Helloween_My God-Given RightLooking at the cover of the new Helloween album, it strikes me that these chaps made quite a career out of the whole “not taking ourselves too seriously” schtick. They’ve been at this for 30 years, eternally projecting the same jokey-hokey, fun-timey German thing while essentially creating the entire Euro-power genre singlehandedly. That intrinsic lack of seriousness permeated the music more over time, and the cutesy pumpkin monsters and cornball lyrics have at times been too much to bear, leading some (me) to take their music less and less seriously as the years went by. And while they have some classic albums under their bright orange belts, they’ve also dropped some clunkers that reinforced every nay the naysaying were naying. My God-Given Right is their sixteenth album and it’s business as usual at Camp Gourd. You get the same lightweight, poppy Euro-power with more hard rock and traditional metal creeping into the writing. At times this sounds like a half-assed collaboration with Europe and Accept and it’s mostly easy listening, mildly infectious powder puff metal devoid of depth or I.Q. But when it’s fun, it’s fun and the balance of the material is enjoyable enough to please the sweet tooth of long time Helloweenies, while probably giving everyone else insulin shock.

Things start off exceptionally cheesy but solid with the oh so wacky “Heroes” which is essentially a primer on what the band has been doing for the last 10 years. It’s bouncy, poppy and reasonably metallic with the inevitable build to the big sing-along chorus of “everyone can be a hero. We are! We are!” Is it silly? Are you seriously asking? But hey, it’s harmless and fun will probably go over gangbusters live. Follow up “Battle’s Won” is even more over-the-top gouda with what passes for an epic power metal chorus these days. It’s good but so painstakingly generic it hurts to like it. The title track is one of the best on offer with a more meaty, metal approach and the anthemic chorus has more oomph and less pouf. It’ll still be forgotten in a week’s time though the Pumpkin Storm troopers in the video can never be forgiven.

The rest of the album drops off from here, though it’s hard to deny the pop appeal of lunkheaded tunes like “Stay Crazy” and “Lost in America.” Then there are the less successful bits like “The Swing of a Fallen World” (huh?) and “You, Still of War” (huh??), neither of which leave much of an impression beyond the pressing need for an ESL instructor. Later on they swipe a riff from the Blue Oyster Cult classic “Astronomy” and proceed to waste it, and later still they cram a Russian styled jig into a mega-cheese sandwich called “If God Loved Rock n’ Roll.” Mileage may vary based on tolerance for dairy. The heaviest they get is the relative barn burner “Claws” and while it’s a nice change in pace, it comes so late in the play order, the damage has been done and the heavy-minded are long gone.

Helloween_2015

Despite the quality of the particular song, Andi Deris does a capable enough job vocally and he’s become quite adroit at the droll delivery these ditties usually require. The man has a good voice but isn’t asked to do as much with it as in the past. The best part of the album is the guitar-work of Michael Weikath and  Sascha Gestner. Though the bulk of the riffs are pretty straight-ahead and simplistic, they do generate some memorable harmonies and the solos are adequate to elevate some of the lesser material a notch or two.

The biggest issue facing My God-Given Right is that it’s so lightweight and also over an hour-long. That’s a lot of piffle to piff upon and by the ninth or tenth tune I was overpiffed. Add to that the fact there are at least three ditties that could go bye-bye and not be missed and you have yourself a classic filler conundrum.

At this stage of their career, there’s no point in knocking them for being silly since that IS their career and they made some degree of bank on it. This isn’t as memorable as Straight Out of Hell, but if you like your Helloween silly, poppy and mindless, this is your Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. For me, it’s an exercise in cherry picking and moving on to the next orchard (which better not be a cherry orchard).


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 275 kbps mps
Label: Nuclear Blast [EU][NA]
Websites: helloween.org | facebook.com/helloweenofficial
Release Dates: EU: 2015.05.29 | NA: 06.02.2015

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  • Pimpolho

    I actually dislike this. Quite a lot. Disappointing

    • Sebastian Bugge

      Yeah really dissapointing, so fucking poppy. Straight Out Of Hell was so much better and heavier.

      • Pimpolho

        Exactly, the poppyness is huge here. HUUUUGE.

  • Thatguy

    Piffle – that’s the word – thanks for reviving it SD

    This song, the clip, and I don’t doubt the whole album are piffle

  • VeryAngryGuy

    This is a good album (not a masterpiece) if you like cheese. If you don’t like cheese you are not forced to eat that one. Anyway I read your reviews cause you are funny and you write well. :-)

    • Sebastian Bugge

      Even if you like cheese(like myself) this is just too much. Like all the songs are cheesy and does not have any sort of heavy in them.

      • VeryAngryGuy

        there’s a good variety of cheese in this album. I like also “Creatures in Heaven” a maiden joke or “Claws” that is a heavy joke (like to dress a gnr t-shirt). So i’m here not be so very angry guy here… you are full of chesse, not a problem. We have foods for all under metal sky…

        • yep…the cheese empire strikes back. Again! Long life also to Angry guys for sure.

      • AnnieK13

        Musical equivalent of a cheese puff. Too much for me and I do like a bit of cheese now and then.

    • Thank you kindly. That Disgus tag is gonna get you in hot water with our Metal Overlord.

    • Óðhinn

      Now there’s a very angry guy? Is he more angry than Angry Metal Guy? Is that possible? Is it allowed? Oh, the confusion. ;)

  • CarvedInStone

    I’m kinda disappointed about this as well. It is far from bad but it is nowhere near as good as the last one and doesn’t live up to the hype it gets here in Europe at all.

    The best songs (as always these days) come from bassist Markus Grosskopf and most of them are bonus songs again. And as always I don’t get it. From all the people involved he writes the best classic Helloween-style songs and yet his songs are mostly used as bonus tracks while the shit Deris and Gerstner write makes the cut. Why? More Grosskopf and Weikath and less Deris and Gerstner please.

    • NotePad

      I agree, which is interesting because Marcus didn’t write any of the songs on the two classic Keeper albums. I don’t think he started writing songs until Master of the Rings. But him and Weikath write the most classic Helloween style songs, and they usually have really awesome dialing guitar solos, which is a classic Helloween element they started bringing back around the time of the Rabbit album. (Silicon Dreams is an awesome song)

      • CarvedInStone

        The first song of him that appeared on an album was “I’m Doing Fine Crazy Man” on “Pink Bubbles Go Ape” which he co-wrote with Michael Kiske. The 2nd album contribution was “Don’t Spit On My Mind” for “Better Then Raw” which he co-wrote with Andi Deris. He also wrote a bunch of other songs for both of these records and the other ones that were released inbetween them. But they always ended up as b-sides.

        The first song solely written by him that ended up on the album rather then becoming a b-side was “Hell Was Made In Heaven” on “Rabbit Don’t Come Easy”.

        Most of his songs from the 90s are okay but forgettable compared to what the other guys in the band were writting. It isn’t until Grapow and Kusch left when he started to write really good songs.

        • NotePad

          That’s what I meant to say, it wasn’t until rabbits when he actually became a regular songwriter for actual albums. The only song I can think of pre-rabbit was Silicon Dreams and honestly, it’s a good song. Maybe not right for the albums, but maybe its could have worked too. Would have worked on Dark Ride.

          I’m pretty sure my copy of Better Than Raw list Deris as the only writer of Don’t Spit On My Mind. Not a very good song, not a Helloween song.

          • CarvedInStone

            For the sake of convenience (I’m a lazy bastard) I looked it up on Wikipedia instead of my own copy and thay have the credits listed as lyrics by Deris and music by Deris/Grosskopf and my copy agrees with what Wikipedia say. But I agree with you that the song isn’t really a Helloween song and would’ve been better on one of Deris solo records.

            A Grosskopf song that in my opinion is highly underrated is “You Run With The Pack”. It’s a b-side from “Pink Bubble’s Go Ape”. The only thing that stops this song from being really great is Kiske’s singing. Instead of just letting loose and wailing like he used to do back in the day he decided to sing this song in a low register for whatever reason.

    • Mickey Holm

      Marcus have written some amazing songs some times -Don’s forget “If A Mountain Could Talk” from z Sinners ;)

      But on this new one…..I really don’t like Marcus’ songs. They are WAY too simple, and to me, they seem like filler-songs.
      I think that Weikath’s songs are the ones carrying this album. “Battle’s Won”, “Claws” and the epic “Creatures In Heaven are really great songs. Deris’ songs are a bit boring on this one I think.

      Weikath is mr.Helloween, and he always write the classics :)

  • Jo-Wan Kenobi

    I’ll just quote what I wrote on your FB page:
    ” I feel like I am the only one who actually, wholeheartedly loves this album. In my book they did right everything they’ve done wrong with Straight out of Hell. Less fillers, more hits. Although it certainly misses an epic like Nabataea, Weikath’s tunes as well as “You Still of War” make up for it just fine. Given that I’ve lowered my expectations to begin with, I was honestly taken aback by it’s quality.”

  • Wilhelm

    Helloween writes some real duds; I’m surprised people still buy their cheesy formulaic bland take on metal. I keep holding out hope for another Better Than Raw – I’ve decided this won’t happen.

    • Óðhinn

      Agreed.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I do like the title track and I always appreciate a Jane Fonda esc femme fatale making pumpkin soup outta storm trooper bad guys

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    i dont get it, why bands get critizied when they take themselves too seriously, and they also get critized when they dont? it is a losing game

  • Here’s Johnny

    What?! I actually kinda agree with that Jorne arse licking extraordinaire Steel Druhm for once.

    If this album cut out the chaff and kept up the quality of the awesome first 3 songs, they could have had a modern classic on their hands. Unfortunately they fucked it up. They should lose 20 years of metal stripes for this lyric alone – “I want to stay crazy/as fresh as a daisy”

  • Doomdeathrosh

    I don’t wanna bitch around no more….but thank all goodness they don’t do Star Wars theme tracks!

    • Óðhinn

      Agreed.

  • Ralph Plug

    Personally, I’m enjoying this one a bit more after the last few albums. It sounds more like vintage Helloween; happier, more uplifting and wacky at times, whilst the band still churns out big melodies and catchy choruses. I do wish they’d bring back Roland Grapow and got themselves a proper vocalist though. Musicall, things have been patchy ever since The Dark Ride and Deris gets worse with every new album.

  • Mikko Ojanen

    Battle’s Won is a pretty fun and good Helloween song, but the two others I’ve heard did not give me any sort of desire to hear more.

    I think I’ll just skip even trying this album and thus come another step closer to accepting the fact that, for all intents and purposes, my #1 favourite band of yore ceased to exist after The Dark Ride.

  • CarvedInStone

    I think I have to amend my earlier post about this album. I don’t know what it is about modern Helloween records but it seems like I shouldn’t comment on them after just a few listens. I’ve been listening to the album a lot throughout my day today and at some point it just “clicked” with me. I really do enjoy it and I think it is nearly as good as “Straight Out Of Hell”.

    Really strange. Same thing happened to me with “7 Sinners” and “Straight Out Of Hell” when I was listening to these for the first time I was also disappointed but after giving them some time to crow I really liked them as well.

    The last Helloween album I enjoyed right from the first listen was “Gambling With The Devil”.

    • Jo-Wan Kenobi

      They are definitively growers. The same goes for a bunch of people I’ve talked to, it took about 2-3 spins for them to appreciate the records. It’s a good album, has a good vibe and (finally) a decent production.
      Gambling is a story for itself. I did not expect a single thing after “The Legacy,” and got what might be one of the best works of their career.

    • Mickey Holm

      I feel exactly the same way! These “newer” albums really grow on you. 7 Sinners is maybe the one that grew the most on me, since I was VERY disappointed over that album.
      I also enjoy this new one a lot now. Especially Weikath’s songs ;)
      But I agree, “Gambling With The Devil” is probably their best album during the last 10 years of Helloween :)

  • JL

    I refuse to listen to this record because it has 16 songs. That is far, far too many and undoubtedly the album has at least 7 or 8 filler tracks. I got bored just looking at the track listing. Hate when bands do that. Just write 9 songs and focus on making them as good as they can be instead of writing so many mediocre ones. I wouldn’t even want 16 songs on one album from my favorite bands for fuck sake.

  • Steve

    Good thing Blind Guardian come along every 4 years and show bands peddling generic stuff like this how to do it.

  • Óðhinn

    Seems like it’s long past time for Hell?ween to pack it in and call it a career.

  • Mickey Holm

    I was a bit disappointed over this album at first, but just like it happened with 7 Sinner and Straight Out Of hell, this new album has grown a lot on me, after I have given it a few listens. This is not a masterpiece, but itøs good, and Weikath’s songs, especially, are really great
    My favorites: Battle’s Won, Lost In America, My God Given Right, Claws, Creatures In Heaven,

  • Galang Adhi Helloween

    Helloween, steady music.

  • Benjamin Breeg

    This album is simply amazing from beginning to end. Nuff said. Period.

  • Thorbjørn Thaarup

    I quite dislike this album, and Helloween is my favourite band of all (that’s right suckers!). The song writing is bland and while the styles might be more or less the same as on Straight out of Hell they don’t nail a single song on the same level as at least four or five songs on the Straight out of Hell. Helloween albums are the same as Helloween live shows – sometimes I weep of joy and at other times I just weep.