HELLOWEEN – My God-Given Right [Japan SHM-CD Limited Edition] (2015)
One of my youth’s favorite bands, German wonders HELLOWEEN, are back with their 15th album “My God-Given Right“. Helloween are celebrating 30 years together in June… it seems it was just yesterday that we were blasting The Keeper of Seven Keys on cassette. It was the beginning of power/speed metal, some kind of Scorpions on steroids and it was new and fresh. I still listen to Walls of Jericho and the two Keeper of Seven Keys albums fairly often, and they sound just as good today as they did back then.
In many ways, “My God-Given Right” is a return to the roots for Helloween; the songs are instantly likeable, with distinctive choruses and ’80s hooklines.
In fact, the songwriting on “My God-Given Right” is pretty easygoing: there’s simple and effective arrangements and as usual with Halloween, lots of humor.
And for me, it works; not everyone wants serious and challenging music all of the time. There are times when I want a blast of classic melodic metal that offers the kind of music when I can throw back my head and sing along with manly gusto.
“My God-Given Right” provides just this kind of tonic and, for the most part it is fantastic.
The album opens strongly with a trio of tracks that are simply brilliant. ‘Heroes’ offers a nicely-crafted melodic and almost soothing verse with a punchy chorus, ‘Battle’s Won’ is a fast-paced double-pedal driven power metal anthem with an overblown, hook-laden chorus and the title track is, if anything, even better.
The verse of ‘My God-Given Right’ has an understated feel to it that is reminiscent of Master Of The Rings era material but it’s the chorus that transcends the song into Godly anthemic realms. Deris belts it out as powerfully as I’ve ever heard him and, coupled with a gorgeously memorable melody and more double-pedal drumming, it is devastatingly infectious. There’s even a moment in the middle where everything quietens down before building inexorably to another rendition of the chorus. Magnificent.
The good news is that even after such a great opening, there are plenty of high points remaining within the album.
‘Stay Crazy’ features some utterly ridiculous lyrics but thanks to a classic ’80s metal-meets-melodic hard rock sheen and another breezy carefree chorus, the silliness is easily overlooked. To be honest, silly lyrics are part of the charm of Helloween and would be missed if absent.
To underline this point and the humorous element of the band, look no further than the preposterous ‘If God Loves Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and the spoken word segment that suggests that ‘even in heaven you need a bass guitar, a guitar and a second guitar’. The track is not meant to be taken seriously and is saved by another chorus that’s relatively strong and worthy of attention.
‘Lost In America’ is another fun (glammy?) hard rocker, and also ‘Like Everybody Else’ is very ’80s sounding, a ballad of sorts with a really good main melody.
But as evidenced within the ominous overtone of ‘A Swing Of A Fallen World’ and closer ‘You, Still Of War’, however, Helloween demonstrate that they have not entirely abandoned their more symphonic and epic attributes. That said, these moments are definitely the exception rather than the rule on this record.
“My God-Given Right” is, in my opinion, the most enjoyable album that Helloween have released for quite some time. Perhaps it’s too long and there’s a couple of fillers, but the good far outweighs the not so good and when all is said and done, when Helloween get it right on this album, they get it very, very right indeed.
You want melody, fun and a care-free classic metal listening experience? Then I suggest you unpack your air guitar, warm up the vocal chords and get your ears around “My God-Given Right”.
This Japanese SHM-CD Limited Edition is truly luxurious; includes three bonus tracks, one of which is exclusively included for this edition, a special bandana, an application card, and the digipak comes with an amazing textured 3D cover.
JVC / Victor Entertainment 初回限定盤, デラックスエディション
【SHM-CD】 ~ VIZP-136
01 – Heroes
02 – Battle’s Won
03 – My God-Given Right
04 – Stay Crazy
05 – Lost In America
06 – Russian Roulé
07 – The Swing Of A Fallen World
08 – Like Everybody Else
09 – Creatures In Heaven
10 – If God Loves Rock ‘N’ Roll
11 – Living On The Edge
12 – Claws
13 – You, Still Of War
14 – I Wish I Were There (bonus track)
15 – Wicked Game (bonus track)
16 – Free World (bonus track)
Andi Deris (ex-Pink Cream 69, ex-Kymera) – Vocals
Michael Weikath (ex-Powerfool) – Guitars
Sascha Gerstner (ex-Freedom Call) – Guitars
Markus Grosskopf (ex-Avantasia) – Bass
Dani Löble (Krokus) – Drums
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