Helloween – Helloween

October 6, 2011 in Reviews by blackwindmetal


Helloween
Helloween
1985

Hi folks! Morpheus here, and I’ve got a little surprise for you! As the resident Helloween fanboy here at Black Wind Metal, I have decided to embark on a project that I hope shall be as fruitful as it is difficult: namely, I shall be reviewing all of Helloween’s albums, starting with their self-titled debut EP and working my way forward chronologically to their latest offering, “7 Sinners”. Also, given the fact that we have gained our full internet autonomy, we are working toward a little higher level of professionalism, at least in terms of our names. Because of this, I will generally be going by my given name from this point on. Feel free to call me Morpheus though; it makes me feel really epic… Anyway, with no further ado, I present to you Helloween’s self-titled debut EP. Enjoy!

The first word that comes to mind when I think of this album is “exuberant.” This is quite clearly the work of a new band, specifically a new band destined to become great: while Helloween is lacking the focus and polish of their later works, the songwriting is fresh and the band radiates an incredible energy throughout the entire work, not only through their relentless speed but also through their brilliant performances.

I suppose I should go over the inconsistencies of this EP before I explain why I like it so much. First of all, the production is relatively low-quality. It’s not horrible, but it does come off sounding somewhat tinny or “buzzy,” lacking the punch of later recordings, even those recorded only a few years later. Secondly, this was recorded with Kai Hansen on vocals. His ability as a metal singer is not necessarily poor; in fact, he positively shines when he lets out a shriek (see the end of “Starlight” for an example of this…) Unfortunately, though, he has a bit of trouble singing more melodic material, especially the soft beginning to “Cry For Freedom.” Thirdly, while the songs themselves are strong, as a single unit they lack some of the artistic coherence that Helloween would develop later in their career. I recognize that this is a fairly subjective judgement, and perhaps not applicable for all people, but all my fellow album-cohesion nuts might find it useful.

These, however, are all rather forgivable offenses when we look at the strength of the recording. Though relatively brief, “Helloween” is through and through an exhilarating listen, featuring five strong (not to mention fast) tracks. While it is a relatively unpolished record, lacking the cohesion, production, and “flow” of later records, it features a number of aspects which would become Helloween trademarks: memorable songwriting, a strong sense of melody, and a healthy sense of humor.

Tom’s Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Note: This was re-released both as part of the deluxe edition of “Walls Of Jericho,” and as the first disc in “The Singles Box.” Don’t try to track it down by itself unless you really like the cover or something; you probably won’t find it for anything resembling a reasonable price.