HELLOWEEN ‘Rabbit Don’t Come Easy’ Nuclear Blast NB10432 (2003)
Helloween have undergone some major line-up changes since their last
release ‘The Dark Ride’, with drummer Uli Kusch and guitarist Roland Grapow
both leaving the band. Mark Cross was signed-up as replacement drummer but
he contracted mononucleosis, which meant the drum parts on the album are
handled by Mikey Dee (Motorhead). So bearing all that in mind it’s a credit
to the band that they have produced an album at all! Helloween now have a
settled line-up of Markus Grosskopf (bass), Sascha Gerstner (guitars), Andi
Deris (vocals), Michael Weikath (guitars), Stefan Schwarzmann (drums).
Having lost interest in the band after ‘Pink Bubbles Go Ape’ (bar the
excellent covers set ‘Metal Jukebox’) I approached this with some
trepidation. But the album is a fine return to the classic Helloween sound,
including the tongue-in-cheek lyrics, which the band is so famous for.
Opener ‘Just A Little Sign’ aptly illustrates with the frantic drumbeats,
fast guitars and catchy, sing-a-long chorus - great way to start an album.
‘Open Your Life’ continues the pace and ‘The Tune’ is a classic slab of fast
paced melodic metal, with guitars to the fore! ‘Liar’ is just plain brutal
with a growling vocal from Andi Deris and Mikey Dee pummels the drums.
Touch of the East on ‘Sun 4 The World’, again mixing hook-laden choruses
with blistering guitar riffs. More catchy metal in ‘Do You Feel Good’ and
the semi-ballad ‘Don’t Stop Being Crazy’. A few tracks fail to hit the mark
like ‘Back Against The Wall’ and the epic ‘Nothing To Say’ but they are
Good to see Helloween back on form and they could win new fans with the
increased interest in all things metal. If like me, you are a lapsed
Helloween fan get this album, as it will restore your faith in the band.
Review by Jason Ritchie
***** Out of this world | **** Pretty
damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly