Artist – HELLOWEEN
Album – Straight Out Of Hell
Label – The End Records
Year – 2013
- ‘World Of War’
- ‘Live Now!’
- ‘Far From The Stars’
- ‘Burning Sun’
- ‘Waiting For The Thunder’
- ‘Hold Me In Your Arms’
- ‘Wanna Be God’
- ‘Straight Out Of Hell’
- ‘Make Fire Catch The Fly’
- ‘Church Breaks Down’
Limited Edition bonus tracks:
- ‘Another Shot Of Life’
- ‘Burning Sun’ (Hammond version) – dedicated to Jon Lord
Talking about power metal, especially melodic power metal, is one of my hobbies. A mixture of traditional heavy metal with speed metal elements, plus keyboards (sometimes) gives you a powerful song which is called melodic power metal. I believe the roots of power metal comes from the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1970’s, when legendary singer and musician Ronnie James Dio used some different elements in music during the RAINBOW era. Also he carried on with them in his DIO band with such songs as “Holy Diver“. Following Dio, I can see the foot prints in the music of other bands and musicians like JUDAS PRIEST, ACCEPT (listen to “Accept” album or “Metal Heart” song) and the legendary Yngwie Malmsteen, who brought another kind of speed playing into metal music with his new style of fast picking. Obviously no band can define melodic power metal in their music more than the pioneers of this genre, HELLOWEEN. They wrote such a renowned part of the genres history with their second and third studio albums, “Keeper of the Seven Keys“, part 1 and part.2. However, the band has great albums like “Master Of The Rings“, “Time Of The Oath” and “The Dark Ride” during their successful career, except for a few.
Power metal generators HELLOWEEN have released thirteen studio albums to date. But I believe their eleventh album, “Gambling With The Devil” was a new birth, a new rise or beginning a new attempt in writing powerful HELLOWEEN music, especially the new style of singing which the remarkable singer, Andi Deris used in this album. The band’s forthcoming and fourteenth studio album will be “Straight Out Of Hell” which sounds NEW but familiar to me. The following will explain exactly what I mean.
The start of this album really surprised me with an oriental riff, as I really do not expect HELLOWEEN to use these kind of scales and moods in their music. “Nabataea” is a 7 minute long track, which brings the memory of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow and Ronnie James Dio‘s music in the 1980’s to me, when they were using oriental themes in their music like the masterpiece “Gates Of Babylon” (ooh what a song) but with a modern sound. From the highest notes to the low, Andi used different styles of singing in this album, but in “Nabataea” he used the same style that he used in the “Gambling With The Devil” album. Straight after “Nabataea“, “World Of War” begins, which is written in pure melodic power metal style. Filled in with powerful Helloween-ish guitar and bass riffs, fast solos and extra fast double bass pedals on the drums, which is a mixture of old traditions of the band with some new elements.
It’s obvious that HELLOWEEN have never been afraid to try new approaches and it seems the new album “Straight Out Of Hell” is no exception. Some of these new attempts received good feedback and some did not (Remember “Gambling With The Devil” and “Chameleon” albums). But to me, the important point is that they are brave enough to try new styles and I believe the human race wouldn’t exist if we didn’t try new things. So I am telling you to be brave, be creative, you are the winner. However, the band still incorporates their traditional metal elements in the music; the track “Burning Sun” is an example of that, pure traditional HELLOWEEN metal, using a new kind of sound and a different singing style of the high notes by Andi.
The second surprise comes with the heavy song “Waiting For The Thunder” and power ballad track “Hold Me In Your Arms” on which Andi used a deeper voice to sing, similar to his solo albums. It’s a good tradition for HELLOWEEN to have one power ballad in each album and the “Hold Me In Your Arms” track is one of them, except as I said Andi chose to sing using lower notes. To be honest, I like it and I enjoyed this peaceful track as I previously did with the tracks such as “A Tale That Wasn’t Right“, “Forever And One (Neverland)” and “If I Could Fly.” But the third surprise came even faster this time, when “Wanna Be God” starts with a different style of drums, which sounds like a tradition Brazilian folk rhythm to me and then Andi starts singing and this continues until the guitars joined the party just for a few seconds. It seems they wanted to wear QUEEN‘s shoes, as this track sounds like “We Will Rock You” by QUEEN to me.
The next track is the title track which is really a pure metal masterpiece, and I could listen to it for a long time without getting tired. Honestly, I am notable for listening to HELLOWEEN tracks for a really long time without feeling tired, my longest record is listening to “I Want Out” for six weeks without listening to any other song! “Straight Out Of Hell” is really another good example of what I meant when I said NEW but familiar. Pure traditional pumpkin metal; fast, powerful and pure metal are the ways to describe this song. It will bang your head fast with very joyful metal moments.
You may think “Asshole” is a little rude to be used for the title of a track, but HELLOWEEN does not think so, again they mixed some brave, angry and pure heavy metal elements together to create a great song, which is written for those who enjoy heavy metal rhythms and solos. Another notable track in this album is “Church Breaks Down,” which starts with a medieval mass in a church plus the bells ringing. It sounds like the band wanted to remind or teach us some historical lessons, I leave this to you if you want to listen to them or not, but I want to suggest that you really do not miss this wonderful track which is my favourite song on the album. It’s really fast, using some thrash riffs and fast solos which reminds me of the golden days of Yngwie Malmsteen and neo-classical metal. I think this track cannot be written any better than this. “Straight Out Of Hell” also has another great song, if you buy the limited edition version, the track is entitled “Another Shot Of Life,” with great wah-pedal solos by Michael, speedy solos by Sacha, powerful and heavy riffs and solos by Markus, powerful drums by Daniel and that classic HELLOWEEN style of singing by Andi.
The “Straight Out Of Hell” album will be new but familiar for all of the fans of the king of pumpkins (don’t get me wrong, I do not mean Tim Burton’s Jack) HELLOWEEN and it will fill your time with pure melodic power metal, some fast thrash riffs and solos, where some of them are faster than the speed of light. My rating for HELLOWEEN‘s “Straight Out Of Hell” is 9/10.
Final word, if you are a sinner, to get straight out of hell, you need to the listen to the “Straight Out Of Hell” album and you may be blessed. If not, you still need to listen to this album, because I am sure you will enjoy the greatness of power metal by HELLOWEEN.
Review by Mohsen Fayyazi