Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy (CD)

Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy / 2005 SPV / 13 Tracks / http://www.helloween.org / http://www.spv.de / Reviewed 16 January 2006

It has been nearly twenty years since the first Keeper of the Seven Keys album was released, and Helloween has not lost a step in the creation of theatrical metal that will keep heads bobbing even as Andi and the rest of the band tells a rich and vibrant story. Gone are the confines of a forty minute tape; this epic is spread over two full length CDs, with over an hour of music for individuals to cut their teeth on. Even though tracks like “The King For A 1000 Years” are nearly fourteen minutes, Helloween mixes up their delivery enough to keep individuals interested at all points of the track (and by extension, all tracks on this CD). “The Invisible Man” comes through with all the pomp and circumstance given to the hero, with solid guitar lines that soar over the composition and delightful multiple-part harmonies that continue a quick tempo throughout this track.

The production of “The Legacy” is clear enough to the point that each character’s actions are shown in the vocal tenor of Andi’s output, which is distant enough from the rest of the instrumentation to be understandable. Where it is definitely a guitar person’s set of scenery through the majority of the disc, the bass solo that is given time during “Born On Judgment Day” is easily the equivalent of anything that Matt Freeman could put on disc. What is another great thing about Helloween is their ability to mix in other metal styles to the point that one can only vaguely notice them as something that was not created by the band; o n “Pleasure Drone”, the track starts out and is lead by a guitar riff that seems more fit in a Ratt or Van Halen song than anything else. “Mrs. God” is the disc’s single, and has a distinct sound from practically all the rest of the songs on “The Legacy”.

In fact, when one considers that Helloween continues their own brand of progressive metal with the track, what comes through is a track that is on par with either Sgt. Pepper’s or Tommy, true rock opera type of stuff. With something for everyone, “The Legacy” is a nice continuation of the story first begun to be told in 1987 and even expands on the musical pedigree of Helloween. It is rare that such an established band will pick up all these new tricks, but Helloween does just that and more on this double-disc.

Top Tracks: Mrs. God, The King For A 1000 Years

Rating: 7.5/10

[JMcQ]

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