Monday, 15 August 2011

CD Review: Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I, by Helloween (1987)

The breakout album from Germany's Helloween, Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I marries Scorpions to Iron Maiden and conceives some excellent continental power metal. At just six meaningful tracks, it's a relatively lightweight CD, but with one track, Halloween, clocking in at an epic 13 minutes, there is still plenty to chew on.

Working for the first time with vocalist Michael Kiske, allowing Kai Hansen to concentrate on guitar duties, Helloween now sound like a serious band. Kiske's high-pitch and extensive range meshes the sounds of Halford and Meine, and despite some straining problems, he complements the guitars of Hansen and Weikath, while the ultimately doomed Ingo Schwichtenberg is superbly animated behind the drum set.

I'm Alive sets the pace with purposefully growly guitars leading into a galloping melody full of metallic celebration. Twilight Of The Gods is an innovative track full of pace changes, competing harmonics and some terrific guitar solos. Halloween itself is a high-paced journey of endless innovation, rarely flagging as it meanders on a winding path paved with metal. Given its length, the track holds its theme together surprisingly well, maintaining interest and avoiding padding. Not all the segments hit their mark, but the more expressive instrumental passages more than make-up for the less stellar moments.

A Little Time, A Tale That Wasn't Right and Future World remind us that this is a young band still learning the trade of writing and delivering good metal.

Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I is raw energy captured in a sorcerer's orb, whetting the appetite for future potions from the same spell.


Markus Grobkopf - Bass
Kai Hansen - Guitar
Michael Kiske - Vocals
Michael Weikath - Guitar
Ingo Schwichtenberg - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Initiation - n/a (short instrumental)
2. I'm Alive - 8
3.A Little Time - 6
4. Twilight Of The Gods - 9
5. A Tale That Wasn't Right - 7
6. Future World - 7
7. Halloween - 9
8. Follow The Sign - n/a (short instrumental)

Average: 7.67

Produced by Tommy Newton.
Engineered by Tommy Hansen and Tommy Newton. Mixed by Tommy Hansen.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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