Helloween has been around the metal scene for 30 years (celebrating them this year), which means a big discography behind them, a big name and above all, a plenty amount of experience when it comes to how true metal should sound. However, although I am a big fan of them for many years now, I have had a struggle understanding the build-up of this album. It’s just that, to me, it feels a bit odd what they tried to achieve with this new record.
Let me break it down for you guys, especially for those who did not listen to it yet: the record begins with ‘Nabataea’, a killer track screaming Helloween from every pore, very complex, reminding me here and there of Ayreon. 7:02 minutes of almost perfection if I may say so. Then, ‘World of War’ begins and this is where my confusion starts: the track starts beautifully with speed metal riffs, a nice melodic tune and a quite catchy sound. Enter 35 seconds in, everything changes: the melodic sound turns into more of a flat tone, the riffs get traded in for more beats and the vocal parts follows suit. Then, enter chorus, the melodic speed part returns, and the whole song alternates between those two rhythms completely opposite to each other. I understand the concept of creating contrasts, but the difference between these feels not right to my ears. And we proceed with our listening: ‘Live Now!’ brings out a more electronic-infused track and ‘Far from the stars’ would come as a complete opposite of ‘World Of War’ with a beautiful build-up and great melodic line from the beginning to the end.
And then it happens again: ‘Burning Sun’ hits with the same issue I found earlier: a way too big discordance between the melodic – flat parts. After that, in a way the album follows the same pattern alternating between songs with steady melodic lines, catchy hooks (‘Waiting for the thunder’, ‘Straight Out of hell’ ) and the tracks where the rhythms entwine in a rather chaotic way (‘Asshole’, ‘Church Breaks Down’).
All in all, I understand their point of view too: they create complex songs and they like playing around with different elements for unusual effects. However, the fact that complexity can sometimes act like a double-edged knife is proven to me with this record.