Helloween – 7 Sinners
So now we come to it; Helloween’s latest record (at least until the upcoming release of Straight Out Of Hell), entitled 7 Sinners, came out on Halloween 2010, less than a year after the almost-universally-reviled (though not bad) non-metal retrospective Unarmed. As if in reaction to the unanticipated response toward said compilation, 7 Sinners sees the band at their most aggressive since Walls Of Jericho – perhaps even moreso – and easily their most aggressive in the Deris era. But this added aggression has nothing to do with the band simplifying their sound or forsaking their quirkiness for the sake of record sales; rather, every Helloween staple is here, just louder and faster.
…and boy, do these songs really cook. Certainly the most outright aggressive tracks (“Are You Metal?” and “Long Live The King”) burn with at least the intensity of earlier tracks “Push,” “Kill It,” and “Liar,” but they do it even more memorably, and feel a bit more natural. Whereas the earlier tracks stuck out as “the aggressive track” on their respective albums, the new ones feel entirely at home here, and part of that is simply because they’re a bit better-written. The other part, of course, is that the other tracks are also a bit heavier throughout; even the most melodic tracks here really sizzle. Check out “World Of Fantasy,” for example. It won’t throw any surprises at you, but it’s a downright exhilarating track, and when that chorus kicks in… well, it ain’t subtle, but it does the trick.
The rest of the album plays out in much the same way. The melodies soar, the solos scream, and everything else comes flying along close behind. There are just enough experiments and subtleties to keep it memorable; from the flute solo in “Raise The Noise” to the re-use of the “Perfect Gentleman” melody in “Who Is Mr. Madman?” to the brilliantly subtle synth work behind “You Stupid Mankind,” Helloween show themselves capable of… well, pulling off this kind of stuff. It doesn’t feel out of place when they borrow a melody from an old album, it doesn’t feel forced when they work in a flute solo, and it doesn’t feel awkward when they work a bit of synth into some of their heaviest riffing. Much to the contrary, this feels like the most natural way to do things; the band could very well have taken this more aggressive route and come up with something bland and unoriginal, but instead they took the chance to create something more exciting out of the materials they already had. One can only hope that this bodes well for the future of Helloween, but I suppose only time (and the release of Straight Out Of Hell) will tell. I hope you enjoyed reading this rewind as much as I did writing it, and I hope to share with you some more pumpkin-spiced joy come January. ‘Till then, raise the noise with 7 Sinners; it’s worth your time. Cheers!
Tom’s Rating: 4.0 out of 5