Helloween - 7 Sinners

Helloween has been with metal fans for some time... since the late 80s. They've kept their melodic power metal sound going all this time while enduring a few lineup changes. The thing that separates Helloween from their fellow power metal bands is their style of blending story, melody, and different styles of metal within their music. No Helloween album is the same as its predecessor; there is thrash, heavy, melodic, and power metal spread throughout the albums. Sometimes its heavy as hell and other times soft and melodic to the point that it's such a ballad that fans will wonder if it can even be called 'metal.' With '7 Sinners,' Helloween branch out even more with their varied style. It is possible to call it their most 'melodically heavy' album to date, partially due to the help of modern production so the sound is perfectly clear.

'7 Sinners' is a bit more loose as far as concept albums go for Helloween. It isn't as tightly knit to follow a straight storyline as other albums like 'Keeper Of The 7 Keys,' but some sort of story can be formed out of the tracks. The first thing fans will notice is the drums. Right off with 'Where The Sinners' go, one can hear the drums start up with a percussive, tribal pounding before the guitars come in, which feature a very distorted, yet harmonic warble. It is a very unique style for Helloween because most power metal bands usually just hammer out solos or high pitched chords that match keyboards and unfortunately it blots everything out. With Helloween, their opt for a more rhythmic, heavy metal/ thrash metal/ hard rock chug with mometary experimental notes thrown in between. It's engaging and fortunately doesn't overtake anything. The vocals are clear and melodic, keeping a wide range of low croons and higher pitched falsettos. The first single off the album- 'Are You Metal?- is a bit generic in lyrics and the title, but the music still rocks along the lines of power metal (who can ignore the creepy keyboard introduction?). Throughout the album other tracks like "Long Live The King" and "You Stupid Mankind" (dumb title yes, but with a social impact) have more of a catchy thrash element to it, and if the vocals were any rougher, fans would seriously consider that Helloween had gone the way of melodic thrash.

Of course, the album has its softer bits too. "The Smile Of The Sun" trades in the chugging for selective keyboard notes that sound like piano and a few guitar strings that sound melodically pleasing. The vocals even sound like they have some electronic enhancement to complete the foreboding tone of the entire song. It's not a full softie ballad, but that's what "Not Yet Today" is for. It is the shortest track on the album, and possibly one of the strangest, most 'non metal' tracks that Helloween has ever done. It is extremely ambiant, with the vocals sounding like Tibetan monk chants over a low, buzzing synth. No drums, guitars, or solos abound at all. It is unique and will either be noted as a great interlude (though poorly placed), or a waste of space and time. Of course, whatever the reason, it is good to see Helloween throwing out random, experimental moments, even if they are just sheer experiments.

'7 Sinners' is very well possibly the best album Helloween has ever done. While it doesn't call for a rave about its storytelling ability, the musicianship has exceeded all expectations. Every song there is extremely enjoyable, and even if the riffs aren't spectacular or groundbreaking, the name of the game with this album is 'catchiness.' Who could deny it? From the opening track to the end everything is full headbanging glory. Fourteen albums is a long time to prove oneself, and Helloween make '7 Sinners' certain proof that 80s bands still know how to make great music in a modern world where they can show the young pups of the metal genre a trick or two.

  1. Where The Sinners Go
  2. Are You Metal?
  3. Who Is Mr. Madman?
  4. Raise The Noise
  5. World Of Fantasy
  6. Long Live The King
  7. The Smile Of The Sun
  8. You Stupid Mankind
  9. If A Mountain Could Talk
  10. The Sage, The Fool, The Sinner
  11. My Sacrifice
  12. Not Yet Today
  13. Far In The Future

SPV/ Steamhammer
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Nov 2, 2010
Next review: Tank - War Metal

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