So here we are, 15 years after his last solo album and Helloween belter Andi Deris is back with album number three. In the run up to the album’s release, I’m sure most fans saw the hype afforded this oddly titled band and album, particularly all of the rage directed at the modern banking industry. Between that, bizarre title, and fresh memories of Deris’ “Asshole” on the last Pumpkin’s album, I’m sure more than a few people had red flags go up that this album was going to be an absolute clusterfuck. Well dear reader, allow me to put your fears at rest – despite these potential shortcomings, Andi Deris has delivered again.
First let me address the so-called “theme” of the album – hatred towards banking & commerce, blah blah blah. It’s there, but really only in two songs: “Banker’s Delight (Dead or Alive)”, and “Cock”. “Cock” is a ridiculous tirade befitting the attempted “outrageous” song title. Having said that, the song does sport a catchy & memorable riff, salvaging it from being a total loss. “Banker’s Delight” is less useful and features an almost mallcore riff. Skip it. Beyond those songs though, there are some true gems here that would fit nicely on recent Helloween albums, particularly “Will We Ever Change”, “EnAmoria” and “Must Be Dreaming” (which was originally written for Scelerata, and their THE SNIPER album). Elsewhere, and to his credit, Deris delves into musical terrain that would clearly not work in his day job. Specifically, the hard rocking “Don’t Listen to the Radio (TWOTW 1938)” is a real winner, and quite amusingly written about the mass hysteria created by the original War of the Worlds radio broadcast 76 years ago. The brooding “This Could Go On Forever” is another winner that shows Deris’ song writing talent stretches far outside the realm of power metal. Throughout, Deris’ voice is in fine form and sounds as vital as ever.
Yes, there are some clunkers on this album, which is to be expected of most solo albums, but all told, I was pleasantly surprised by how damn good this effort is. While it doesn’t rival the majesty of Helloween’s best moments, MILLION DOLLAR HAIRCUTS ON TEN CENT HEADS is an excellent album in its own right, and a damn fun listen.
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