In one way at least, Helloween
are like a million other metal and rock bands - they've accumulated plenty of baggage over the years, and it's frequently dragged the music down.
But there's a real sense of renewal with '7 Sinners'
. All that accumulated weight has been thrown overboard, and the band have again risen to the top of their game, freshly invigorated, writing and performing with the confidence and skill that comes from experience.
This, the band's 13th
album, is a sprint, not a marathon. '7 Sinners'
is simply pulsing with powerful, steely, streamlined metal - like a finely tuned athlete rushing headlong for the finishing line.
Andy Deris clearly had a leading role in the songwriting. His unmistakeable stamp is indelibly tattooed all over the majority of tracks here. His voice too has matured with age. He gearshifts up and down the scales with apparent ease now, and has developed a colourfully operatic tone.
But it's Sascha Gerstner's articulate, eloquent song contributions that create most impact, lightning bolts of brilliance that light up '7 Sinners'
The galloping 'Who Is Mr.Madman
?', with a spoken intro from Biff (Saxon) Byford is probably the pick, showcasing a band, driven by drummer Lobl's furious percussive pace, that is clearly still willing to stretch and flex its musical muscles.
The personal, confessional, 'My Sacrifice'
isn't far behind. Neo classical power metal at its absolute best. Full throated stuff, with guitars, keyboards and strings rushing to meet Deris's soaring vocal in celebratory crescendo.
Elsewhere, highlights include the anthemic 'Are You Metal'
and the buccaneering 'Raise The Noise'
. Both are terrific, tautly paced and put the heavy back into metal, emphatically, categorically.'World Of Fantasy'
is a 5 minute epic that barrels along impressively, cresting on a singalong chorus and a wave of churning guitars, While longtime producer Charlie
Bauerfind turns Deris's simply constructed 'The Smile Of The Sun'
into a triumph of arrangement and production, inflating the drama to breaking point, using muted piano tones to temper stinging guitars and biting vocals.
Older and wiser then, but no less energetic and still raising hell, Helloween
might just have delivered their hardest, fastest, heaviest, most consistent album ever. An album that refuses to play safe, but only takes those risks that are calculated, measured by experienced hands or simply trusted to instinct.
For fans who once thought that Helloween
would inherit the heavy metal earth, rather than simply stake out a sizeable chunk of real estate, this album may well revive those old ambitions.
Written by Brian
Monday, November 1, 2010Show all reviews by BrianRatingsBrian: 8/10
Members: 7.5/10 - Average of 1 ratings.Member ratings
7 Sinners is a solid and heavy balanced record.
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