Well, well. I will start out by saying I have thought that Helloween have been in decline since Walls of Jericho. Even though I do like the Keeper of the Seven Keys duo a lot, I have not found the band that interesting to listen to for much of the time. That seems to be about to change.
This new pumpkins united crap sits well with me. Hansen, Kiske, Deris as a barbershop power metal choir works quite well. There seems to be a gung-ho attitude and laid-back approach towards the music and the joy of working together seems to be there. It might not be, but I could not care less. It is delivered as such, and that is all that matters to me as a listener.
What to say about the songs then? Ok, the happy power metal is there, but it is kept interesting all the time instead of reverting into background noise as it can be for me after a few songs. This is more complex and reeks of grandeur and greatness in this genre.
In short, the album rocks. The slightly longer explanation is that there are complex songs and very well executed performances on this album. Not just that you have three vocalists that must be kept happy. You also have a few guitar players that need room, and a rhythm section that need to deliver stability, and also have their ego stroked somewhat.
I feel that this album to me is like a cookie dough of the history that is Helloween. You must carefully mix all the essence together to make the end result taste nice. That is what this band has done. Probably touring and getting a feel for each other before studio time has helped. There seems to be an understanding between the egos that you might not have gotten if they had done the album before the tour. I am grateful for this, and I can only speculate what would have been if the order would have been the other way.
It is hard to pick out favorites, the songs do not have a great span in quality. It is generally high, but Indestructible & Best Time stand out a bit more for me. Personal preference and a general gut feeling do make them a bit above the others for me.
Label: Nuclear Blast
Date of release: 2021-06-18
Stand out track: Indestructible
Country of Origin: Germany