Helloween - Straight out of Hell
The End Records
Power / Speed Metal
14 songs (65"15)
Release year: 2013
Helloween, The End Records
Reviewed by Chris
Major event

Helloween is back with their fourteenth studio album. The German power metal masters have the uncanny ability to release mostly strong albums ever since Andi Deris took on the vocals and their thirteen album : 7 Sinners, was one of their best albums if you ask me. I know many prefer Legacy or even Rabbit Don't Come Easy, so it's all a matter of taste I guess. I found the band was heavier on 7 Sinners than it had been before and made this album a little different in my opinion.

Straight out of Hell is a similar beast except it may be catchier on the first listens. While it took me a good 5-8 listens to get into 7 Sinners, I was hooked on this new opus after the second play through. A very very solid album, with 14 songs (13 in official release, 15 in Premium edition, our promo contained only one of the bonus track), and not a single bad song, maybe a couple of tracks that don't really add up much to the whole. Nabataea starts with a very stylish riff and is a great opener. As always Andi's vocals are simply stellar ! One of my favorite singers of all time, he has after all a one of kind voice, that you immediately recognize, and what has come clear over the years since joining Helloween is that his range is simply impressive. So this opener track is fast and melodic, the perfect way to open the album, reminding me a little The Dark Ride vibe here and there. The second song is even faster, the typical power/speed metal romp we know and love from Helloween, but with a mighty heavy riff in the verse parts, making the song a very heavy meets melodic bridge/chorus combo. Live Now! is a great moody track, I love the distorted riffing almost Bon Jovi-esque at the beginning of the song, again Deris shines in the vocal department again but that's no surprise. A simple yet effective chorus, Live Now! is a great tune that will easily stuck in your mind. Far From the Stars starts high in beats per seconds, and I guess this is probably what makes Straight Out of Hell a little more accessible and digestible than 7 Sinners was at first listens. This songs really remind me of the Master of the Rings album, it has that vibe, fast, melodic and majestic all the way to the great (if a little cheesy) chorus. Burning Suns is again a track that has more mood and a little speed but it's incredible nonetheless, and I guess I must underline the extremely well balanced heavy / speed guitars of this album, it's basically a great mix of typical Helloween faster guitar work underlined with great heavy moments here and there throughout the album, and really catchy and moody songs, with a great song writing overall. I'm not gonna detail all songs as I want you to discover the album for yourself, but let's just say the album is great on all counts, the guitars are majestic, so are the solos, perfect vocals and an always tight rhythm section, but most importantly a great mix between full-on melodic and very heavy makes this album almost sound progressive at times. It is clear that a lot of thoughts and effort went into the song writing process ! Hold Me In Your Arms is maybe the weaker track here, while the album in general feels like a highlight. It is not such a bad song, but compared to the overall offering it feels like an added ballad that has not much punch into it (don't get me wrong it's a good song, but it's a little too easy and formulaic). Amongst my favorite tracks can be found Waiting for the Thunder (very Dark Ride mood) and it's fantastic piano overtones. Asshole is also a jewel, while a simple song, I can totally see it's lyrics to be therapeutic when thinking about someone you loathe :), it should be a perfect live song with the crowd shouting Asshole from the depth of their lungs. A great heavy romp that is sure to bring a smile to your face if not make you laugh out loud the first time you listen to it. Wanna Be God is an oddity, I'd say that it's one of the tracks I could have lived without but I still enjoy nonetheless, it's short after all clocking at 2 minutes. Straight Out of Hell is a typical Helloween hymn type song and a very good one at that, it's melody will stay carved in your head for quick a while ! Another of my favorites is Make Fire Catch a Fly, maybe again for reminding me of The Dark Ride album. On the bonus, Shot of Life is a great song, maybe a little simpler on the song writing but great and the chorus kept sticking in my head, so I would recommend anyone to get the Premium edition with bonus tracks.

If I should try to sum up the album I'd say it takes from the Keepers and old style Helloween, with some good heaviness parts from the 7 Sinners, and great progressive and moody feel from The Dark Ride. The end result is an absolute jewel and I'm amazed how Helloween's been churning killer music for so many years now, not completely reinventing themselves too much but adding enough experimentation and twists here and there to make them sound ever fresh with every new album. From beginning to end this album is a real pleasure ride, it's metal and it's Helloween at it's core, no doubts about that. So in the end this is yet another killer album from the legendary Helloween ! I was worried their next album was gonna be weaker than 7 Sinners, but the mighty band delivered yet another killer album. 2013 hasn't already started and already I have a contender for album of the (next) year. Funny anecdote : Helloween usually release their albums on Halloween, but they decided to change this time around because of the 2012 "scare". From what I got from an Andi interview, they thought if the world ends on 21st of December, but there are survivors and the album still gets released, then it would come... Straight out of Hell. With this let me wish you all a happy new year 2013 and give you an appointment for January the 18th, as no power/speed metal fan should miss out on such an excellent album !

Killing Songs :
All but maybe Hold Me in your Arms & Wanna Be God
Chris quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Helloween that we have reviewed:
Helloween - Walls of Jericho reviewed by Olivier and quoted CLASSIC
Helloween - 7 Sinners reviewed by Kyle and quoted 87 / 100
Helloween - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I reviewed by Storm and quoted CLASSIC
Helloween - Gambling With The Devil reviewed by Marty and quoted 90 / 100
Helloween - Legacy World Tour - Live On Three Continents reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
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