In 2016, Helloween did what their fans has always asked for; a reunion with former band members Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske. But instead of just making a throwback tour to the “Keeper of the Seven Keys”-albums of the 80’s, they kept present members Sascha Gerstner and Andy Deris in the band and made their concert not just a nostalgic blast to the past, but a major event with songs from all over their massive career during a spectacular and long show. A smart and tasteful concept, that we now can hear on this 140 minute long live album (and DVD) United Alive in Madrid!
What I hope from an album like this is for it to throughout every single one of the 140 minutes take me to that concert arena in Madrid and really feel the bands excitement about playing all of these great tunes from all over the years together, and also getting the feeling that the whole spectrum of the bands career is represented. And sure enough, they pull it off. Michael Kiske is given most attention, seeing how his songs are still the bands most famous and classic, but also Deris makes a great vocal performance, and when they come together, it’s magical. Just listen to how their voices blend together in the eternally beatiful ballads “Forever and One” and “A Tale That Wasn’t Right”!
Also, of course, Kai Hansen is back, even though it’s mainly as a guitar player rather than vocalist. He gets to ride off into the sunset in a 13 minute medley where he slashes his razorblade voice through classics such as “Starlight”, “Ride the Sky” and “Heavy Metal is the Law”, and it’s just massive. I have always loved Hansens voice and guitar playing and to hear him carry these tunes is just wonderful. I just wish there was more of it, and that he would have dared to take on “How Many Tears”. But for what it is, it’s still great!
When it gets near the end, it doesn’t, because this album never seems to end! And I mean that in a good way, of course. Once you first think they’ve finished, you’ll be surprised how many hits still lie ahead! It just keeps going and going and going… And I love every minute of it. So yes, I am carried away to the arena in Madrid. And yes, this is a great monument that covers the whole of the bands career. So hats off, Helloween, and don’t hesitate to use your new found energy to make a new studio album with the exact same band members! We are waiting…
Title: United Alive in Madrid
Label: Nuclear Blast
Date of release: 4/10-19
Stand out tracks: Forever and One