Helloween – My God Given Right

Helloween
My God Given Right
Heavy Metal/Power Metal
Released 29th May 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

Returning once again with their 15th studio record, Helloween go back to their roots of making just pure heavy metal music. It also marks the first time the band have released five consecutive studio albums with the same line-up, with Andi Deris on vocals, Michael Weikath & Sascha Gerstner on guitars, Markus Grosskopf on bass guitar and Dani Löble on the drums.  Also, with Charlie Bauerfeind producing this, it is sure to be a great record from them, as Charlie has produced some of my favourite Helloween records. Including the highly praised “Gambling with the Devil”.

The album opens strong with hard hitting, power metal songs like ‘Heroes’ and the title track ‘My God Given Right’.  Almost automatically you feel that punch. The standard power metal type sounds with Andi’s vocals just soaring above the production. The guitars sound great and the bass lines play nicely at the bottom of the tracks. Helloween have such a commanding presence to them and it shows in this album, with powerful choruses that have a sense of presence to them.  I have a feeling that the band just wanted to stick to the simple concept of making good old fashioned headbanging tunes and cut out any signs of pretense. So Helloween at their strongest then.  In my opinion it’s worked, as I feel this is one of their best albums in a while.

In saying that, though, I do have some niggling problems with this album.  Whilst the production is strong and the songs are well written, some of the songs on the latter half of the album are a little bland and have no real bite to them.  As a result I found myself skipping them upon repeated listens.  Also there is a feeling that maybe they’re trying too hard to recapture their sound from the 80’s, with the tone of “it worked back then, it’ll work now”. Nothing wrong in writing in a similar style but it feels like pandering to the “retro” crowd and if there’s anything I hate is music talking down to me.  I don’t know, the album comes off as formulaic, like if they stick to a certain pattern of writing it will sell. So it doesn’t feel 100% natural. Yet, I don’t think any of this was intentional, it’s just how it comes across.

Despite my problems, which you may not even have,  I still enjoy the album.  It has a lot of strong hooks and catchy melodies  The guitar solos are fun to listen to, and air guitar to. There are certainly the standout moments of the record: ‘Living On The Edge’ feels quite epic and ‘Lost In America’ has that radio friendly feel that I think would go down well with live crowds.  ‘If God Loves Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is quite fun too.  Also, nothing is getting me more pumped lately than the album’s opener ‘Heroes’. So it is fair to say that this album has definitely caught my ears in the right way.

Is this another classic from Helloween? Have the rekindled their spark from the early days? Well… Yes and no. Whilst the album is soaked in nostalgic tones and the songs are fun.  I mean if you’re a fan of old school Helloween, then I say yes, go and buy this album, and more than likely you already have. Yet, the average person who’s only familiar with the band in passing, may find that it will rub them the wrong way, with the formulaic sound and pandering tone.  So, my final verdict. I like it. It’s fun and it’s good to hear another Helloween album. My problems with it don’t bother me so much that it ruins the listening experience. I would say it’s worth at least a listen. If you like what you hear from the tracks I suggested then I say go buy it.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

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