Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I 01Back in May, my Twitter feed burped this out at me: “30 years ago today, Helloween released Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I.” The memories flooded back. For most of you, our loyal thralls readers, 1987 isn’t even a glint in your papa’s eye. For me, though, it marks the 10th anniversary of my introduction to metal (also an upcoming YMIO), and a fantastic year for metal, in general — of course, a lot of hair/glam/sleaze metal (think Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, Great White), but for my money the record of the year was this puppy (ignore our local King Diamond fanboy if he rants in the comments section).1 So bear with me while I spend 700 words telling you why Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I was and still is the benchmark in power metal, and why you need to own it if you don’t already.

Back in the 80s, bands often put out a new record every year, and Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I followed hot on the heels of the band’s debut full-length the year prior, Walls of Jericho. A solid outing in its own right, Walls of Jericho suffered primarily from one major flaw, and that was vocals. Founding guitarist Kai Hansen wasn’t the world’s best singer, and he knew the material suffered because of it. Enter 18-year old Michael Kiske, he of the golden throat, and Helloween were off to the races.

“Initiation” fades in with orchestral hits followed by an anthemic, fist-pumping march which leads directly into the opening riff for “I’m Alive,” making this 1-2 punch the best album opener since “The Hellion/Electric Eye.” “I’m Alive” is pure, speedy power metal, similar to most of the content of Walls of Jericho but much more polished – and with Kiske’s stellar vocals blowing us away, like a cross between Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson.

“A Little Time” has a great riff and a fun interlude, and again displays the dynamism Kiske brings to the table. Side 1 (c’mon, this was on vinyl when I got it!) is rounded out with “Twilight of the Gods” and “A Tale that Wasn’t Right.” The former is another blazing power metal number in the style of “I’m Alive” full of double kick drumming, staccato rhythm guitar, and speedy walking bass lines. The latter is the token slow-burn anthem on the album, with one of Hansen’s best solos the highlight, and of course Kiske’s operatic vocals.

Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I 02

Side 1 is excellent, but Side 2 is where it’s at. “Future World” leads things off with the coolest riff on the album — yet another example of power metal at its finest. “Halloween” is the star of the show, though, a thirteen-minute epic that has it all, and by itself could bear the power metal torch. It is the penultimate power metal song: an introduction as epic as “Initiation,” galloping, rapid-fire verses, a number of movements in the middle of the song with more great lead break tradeoffs between Hansen and Michael Weikath, and Kiski wailing “Ahhhh! It’s Halloween!” The atmospheric denouement “Follow the Sign” wraps things up in ominous fashion.

There is a downside to this album, people, and that is the production. While a remastered and expanded version helped slightly back in 2006, it wasn’t enough to overcome what can only be described as limp production — barely better than the quality of the embedded video below. While the mix is nicely balanced, the production is sadly lacking in bottom end, resulting in a thin sound that borders on shrill as one turns the volume up in an attempt to get the bass speakers shaking. And speaking of the video, it was blasphemy to us purists when it came out — a truncated “single” version of “Halloween.” It was better than nothing but failed to do justice to the song or album.

With such a stellar album to their credit, big things were expected of Helloween, but the band never really hit the mark. Part II was a respectable follow-up but it wasn’t lightning in a bottle like Part I was. Hansen left the band shortly thereafter and formed the similar-sounding Gamma Ray, and Kiske moved on in the mid-90s. Bad luck and tragedy followed as well, and while the band carried on, they never recaptured the glory that was Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I — still the pinnacle of power metal, thirty years later.


Show 1 footnote

  1. Ha! In the comment section… You silly kid. – Dr. I-do-whatever-the-fuck-I-want Grier
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  • Joel Plamondon

    I am a King Diamond fanboy. There is an army of us…. Abigail was the best record of 87. Not even a close match. Deal with it my friend . you stand corrected 😉

    • R.Daneel Olivaw

      i cant say it was the best…but it was one of the best….

    • James Utvandraren

      This is true. King Diamond owned the mighty 1987, with Helloween landing in a nice juicy runner up position.

      This was Maiden’s first year without a studio album, between the monumental “Somewhere in Time” and 7th Son…”, as it was for Metallica and Megadeth, so the vacuum needed to be filled, and it was. 1987 was maybe the best year ever for refreshing metal releases that stood the test of time: Testament with “The Legacy”, Warlock with “Triumph and Agony”, Anthrax with “Among the Living”, Racer X with “Second Heat”, Candlemass with “Nightfall”, Manowar with “Fighting the World”, Sanctuary with “Refuge Denied”, along with Death, Dio, Heathen, Celtic Frost, Overkill and others… On top of that we had Whitesnake, Dokken and White Lion releasing the best albums of their careers.

      It was quite a year to be 15 and exploring/devouring EVERYTHING that came out. I really think the sheer variety and quality of that year shaped the omnivore of metal I am today.

      Honorable mention to Loudness following up their mighty “Thunder…” album with “Hurricane Eyes”, which still gets spun in my household on a regular basis.

      • Weirwolfe

        Great times indeed.

      • Tofu muncher

        Shit, you got my eyes all sweaty. Good time indeed.

      • Ivan E. Rection

        Agreed with Abigail in top spot.
        I believe Lightning Strikes followed Thunder in the East, but you are correct Hurricane Eyes was the Loudness’87 entry and a damn good one.
        I didn’t see Hall of the Mountain King above– great album.

        • Digital Violence

          I was 19 in 1987 and it was indeed a stellar year for all things metal. Keeper Pt.1 is my favourite Helloween album. It was one of the first albums I bought on the new-fangled Compact Disc format. Glad to see someone else who recognises the awesomeness of Savatage! Criss Oliva has to be the most underrated guitar player ever.

          There was also a glut of neo-classical shred albums from Mike Varney’s Shrapnel label. Tony McAlpine, Vinnie Moore etc.

          • James Utvandraren

            Hell, yeah! Criss Oliva is one of the most amazing metal guitar players to ever grace the metal scene.

            And, yes, 1987 was a goldmine for Shrapnel releases. I had just started playing and was subjected to Cacophony, Tony Macalpine and Racer X as my first choices for trying to figure out what was up and down on my guitar. Haha. Did not set myself up for success there. Sometimes I wonder if I hadn’t become a much better guitar player if I had started with AC/DC and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

        • James Utvandraren

          Yes, true. “Lightning Strikes” was in between. For some reason I bought that one much later as a “Shadows of War” import and never really thought of it as the earlier of the two, even though it was. And, YES! How in the FUCK could I forget one of my ALL TIME favorites, “Hall of the Mountain King”? Every single song on there is awesome.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      SOCCER MOMS!

    • Bryan Stroup

      I have to agree that Abigail was probably the best album released that year, but I actually didn’t hear it until ’94. I didn’t actually hear any Mercyful Fate or King Diamond until a decade after the first band broke up. But then once I did, they were pretty much all that I wanted to listen to for a few years straight.

    • IAmNotKenM

      Nah fam. KotSK and Bathory are where it’s at. KD is a second rate band on the best of days.

  • Baltech

    Will I be flogged if I liked Keeper II more? (also, I prefer Mr. Hansen as a vocalist, at least on his Gamma Ray material)

    • Warlock

      Same here! It’s a pity that Mr. Hansen could no longer sing as before.

    • Report to Dr. Stein.

      • Baltech

        Oh, no problem. Creatures like me, he just lets us run into the night :D

    • Rodrigo D.C.

      Indeed! Keeper II is better. It was my first Helloween album.
      My first Gamma Ray was “Land of the Free”. I really like that vocals.

    • kmanitou81

      Yer Penis Is Olde: No More Rise And Fall

  • Malhorne

    Under the Sign of the Black Mark in 1987 anyone?

    • I’d probably go with Death’s debut or Killing Technology.

      • Malhorne

        I would prefer Bathory’s Under the Sign of the Black Mark over Death’s debut, the same shall not be said about Leprosy.

        And for my shame didn’t heard Killing Technology yet, I’ve got to do something about it too.

        • Get thee to a stereo!

        • Dagoth_RAC

          Bizarrely enough, I got both Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I and Killing Technology, used, from a place in NJ called “Barracks Trading Post”. On my limited high-school kid budget, it was a fantastic place to trade in all the hair metal CDs I bought when I was 13 years old and get the more “extreme” stuff that my 16 year old ears wanted to hear.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        I BIND UNTO MYSELF
        TODAY THE STRONG NAME OF THE TRINITY!

        • Yep, Nightfall and Testament’s The Legacy are right there.

      • Eli Valcik

        WINDIR 1148!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Eli Valcik

      I own that on vinyl, 100% in support of that.

  • GonzO Rodrigue

    Part I was a warm-up. Part II is the band’s pinnacle, if not in total, than certainly for that era.

    • Baltech

      Word! Eagle Fly Free alone…!

      • GonzO Rodrigue

        Eagle fucking Fly Free alone, my thoughts exactly. One of my favorite songs from anyone, much less Helloween’s catalog.

    • I have to agree with you but at the same time the simple fact that we can debate 30 years later is a testament to their greatness.

      I also REALLY love Master of the Rings; the best of the Deris era.

      • Hideous destructor

        Front half of that album is awesome. Second half less so. Time of the oath is best Deris for me.

      • Wilhelm

        Better Than Raw is much better than Master of the Rings and Time of the Oath, and could be my favorite Helloween CD.

        • Good call, even if I don’t agree. All three albums kick ass but I think there’s a renewed vigor and inspiration in MotR. Also, I don’t like the master of BTR. TTOtO has some awesome songs but I would say has the most filler.

          Long story short, to not give the Deris era its due is a shame. There are multiple albums from the Deris era that are close to if not as good or better than Keepers pt I. At the end of the day, we all have our preferences. Helloween is the original and still the best power metal band. And that’s the bottom line.

          • Norpal Nordickson

            Helloween is the OG yes, and a lot of their stuff will always have a special place in my heart, but the best power metal band is actually Gamma Ray.

          • Rodrigo D.C.

            Helloween and Gamma Ray are great, but the best is Blind Guardian!
            That’s it. Let’s stop here.

        • Norpal Nordickson

          Nah. Better than Raw is really good, but not better than either of those. It’s not really worse either, though. I actually can’t really name a favourite between them all plus The Dark Ride. They’re all great stuff.

          TDR might as well be Helloween’s last album as far as I care, everything since has just been mediocre or “ok” at best.

      • GonzO Rodrigue

        You’re not wrong about their greatness.

        Dunno about MotR… haven’t really given the Deris era a “best of” ranking.

        • Deris era has its own appeal to me. I enjoy both eras in their own way.

          MotR has “Sole Survivor”, “Where the Rain Grows”, “Why?”, “Perfect Gentleman”… shit I just named almost half of the album. Plus it’s not like “The Game Is On”, “Secret Alibi”, etc. are not good. And, as with anyone’s opinion about anything artistic, it has a special connection with me as the first Deris album that I heard.

          • GonzO Rodrigue

            I remember being so, so excited when MotR came out. I thought Helloween had broken up (Pink Bubbles and Chameleon weren’t released in the USA), so I couldn’t wait to hear Kiske and Co with a new record.

            Hearing Deris was… jarring, and I can’t really relay to you the disappointment at hearing him sing. (I _still_ really don’t like it, to this day). After confirming that there was a new singer, and that this was it, I almost threw the disc in the trash.

            I’m glad I didn’t. I admit to never fully warming to Deris’s voice, but somehow Helloween did the impossible: remained Helloween despite losing two of their greatest assets. MotR, and the next… three? Four albums after that? Really kick ass, and the material itself is still recognizable as Helloween.

            I just never got around to figuring out which Deris-era disks rank higher or lower than others.

            Years later I got to hear Pink Bubbles and Chameleon, so that’s a saving grace I got late in the game (more Helloween with Kiske, and no, I didn’t hate those the way it seems popular to do).

          • Thank you for sharing, I am glad you did. I can totally understand what you’re saying. I agree with you on Pink Bubbles and Chameleon, by the way, though I like Pink Bubbles more of the two.

            I was born in ’87 so I came at this from a completely different angle. I got into Helloween in 2000 with The Dark Ride being my first experience. I then went back and bought both Keepers albums immediately. I feel lucky in this respect because I can enjoy the Deris and the Kiske material equally.

          • GonzO Rodrigue

            Oh holy shit, how cool must that be.

            I was born in ’74. Keeper II blew up when I was in high school, when “I Want Out” hit MTV, that was my first exposure.

            Good times. :-)

          • It has also changed the way I came into Iron Maiden fandom, since BNW was my first Maiden album. I don’t have the hatred for Blaze that seems to be so common, although I recognize Bruce as the superior singer, I like The X Factor very much.

            Of course, you probably saw some amazing concerts with these bands in their prime so that is pretty sweet.

          • GonzO Rodrigue

            OMG, wow. Piece of Mind was my first one, but I was lucky, I was also a Wolfsbane fan (the band Blaze was in before Iron Maiden). I was a little disappointed in his performance for Maiden, because they refused to re-tune the songs to deal with his deeper voice, but hey. Some of those are straight classics.

            I never got to see Helloween. :-( I’m looking forward as fuck to Pumpkins United.

          • I saw Helloween almost ten years ago and they did not disappoint. I missed my first chance to see then in 2003 because they came to Chicago during the NLCS and I was at the Cubs game the night that Helloween played. Friends of mine told me Helloween actually had someone updating the crowd on the score of the game.

            I saw them in 2008 with Gamma Ray as the opener so I can say I’ve seen Kai as well as Deris, but I’ve never seen Kiske. They had such personality on stage, what a fun act. I’m sure it will be cool to see all three singers together.

            I think the Blaze years are tough people for multiple reasons, partially because of his voice being different and partially because the music is so much darker. BNW and PoM are my favorites, but as I mentioned previously, I really appreciate the Blaze era. “The Clansman” is a wonderful song and it’s one where I prefer the Blaze version to Bruce.

            Sorry for the long rant. Helloween and Maiden just get me so pumped. I hope you see them on this tour, wherever you are, you will have a blast.

          • GonzO Rodrigue

            “and I was at the Cubs game the night that Helloween played”

            Talk about choices to make. Geez.

            Yeah I’m excited. Hope you get to go to Pumpkins United when they come to the USA. They come anywhere stateside, I’m flying there, I’m old and can do that now LOL.

          • Well, if it had been a regular season game instead of something with World Series implications I would have chosen the concert. I think I made the right choice, it was the last home post season win for 12 years.

            I don’t think I’ll make it to Helloween but I need to consider it. I’m 30, have three kids, and go to a limited number of concerts now a days. This will be on my radar, though, since Helloween really is up there on my list and I only saw them the one time.

            I’m fortunate to live near Chicago since everyone comes somewhere nearby. At the same time, who knows if I’ll ever have another chance to see Kiske!

          • GonzO Rodrigue

            I’m 42, with kids. Seeing shows is one of the only things I still do.

            And… looks like you’re in luck, Chicago is one of the only places Pumpkins United is going in the USA.

          • It is one of the really nice things about living in Chicago. Most acts come here.

            I have three kids myself (I’m 30) so I have had to tighten my belt in the past 9 years and have to be picky about what shows I go to. This will be one of them for sure.

            Are they playing in TX?

          • GonzO Rodrigue

            …no, not even close. There are only 5 US dates in total.

            But hey, always wanted to visit Chicago. Gonna make a little trip out of it, maybe bring the fam. :-)

      • IAmNotKenM

        The best of the Deris era is when they don’t play.

  • Baltech

    Damn, I could generally do with more oldschool german Powermetal for YMIO. Rage it up a little :D

  • Mr T

    Listened to this in full just this past month. Masterpiece.

  • defjam

    One of the greatest releases of a spectacular year

  • Jake

    I still think Pink Bubbles Go Ape is the pinnacle of the Kiske years, but I do enjoy Keepers Part 1 (My favorite overall was the EP).

    • You and I might be the only people who really like Pink Bubbles Go Ape.

      • Jake

        The Chance, Mankind, and Someone is Crying are first rate power metal songs. It’s always perplexed me that people think Pink Bubbles is so much worse than Keepers II. There’s plenty of silliness throughout Helloween’s discography (including their revered Keepers albums), but somehow Pink Bubbles struck a nerve.

  • eleven.eight

    Really nice write-up, Huck! It amazes me how influential the “Keeper” albums were and are to this day.

    Most folks would be right to view Helloween as the kind of miscreants who put pumpkin-shaped Whoopie Cushions on the chairs of unsuspecting teachers, giggling at the results while scribbling “funny creatures” in their notebooks. They always had that cheeky streak from (more or less) the beginning. But, they also the musical prowess to back it up.

    Credit where credit is due: this album secured their legacy and you have to admire the hooligans’ longevity. Helloween have had three singers, a few (pumpkin) patchy albums, and some real Keepers– if you’ll excuse the puns. Personally, I find the songwriting on the early albums kinetic enough to overlook the production issues. I don’t know; the “Keeper” albums just scratch that old school power metal itch.

    And when it’s scratched, it makes me go “Aw… Helloween” in a way that only those pumpkinheads can.

  • Eli Valcik

    What a coincidence, I’ve been listening to this all week.

  • Yer Huck N roll Is Olde

  • theburningdown

    Brilliant album. Recall Keeper Pt 1 as something of a bridge between more trad metal and speed metal at the time though I don’t hear anything extreme in it now. Kiske took Helloween to another level on this. Forgot how few songs were on the album once the instrumental intro and slow numbers closing each side are discounted but definitely quality over quantity.

  • Nukenado

    1987 was the year of Candlemass’ Nightfall.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Oh boy.
    I remember the day I picked this cassette out of my older brother’s collection. I was scared shit less by the Venom and King Diamond album covers, but this one intrigued me somehow.
    I was maybe 13 years old and my heaviest album I owned was Paranoid. I was a huge retro fan of bands like New Order and Depeche Mode. I expected this to be something scarey as hell and I knew I only had a limited time to listen to it before my brother beat me to death for taking it.

    I distinctly remember walking to 7 Eleven and the chorus for Twilight of the Gods kicked in. It was absolute rapture.
    Then the most melodious guitar solo came next and I stopped in the middle of the store and just stood….listening.
    I never imagined a metal band could combine such furious riffing and drumming with epic pop-like choruses.

    It was literally life changing for me.
    I was hooked.
    I didn’t take that cassette out for weeks and it wasn’t until many years later that I’d have a similar experience with my first listen to Generation Terrorists.

    It is truly my all time benchmark for power metal greatness.

    • Danny

      Fuck yeah Generation Terrorists. And Helloween too.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Yep.
        Generation Terrorists caught me right in the middle of my GNR stage. I was blown away by Slash n Burn in much the same way as Twilight of the Gods.
        Massive riff, huge sounding drums and JDB’s skyscraper vocals knocked me out.
        The brash ness of the lyrics and the swagger of the music sounded like a band that already had conquered the rock world.
        Still my favourite band to this day.

    • Norpal Nordickson

      This story is remarkably similar to how I got into heavy metal.
      I was 15 or so, I liked Bon Jovi but nothing heavier really. My big sister gave me all her old C tapes so I could record stuff on them from the radio or whatever.

      One day I was bored and started checking out the tapes, which were a really eclectic mix of whatever was hot back when my sis was a teenager. None of it was really doing much for me.

      But then one of the tapes caught my attention with its weird title: “Keeper of the Seven Keys pt. II”. Intrigued, I put it on, and when Invitation transitioned into Eagle Fly Free I just utterly lost all of my shit right there. I swear, I was headbanging on pure instinct eventhough I didn’t even fucking know what headbanging was. There’s been no turning back since that day.

      And that is why Keepers 2 will always be the better of the two for me.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Eagle Fly Free is my all time fav PM track. The ending of that song still gives me goosebumps.

  • lrn2swim

    “think Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, Great White” Please for the love of Ihsahn, don’t lump GNFNR in with those other 2 bands. Ever. BTW, best album that year was Appetite For Destruction, end of story (well, either that or George Michael – Faith :-).

    • SoLeftISeeRight

      Appetite would be the best album in almost any year, in whatever genre you wanted to categorize it. Unfortunately that was indeed the end of story for GNFR, and they became FGNR lol. Also, Def Leppard have always stated they didn’t want to be lumped together with those bands either…I think (fairly) they’d prefer to be compared to George Michael.

    • Bryan Stroup

      Why not? I religiously listened to Hysteria, Appetite for Destruction, Once Bitten… and INXS’ Kick all within the same year. Yes, Appetite was easily the best album of that year, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t allowed to listen to any of the other *great* albums of that year as well.

      Anyway, I didn’t actually even hear this particular album, or Helloween in general until ten years after its release. I actually heard Gamma Ray before Helloween. This album however was, and is still fantastic, and Michael Kiske was simply phenomenal here. With only this, and Keepers pt.2, he was still easily one of my all time favorite metal vocalists, and so it was a treat hearing him again on Avantasia and then later on Unisonic’s Light of Dawn.

      Never really got the Rob Halford comparisons though. He was actually closer to the love child of Bruce Dickinson and Geoff Tate.

      • I’ve never gotten into Appetite as hard as I’ve tried. Just couldn’t understand why it’s do loved. Of course, it is far more popular than the Keepers albums so WTF do I know.

        Kiske’s work on Avantasia is very good. The Scarecrow may be cheesy but I really enjoy that album.

        • gabejbk

          Popularity doesn’t have – necessarily – anything to do with quality =]

          • To some extent, there seems to be an almost inverse relationship between the two.

    • Wilhelm

      Great White was more bluesy hard rock than cock rock.

    • gabejbk

      imho Great white >> Guns n roses. Just saiyn

      • lrn2swim

        I would probably keep that to yourself if I were you….

        • gabejbk

          Really like both of them, but great white has a solid career.

  • Dead1

    Great album indeed. I don’t mind the production – it’s archetypal 1980s but then I first heard this in the 1990s so there was already a hint of nostalgia.
    1987 is a great year with not only Helloween but Anthrax, Bathory, Candlemass, Death, Guns N Roses, Kreator, Motorhead, Overkill, Sacred Reich, Sodom, Suicidal Tendencies,Testament and Warlock all putting out some great work. Oh and whilst not exactly brilliant, Napalm Death put out Scum which changed the world and along with Utilitarian is my fave Napalm Death album thanks to those Celtic Frost inspired riffs!
    Not putting in Celtic Frost’s Into the Pandemonium – this is the album where the wheels fell off for CF (not Cold Lake).

  • David Christian Dalton

    The 1987 title which has surprised me the most over the course of time is Death Angel’s – “The Ultra-Violence.” Insane production that makes no sense with all these textural guitar overdubs…a truly brutal performance. Some amazing songs and the songs that are not amazing don’t matter because the riffs throughout are spectacular. Also, a first rate hysterical vocal performance from Osegueda.

    • The Ultra-Violence is easily one of the best thrash albums of all time. Widely overlooked but few thrash albums got as much spinning by me in 87 or since. Amazing record.

  • AdrianoP

    as Sting sings ‘I’m in paradise of Cheese’

    • RuySan

      hummmm….What? Either that’s a joke I didn’t get, or you didn’t know that’s a Phil Collins song.

      • AdrianoP

        oh yes is Phill ‘Cheese’ Collns.

  • >while the band carried on, they never recaptured the glory that was Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I — still the pinnacle of power metal, thirty years later.

    NO.

    Better Than Raw.

    • Wilhelm

      Indeed!

      • Yeah!
        I love the tons of incredible riffs and hooks.
        And I think that Midnight Sun is one of the best songs in power metal history. At least, the intro is the best.

  • My friends and I used to take turns playing Medieval: Total War . We used this album as your time limit. Every time the album ended, the next person got to play. We must have listened to this album 7,777 times. My crusade succeeded, by the way.

    • kmanitou81

      Germany needs an internal crusade right now, get to it!

  • 2018 is 30 years since RIOT’s Thundersteel. I think this American power metal masterpiece is underrated criminally!

  • Norpal Nordickson

    I dunno man, I’m listening to the remastered version right now and I don’t hear anything wrong with the production. It’s not super meaty or anything, but there’s certainly enough low end for the kick drums to have a bit of oomph to them. The sound is perfectly fine for this kind of stuff imo. And oh how I wish all metal bands gave their bass guitar as much room as Helloween used to.

    All that said, it’s no Chameleon. Say what you want about the songwriting on that album (I say it doesn’t deserve half the flak it gets), it is possibly the best sounding rock album ever.

    • Markus is a bad ass and he used to be given much more space in the mix. Sadly, they don’t give him the same space in the sound for the past 15 – 20 years. His walking bass lines are so good.

      I agree with you on the production. I actually like the “thinner” sound with some bands. Every musician shines on the early Helloween material and it’s not like you can’t still bang your head.

  • Sophocles

    87 is Terrible certainty, Persecution mania and Among the Living

  • Innit Bartender

    Oh man the tide of Nostalgia… this is one of those “guy in my class lends me the LP and I record it on cassette the same afternoon” moments…

    I feel so ashamed of myself now when I think back and remember how much I loved Walls of Jericho… I still remember most of the songs (“Phantoms… of deeeeeeeeaaathhhh!!!!” “Heavy Metal is the law!”)… I think I played that album to deeeeeaaaath, despite the horrible vocals, the murky production and, let’s face it, the songwriting stil not completely there… I remember noticing how Keeper was sleeker, more polished, more melodic… And of course the mega-ballad… I think Future World is still currently in my car playlist.

    But I have to disagree with you, Huck on one thing: the best opener is Eagle Fly Free…

  • Rodrigo D.C.

    I must confess something: I’ve got a ticket to see Helloween live at my town on October 31st.
    Halloween night with Helloween. Hansen, Kiske and Deris sharing vocals.

    • You lucky bastard! I saw Helloween once back in 2008 on the Hellish Rock Tour. Gamma Ray played as well. It was a great night. Enjoy yourself, sir!

      • Rodrigo D.C.

        Thanks!
        I attended that tour as well.
        I’ve read Kiske has got some vocal problems.
        I hope he gets better on time.

      • Rodrigo D.C.

        You will have your chance!
        Helloween at Chicago on 9/10/2018.

  • doom-erik

    Classic album. Back in the day when Helloween was one of my top-five favourite bands I probably preferred part II but in hindsight they maybe got a little too goofy and melodic on that album, while part I retains a lot of the aggression of the pre-Kiske era. Still, if I want to listen to Helloween, Walls of Jericho is the album of choice most of the time. Great vocals by Kai Hansen there!

  • Brjoro

    I haven’t listened to either ‘Keeper…’ in quite some time, although thanks to Spotify I’m rectifying that as I type! I’d say ‘Pt II’ is the stronger one, although nothing can touch the song ‘Halloween’! How much am I dating myself if I say I remember attending the ‘Headbangers Ball’ tour when Helloween played with Anthrax (and Exodus?)!?

  • For the record: gamma ray was better. Also lamest name for a metal band.

  • Matt slatz

    Terrible certainty?

  • Metal and Hockey

    Definitely a classic. But Abigail is clearly the better album

  • Nick Rzeczkowski

    Halloween was my first Helloween song; heard it on a metal show some dude had on a local public access station when I was in college. I heard that song, and went, “how can something be so fucking amazing?” and immediately bought Keepers 1 & 2. Eventually heard something from MotR and thought it was pretty good, picked up all the Deris stuff (MotR though Legacy), and was blown away by the first three Deris albums. I’ve gotten to see Kiske live when Avantasia was in NYC in ’15, and managed to stumble on seeing the Pumpkins United show in Tilburg in a few weeks (got really lucky with tour dates and my vacation overseas).

    And as a Helloween fanboy who worships Keepers 1 & 2 (I even enjoy Pink Bubbles and Chameleon as non-pm albums), I think I have to give the edge to Abigail for best of ’87, with Keepers right behind, and Savatage close in 3rd.

  • IAmNotKenM

    Keeper I and II are perfection.

    Hansen’s later career is the least embarrassing compared to what happened to Kiske’s and especially Helloween. Andy Deris is one of the worst singers I’ve ever heard, and they ran out of songwriting ideas on the fish album. I’m still mad at them for failing so hard after giving me such Joy with Jericho and the two Keepers.

    Don’t get me started on the reunion single. Deris needs to swallow a potato whole and never sing again.