Review – Helloween: 7 Sinners

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Review – Helloween: 7 Sinners
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Helloween: 7 Sinners
Power Metal, Speed Metal
The End Records
October 31st, 2010
Release length: 1:00:44

Helloween is a band that any Metal fan knows the name of, known mostly for their two-part conceptual albums “Keeper of the Seven Keys”, which the band concluded later in their career with a third installment. Over the years, the band has taken their music into various directions for the Power and Speed Metal styles, having their share of albums that were met with praise, as well as disgust by critics, as well as their fan base. However, it seems that today, many bands that really headed the Metal movement in the eighties have been returning to their roots, and really just blowing listeners away with releases that their fans had hoped to once again hear, and Helloween is no exception. Their previous release, Gambling with the Devil received much praise all around the board, and the group tries to capture the same attitude and Metal feel with the follow-up to that release, entitled 7 Sinners, and they seem to do a great job of it.

Musically, 7 Sinners really does take the band’s sound back to their earlier days as a group, and weaves an often dark and punishing sound that tries to capture the attitude of Heavy Metal, and does a superb job of it. The only thing is that some of these tracks will instantly give off a feeling of a Children of Bodom musical sound, but without the harsh vocals, but is only a comparison that can be made through the sound of the keyboards in key songs such as “Are You Metal?”, and doesn’t necessarily reflect, or hurt in any way, the rest of the album. Of course, there are some tracks that just feel like instant classics and bring on a wave of nostalgia, such as “Who is Mr. Madman?”, which aims more toward’s the groups fantastical lyrical compositions, but in a dark sense, focusing in a Power Metal sound that many bands today could only dream of having due to its catchy, yet often simple guitar chords, and dark, yet beautiful atmosphere those chords and the keyboards create. The only problem is that the vocals sound a little weak against such strong music, with the only thing that can really save the song would be a deeper vocal approach. Either way, its classic Helloween, and despite the higher pitch singing throwing it off just slightly, its infectious and still a great kick in the ass.

In fact, many of the tracks on 7 Sinners is set up that way. While the start of the album really hammers away with hard-hitting tracks that stand out with their more aggressive nature, much of the album sticks to the somewhat fantastical sound that “Who Is Mr. Madman?” sets up. “World of Fantasy” is the perfect example of this, being a strong Power Metal song with some Speed Metal overtones in the guitars that compose the chorus, but it all works to create a more modern Power Metal sound against something one would expect to hear in the eighties on a Metal specialty program, utilizing driving riffs that hammer the pace of the song along nicely. The rest of the album follows this suit, though sometimes the music can get a little edgier then other tracks. The closing songs, however, act as a sort of mini-saga, as “Not Yet Today” is an introductory track that creates a haunting approach through the desolate, wind-like effects utiliZed in the background against the oddly sung lyrics that sound like they are performed by a mourning, half-crazed man. This leads into the Power Metal epic “Far in the Future”, which is a strong song that takes much of what has been presented throughout the album into account. There’s some Speed Metal moments that sum up the attitude of the first few songs on the album, and the more epic Power Metal direction mixed with a toned down approach that focuses on beauty, such as that on the track “”It a Mountain Could Talke” or “Long Live the King”, making a very suiting end to this release.

Of course, there’s still your share of songs that aren’t really all that impressive. “Raise the Noise” is a good track, but comes off more as a filler track, not really having anything that stands out on the song, and becomes more of a generic Metal track, especially when surrounded by such fantastic songs to kick the album off. “The Smile of the Sun” is a good ballad track, but the atmosphere for it isn’t there. The production of the album pretty clear, though the distortion on the guitars really brings the edge and heaviness that makes this release great, but this doesn’t help this song out, as it’s clear there should be a slightly haunting atmosphere to the somewhat fantastical, almost sci-fi like feel of the music brought on by the keyboards. Had there been a little more of a proper atmosphere to the song, then it would have been great, as there is a good amount of effort clearly put into the recording.

Helloween seem to bring a more stylish approach to their material, which is apparently through the rather clear production quality, and given some of the recordings, it can go into a rather epic direction. “If a Mountain Could Talk” may come off as a more traditional track then anything, but the build ups through the song, and the natural transitions really make the song stand out against the well-fitting vocals and keyboards that add a nice touch of beauty to the mix. This stylish approach is also enhanced by the photos in the CD itself to solidify the feeling, showing a more flashy, rock-star oriented version of the band, which gives this release a strong feeling of bands such as Edguy.

7 Sinners does have it’s share of filler tracks, but they are very few and far between. The album varies greatly, showing the differing degrees of the band that reflect their musical approaches since the start, and while not each and every song will tantalize every fan’s taste buds, each song on here is strong, and is simply vintage Helloween. Between darkness and beauty, this album has it all, and really becomes a release that any Metal fan simply should not pass up, and reaffirms the fact that Helloween are back in full Metal glory.

01. Condemned the Bloodline – 4:11
02. Lament for the Fallen – 4:49
03. God Grant Me Vengeance – 4:16
04. The Rebirth – 5:21
05. Assembly of the Locusts – 4:02
06. Scars in Oblivion – 4:46
07. Deliverance – 4:22
08. Deliverance – 4:22
09. Interlude – 0:46
10. Eternal Uprising – 4:46
11. Remnants of a Failed Creation – 4:17
12. Hours of Decay – 4:56
Initial Pressing Score: 9.5/10


Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.