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With the release of their 15th studio album due on May 29th, HELLOWEEN are set to further cement their title as the founding fathers of German melodic speed metal. The band's first self-titled EP was released in 1985, making their new album »My God-Given Right« the celebratory marker for their impressive 30 year career. »My God-Given Right« was recorded between October 2014 and February 2015 at the bands very own MiSueno Studio in Tenerife, with long term producer Charlie Bauerfeind (BLIND GUARDIAN, HAMMERFALL) handling production and recording duties.
Full speed ahead into the 30th anniversary year!
Without a doubt, this Hamburg Metal institution immediately took the helm of Melodic Speed Metal when releasing their 5-Track-EP »Helloween« in December of 1985, the superb LP-debut »Walls Of Jericho«, as well as the two in 1987/88 unleashed masterpieces »Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I/II«. Some say they are the godfathers of this genre, who continue to inspire legions of genre-peers and newcomer-bands alike. Throughout their stunning 30-year career HELLOWEEN kept busy occupying the pole positions of renowned festival billings such as Brazilian ‚Rock in Rio’, Japanese ‚Loudpark’ Festival, the annually happening world’s biggest Heavy-Metal-open-air festival, the ‚Wacken Open Air’, or the Polish ‚Woodstock’, where 500.000 ecstatic fans celebrated Germany’s speed kings. On top of that, HELLOWEEN completed countless headlining world tours, made audiences in exotic landscapes such as Indonesian island Borneo or the Brazilian jungle metropolis Manaus go crazy, and literally took their breath away in La Paz, the world’s highest-altitude capitol (situated at 3.200 meters above sea level). Beyond that, they also played some spectacular shows alongside Metal giants BLACK SABBATH, DIO, OZZY OSBOURNE und SLAYER. Meanwhile, the 5-piece has 14 studio releases and 3 live-albums under their belt, which sold a combined 8 millionen copies worldwide and banked 15 gold and 6 platinum awards in the process. The most recent release »Straight Out Of Hell« made a sensational #4 album chart entry in Germany (their highest German chart position thus far), gained another five top 10 chart entries throughout Europe and even crashed the US ‚Billboard top 100’. The »Hellish Rock Part II«-Tour in support of this chartbreaker led the „Weenies“ through 39 countries in Europe, Asia and North America, booking over 100 soldout shows.
Even after 3 decades, the new powerful opus »My God-Given Right« emphasizes on this curious trip to continue in their anniversary year of 2015. According to singer Andi Deris, the band insists on a simple motto: „Back to the roots – but with new songs“. He continues: „More than ever, our fans want to sing and rock out along with us. This simply works best with the use of distinctive choruses and 80-ies hooklines“. Guitarist Michael Weikath clarifies: „It is not our mission to just relive the 80-ies at all cost – to our own surprise, the whole dynamic of this working concept took on a life of its own.“
Both „The Weik“ and Deris stress that the album title is self-explanatory: „Surely there’ll be haters again that will presume that we have nothing better to do than to keep recycling the past instead of moving on into the 21st century. But such critics have followed us all along and never impressed us. We’ve always had a liberal attitude towards Heavy Metal: to do anything we want – and not follow the directions the know-it-alls would have pushed on us. We remained unfazed and acted out our vision of ‚anything goes’ in the songwriting process to »My God-Given Right« because we believe that it is our god-given-right (no pun intended) to do as we please and fulfill our musical vision without any boundaries.“
This attitude, respectively all of HELLOWEEN’s unique sound qualities, materialize on this masterpiece right from the get-go: The dashing opener 'Heroes' is racing through the air waves like a sledge hammer, immediately followed by the speedster 'Battle‘s Won'. To go on, tunes like the title track 'My God-Given Right', and 'Claws', exhibit all trademarks of the typical sound of HELLOWEEN that fans are thriving for: murderously speeding guitar leads and neverending double bass attacks in combination with clear, high-pitched vocals that climax in super melodic chorus lines.
The composition 'Swing Of A Fallen World', a cross-reference to »The Dark Ride« so to speak, is proof that HELLOWEEN have successfully transported the genre-forming vibes of the 80-ies into this new era. Glissando guitars and the psychedelic mood of the epic, yet subtle semi-ballad 'Like Everybody Else' shift gears with a hint of the 70-ies, while 'Russian Roulé' surprises with a fairly dark, gloomy touch.
'Living On The Edge' und 'Stay Crazy' live off those brilliantly catchy HELLOWEEN-choruses; 'Lost In America' even has potential to become a smash hit similar to 'I Want Out'. 'If God Loves Rock’n’Roll' charms the listener just like the legandary 1988 hit-single 'Dr. Stein'. Then, after some unexpected rhythmical breaks, 'Creatures In Heaven' emerges as a straight-forward uptempo hymn, while the 7:21 minutes long closing track (the longest of the album) 'You, Still Of War' makes the listener time travel back into 1987 once more, when Hamburg’s fab five made jaws drop with their similarly arranged masterpiece 'Halloween'.
There can be no doubt that »My God-Given Right«, (endowed with cover-artwork that generates its own ‚pumpkin world’ anew in direct correlation with the song titles - the limited digi-pack version even featuers a 3D-lenticular cover), is an album jam-packed full of variety that captures the band’s entire musical spectrum: From the early Speed Metal days in the vein of »Helloween« and »Walls Of Jericho«, to the recent, more modern and slightly progressive releases such as »7 Sinners« and »Straight Out Of Hell«. Just like its predecessors, it is an album that dives deep into musical journeys, while at the same time inviting the listener along for the ride. Last, but not least, it is an album worthy of a 30th anniversary celebration that proves that the band, well-rounded in their creative top form and more vital than ever, will continue to influence the Metal-scene around the globe. One wouldn’t expect any less from the „godfathers of Melodic Speed Metal“!
- Battle's Won
- My God-Given Right
- Stay Crazy
- Lost In America
- Russian Roulé
- The Swing Of A Fallen World
- Like Everybody Else
- Creatures In Heaven
- If God loves rock'n'roll
- Living On The Edge
- You, Still Of War
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