Helloween - Expanded Reissues, Part Two: Chameleon; Master Of The Rings; Time Of The Oath; Better Than Raw.
Helloween's next four albums, released 1993 through 1998, are in the second batch of expanded reissues to be given special treatment by Sanctuary Records.
Again, bonus tracks are plentiful, including rare B sides, remixes, Japanese only tracks and live stuff.

'Chameleon', the band's last album with Michael Kiske, comes with an eight track bonus disc. These are mainly tracks that appeared only on the band's single releases from that album.
Michael Weikath's 'I Don't Care You Don't Care' suggests an awareness, lyrically at least, that the then new grunge phenomenon came with its own unique philosophical baggage.
Grapow's instrumental 'Oriental Journey' is a cracking little track, melodic and pulse quickening.

Yet another instrumental, this time a collaborative effort involving all band members, 'Red Socks and The Smell Of Trees' is yet another highlight from this bonus disc. It's a bluesy track with a deep, dark groove. An eleven minutes running time might seem self indulgent, but it's got a real, late night, low key gig, jam session feel to it.

The demo version of 'Windmill', written by Weikath, couldn't have been further from the band's trademark sound. It further indicated the band's musical restlessness, and their discomfort with the speed metal straitjacket that they'd been strapped into by their label and their fans.

Obviously, the studio version made it onto an album that again got criticised for its "experimental" nature. Maybe the critics should've clocked the album's title. Bit of a giveaway there, I would have thought.

With the reissues of 'Master Of The Rings' and 'Time Of The Oath', Sanctuary again do us proud. Both are expanded to a two disc set, and respectively we get seven and eight bonus tracks on the second discs. 'Master Of The Rings' saw the arrival of Andi Deris, formerly of PC69 on vocals. It also saw two cracking cover versions, previously available only as Japanese bonus tracks. The first of Grand Funk's 'Closer To Home', the second of the Kiss song 'I Stole Your Love'.

'Time Of The Oath' also produces some outstanding extra material. The distinctly Maidenish 'Still I Don't Know' and the heavier melodic/prog metal of 'Take It To The Limit' were Japanese only bonus tracks. Both are exceptionally good Helloween material. In fairness though, all the tracks here sounds fresh and new. It was Andy Deris's second album with the band and they really hit their stride with 'Time Of The Oath', gaining new fans and winning back old ones who'd drifted away toward the end of the Kiske era.

This second disc is also notable for a rousing version of Jean Michael Jarre's 'Magnetic Fields' and an absolutely magnificent metal version of Status Quo's 'Rain', both originally B sides on single releases.

'Better Than Raw' consolidated the new line-up of Deris/Kusch/Grapow/Weikath and Grosskopf. Bonus material here is thin on the ground but shows Deris's considerable contribution to the band's songwriting. The galloping 'Back On The Ground' written by Deris & Kusch and the dark, symphonic metal of 'A Game We Shouldn't Play', written solely by Deris are probably the picks.

All in all, these are worth a plunge even if you have the original albums. Sanctuary has ensured that each and every one does the band proud, delivering a plethora of bonus material, certainly enough to keep fans of the band deliriously happy.

Bonus Material ratings:

Chameleon 7/10
MOTR 6.5/10
TOTO 7/10
BTR 6/10

Written by Brian
Thursday, July 27, 2006
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Comment by ThraX (Member) - Friday, July 28, 2006
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Nothing to say really about re-issues but the album "BETTER THAN RAW" is by far the best Helloween album to date , It's heavy , melodic , dark , and top of the line musicianship!!.....A grand 10/10

Posted by ThraX
Friday, July 28, 2006

Review by Brian

Released by
Sanctuary Records - 2006


Disc 1:
01. First Time
02. When The Sinner
03. I Don't Wanna Cry No More
04. Crazy Cat
05. Giants
06. Windmill
07. Revolution Now
08. In The Night
09. Music
10. Step Out Of Hell
11. I Believe
12. Longing

Disc 2:
01. I Don't Care You Don't Care ("When The Sinner" single B-side)
02. Oriental Journey ("When The Sinner" single B-side previously Japan only)
03. Cut In The Middle ("Windmill" single B-side)
04. Introduction ("Windmill" single B-side)
05. Get Me Out Of Here ("Windmill" single B-side)
06. Red Socks And The Smell Of The Trees ("I Don't Wanna Cry No More" single B-side)
07. Ain't Got Nothin' Better ("I Don't Wanna Cry No More" single B-side)
08. Windmill (previously unreleased demo version)

Master Of The Rings:

Disc 1:
01. Irritation
02. Sole Survivor
03. Where The Rain Grows
04. Why?
05. Mr. Ego (Take Me Down)
06. Perfect Gentleman
07. The Game Is On
08. Secret Alibi
09. Take Me Home
10. In The Middle Of A Heartbeat
11. Still We Go

Disc 2:
01. Can't Fight Your Desire (single B-side)
02. Star Invasion (single B-side)
03. Cold Sweat (single B-side)
04. Silicon Dreams (single B-side)
05. Grapowski's Malmsuite 101 (single B-side)
06. I Stole Your Love (KISS cover - single B-side previously Japan only)
07. Closer To Home (GRAND FUNK RAILROAD cover - single B-side previously Japan only)

Time Of The Oath:

Disc 1:
01. We Burn
02. Steel Tormentor
03. Wake Up The Mountain
04. Power
05. Forever And One (Neverland)
06. Before The War
07. A Million To One
08. Anything My Mama Don't Like
09. Kings Will Be Kings
10. Mission Motherland
11. If I Knew
12. The Time Of The Oath

Disc 2:
01. Still I Don't Know (previously Japan only)
02. Take It To The Limit (previously Japan only)
03. Electric Eye (single B-side)
04. Magnetic Fields (single B-side)
05. Rain (single B-side)
06. Walk Your Way (single B-side)
07. Light In The Sky (single B-side)
08. Time Goes By (single B-side)

Better Than Raw:

01. Deliberately Limited Preliminary Prelude In Z
02. Push
03. Falling Higher
04. Hey Lord!
05. Don't Spit On My Mind
06. Revelation
07. Time
08. I Can
09. A Handful Of Pain
10. Lavdate Dominvm
11. Midnight Sun
12. Back On The Ground (previously Japan only)
13. A Game We Shouldn't Play (single B-side)
14. Perfect Gentleman (live bootleg version)
15. Moshi Moshi ~ Shiki No Uta (live B-side)


Related links
Visit the band page

Helloween - Official Website

Other articles
The Dark Ride - (Tommy)

Rabbit Don´t Come Easy - (Tommy)

Live With Rage, Amager Bio, Copenhagen - 9th December, 2003 - (Tommy)

Keeper Of The Seven Keys - Part II - (Tommy)

Mrs. God (Single) - (Steen)

Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy - (Tommy)

Walls Of Jericho / Keeper Of The Seven Keys, Parts 1 & 2 / Pink Bubbles Go Ape (Re-issues) - (Brian)

Live In Sao Paulo - (Brian)

Gambling With The Devil - (Steen)

7 Sinners - (Brian)

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