar leads. Yes bands like Maiden and Priest also had twin axe men but theirs was a sound based on the influences of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple and while also melodic it did not reach speed levels like the Helloween players delivered. The release in remaster and expanded format is a real treat for any Metal fan or study of the genre as the classics come to renewed life with the cleaner production of this CD. Tracks like "Future World" and the monster hit "Halloween" sound as great today as they did back then. As an added treat the disk offers you several bonus tracks which were originally songs on the Walls Of Jericho album but this time around you get to hear how Kiske sings them. One of the bonus tracks is the edited version of "Halloween" which was also used in the video that even ran on MTV. At the time it was great to see this very different from the normal supply of Hard Rockers take over the airwaves and generate more fans that still remain loyal to this very day. A richly detailed booklet features articles on the band from this point in history along with some great photos. It makes the special editions of the Helloween catalog very worth investigation and a must have for your Metal library. The only downside is in the incredibly small print that was used as this makes for a slightly difficult reading experience.

Metal Refresher Course: The Helloween line up in 1987 was Michael Kiske (vocals), Kai Hansen (guitars), Michael Weikath (guitars), Marcus Groskopf (bass), and Ingo Schwichtenberg (drums).

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