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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 still listenable.

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

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