Some album intros are totally annoying and you always skip them when you put on the album. However, some are excellent, set the mood for the listening experience, and are totally memorable. Those are the ones we focus on for this week.
For our selections, we limit the choices to ALBUM intros, not just any ole song intro. It can be a spoken intro, sound effects, or a shorter musical piece…but is not a “song” or a part of a song, it is a stand alone track on the album. We asked our staff to give us their top 5 selections and some thoughts on them. Check out the results below….
HELLOWEEN are one of the most influential and internationally successful acts of the global metal scene. With the release of their 15thstudio album My God-Given Right,due on May 29th (EU), June 1st (UK) and June 2nd (US), the pumpkin heads are set to further cement their title as the founding fathers of German melodic speed metal. The band’s first self-titled EP was released in 1985, making their new album My God-Given Right the celebratory marker for their impressive 30 year career.
»My God-Given Right« was recorded between October 2014 and February 2015 at the bands very own MiSueno Studio in Tenerife, with long term producer Charlie Bauerfeind (BLIND GUARDIAN, HAMMERFALL) handling production and recording duties.
Once more we feel graphic guru Martin Häusler (BON JOVI, QUEEN, GOTTHARD) did an exceptional job, the artwork will also be available as a 3D Lenticular print.
Martin Häusler comments his recent creation:
“We tried to built a world of ideas, keeping the ”classical HELLOWEEN“ elements, like the pumpkins on the one hand and a complete new look on the other, just like we did it the years before, working on a HELLOWEEN artwork. A first inspiration came from the album title »My God-Given Right« and some of the song titles like ‘Swing Of A Fallen World’, ‘Lost In America’, ‘Battle´s Won’ etc. During my research I stumbled upon the Blockbuster “Day After Tomorrow” and the idea of just leaving the world to the “pumpkins” was born. The most challenging part of this artwork was to have both, the Limited Edition and the 11″ Earbook provided with a 3D-Lenticular-cover (a full 3D cover, visible without 3D glasses). That’s the reason the entire artwork was done ‘in one piece’, using a 3D program…we did not want one of those ‘cheap Lenticular-covers, done by converting a 2d-version’, but the best possible real 3D result: So don’t get any other versions – this will be a true collector’s item!”
”I never know how, but somehow we did it once again…the albums really rocks and kicks some major ass!!! We had the best folks with us to make this possible.
Producer Charlie Bauerfeind and Martin Häusler, who made a massive 3D artwork this time, WITHOUT stressing the whole color range ;-)”
”… this proves what a bit of snow not only is able to, but really causes! I personally hate snow and the cover shows that too much of everything is never good. Just like Andi, I’m very happy about the new album.”
Our most recent studio effort, »Straight Out Of Hell« entered the official German album charts on a sensational #4.
Keeping this high position for five long weeks and charting several other European Top 10 rankings as well as the US Billboard Top 100, »Straight Out Of Hell« is the most successful HELLOWEEN so far.
Thanks for your support, we hope you´ll like the new record as much as we do!!!
After successfully concluding their world-tour in support of the 2013 output »Straight Out Of Hell«, the party has been concluded upon the festival summer.
Clearly no time to sit back & relax, as the pumpkin heads will heading right for their very own MiSueno Studios, located on the isle of Tenerife to start working on the successor of »Straight Out Of Hell« in October. Joining the band to handle production duties will be long-term companion Charlie Bauerfeind. The new album which is set for a release in May 2015 will be the first since HELLOWEEN have inked a new deal with old label home Nuclear Blast, where they released two albums – »The Dark Ride« (2000) and »Rabbit Don’t Come Easy« (2003), both of which have been re-issued with extended bonus material in 2013.
Last but not least, HELLOWEEN would like to send out a big “Thank You” to all the Helloween Maniacs worldwide with some live impressions of the title track of the charting success »Straight Out Of Hell« turned out to be, landing on a sensational #4, their highest German chart entry to date, holding this position for five long weeks. Additionally they made another five Top ten entries in Europe and also cracked the US Billboard Charts.
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJALA AND ARTO LEHTINEN
The Gamma Ray / Rhapsody of Fire package tour was certainly one of the most anticipated power metal gigs in the spring in Finland. Gamma Ray just released their album EMPIRE OF THE UNDEAD which is their strongest album in ages and Rhapsody of Fire now finally played in Helsinki for the first time since 2001, so it wasn’t surprising that the show in club Tavastia sold out a long time ago. It left in the air the question of whether the bands should have played more than one gig in Finland this time.
Germany’s HELLOWEEN have been one of the most influential and internationally most successful acts of the global Heavy Metal scene and this year the Hamburg-based quintet, founded in 1984, celebrates their 30th anniversary. Their latest studio album »Straight Out Of Hell«, charted at a sensational #4, their highest German chart entry to date, holding this position for five long weeks. Additionally they made anotherfive top ten entries in Europe and also cracked the US Billboard Charts.
Now HELLOWEEN return to their old label home Nuclear Blast, where they released two albums – »The Dark Ride« (2000) and »Rabbit Don’t Come Easy« (2003), both of which have just been re-issued with extended bonus material.
Nuclear Blast are overwhelmed to bring the band back into the fold: “We are more than proud, that HELLOWEEN is part of the Nuclear Blast family again,” Label owner Markus Staiger announces. “All those years we had a friendship-like connection and ways crossed on a regular basis at concerts and festivals. HELLOWEEN to us is a matter of the heart, there’s not only the two records to mention, but an act that influenced me and many of our employees. Together there are big plans and we are looking forward to having another productive and successful cooperation.”
The band itself are equally celebratory. Vocalist Andi Deris: “As a label, Nuclear Blast is “Heavy Metal to the bone”, and we are really looking forward to working together with a lot of familiar faces.”
HELLOWEEN are currently busy working on the successor to »Straight Out Of Hell«, that saw the founders of German Melodic Speed Metals playing a total of 84 shows in 34 different countries. After summer, the band will hit the MiSueno Studio on the isle of Tenerife with producer Charlie Bauerfeind (GOTTHARD, HAMMERFALL etc.) to record a new album set to be released in early 2015.
HELLOWEEN Festival Summer 2014:
2014-05-24 S Metallsvenskan Metallsvenskan
2014-06-27 SLO Piešťany Topfest
2014-06-29 BG Kavarna Kavarna Rock 2014
2014-07-11 D Ballenstedt Rock Harz
2014-07-12 CZ Masters Of Rock Masters Of Rock
2014-07-19 FIN Karjurock Karjurock
Skogsrojet is one of these newer hard rock / metal festivals organized in the promised land of festivals, Sweden. The two day event is held in the outlying village of Rejmyre and the nearest town is Norrkoping about 40 kilometers away. The festival was held for the first time in 2006 and it has been increasing steadily year by year. Last years line-up included Alice Cooper, Doro, Testament and L.A. Guns and now the fans were treated to Twisted Sister, Helloween, Pretty Maids and Lita Ford. As you can see from the list of names, the event organizers rely heavily on traditional hard rock spiced with a few heavier acts. I don’t know if this kind of concept would work anywhere else, but in Sweden, but it works. This year, the festival again gathered thousands of participants who were eager to rock hard!!!
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
Photography by Tess Donohoe
It may be some people’s epitome of hell, Michael Buble fans I’m looking at you, but for the metal/rock community Hellfest’s towering gateway looks positively pearly. This year’s line-up is so jam-packed that I was looking for the little glass jars and labels. You’d make a fortune if you could bottle any number of the diverse scope of bands on the bill, with the riffs left in natch, but I’d like them to play their sets first.
Once inside that gateway the layout is much the same as last year, and that isn’t meant in a well-they-clearly-couldn’t-be-arsed sense, because Hellfest could teach most others a thing or 20 on how to put together a fan-friendly festival. Except when it comes to the number of toilets on site that is.
Whilst the Hellfest tree still dominates in its stark simplicity, the hidden beer gardens have gained a snazzy gateway of their own, which invites you into the woodlands. Instead of a fairytale monster at the end of the path though, you’ll find a winebar, which is win-win really. And at night the scrap-metal merch stands and bars still glow with their own rooftop fires.
Stage-wise we’ve got Main Stage 1 and 2, which continue their staggered times so that as one plays, the other sets up, and vice versa. The result is no waiting around for soundchecks or bands to start, just back-to-back bam-bam-bam metal. A similar set-up is in place at the Altar and the Temple, where you can find black metal, death metal and the like, then there’s the Valley which is home to the stoner and doom types, and the Warzone where the punk and hardcore drops.
Hellish Rock Part II:
HELLOWEEN & GAMMA RAY
Pakkahuone Tampere Finland
The 30th of March 2013
The leading names in German power metal conquered Finland yet again with Hellish Rock Tour Pt II. Hellish Rock Pt II will be crisscrossing the global the whole year, in Europe, Asia, etc. All the three gigs on the Finnish soil were totally packed as over 4000 people had arrived to witness Gamma Ray and Helloween on the stage again. Both the bands truly enjoy a loyal and even a bit of a fanatical following amongst the Finnish metal fans. That could be witnessed at the Tampere show, when the venue was nearly to explode when over 1000 fans had crawled in. Therefore, moving to any side was more or less a “mission impossible” task. The night was definitely full of triumphant power metal as both Gamma Ray and Helloween delivered a fistful of power metal with catchy melodies.
German band Helloween is one of the pioneering forces and most successful bands in the power metal world and its related subgenres. The band was originally formed in 1984 by Michael Weikath, bassist Markus Grosskopf, vocalist/guitarist Kai Hansen and drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg. Their early albums KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS I and KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS II, which featured vocalist Michael Kiske, are considered masterpieces of the genre. The band went through a large number of changes during the late 80’s / early 90’s. Hansen left in 1988, formed his own band Gamma Ray and was then replaced by Roland Grapow. Kiske and Schwichtenberg were out of picture in 1993 and they were then replaced by drummer Uli Kusch and current vocalist Andi Deris (ex-Pink Cream 69). The renewed lineup re-established the bands popularity and the album THE TIME OF OATH (1996) still remains as their best-selling album to date. Despite the continuous success, the band went through another set of changes starting in 2001. Today the band consists of Deris, Weikath, Grosskopf, guitarist Sascha Gerstner and drummer Dani Loble. This line-up has released altogether 4 studio albums and it seems that Helloween is now even more popular than the so-called “heydays” in the mid 80’s. Three sold out shows speaks for itself when the band arrived to Finland in late March as a part of massive “Hellish Rock II” tour which also featured Gamma Ray. In Helsinki we were fortunate to sit down with the bands guitarist/founding member Michael Weikath and discuss about various topics including the current tour, the latest opus STRAIGHT OUT OF HELL, Helloween’s 30’TH Anniversary and re-union rumors… Read on!
Long-running German metallers HELLOWEEN are offering up track-by-track commentary of their entire new album each day for the next 13 days. Straight Out Of Hell, is due for release in North America on January 22nd.
Check out the first track description, ‘Nabataea’, below:
Helloween recently released the official video for the first single from Straight Out Of Hell. The six-minute opus for ‘Nabataea’ develops on several levels, including 3-D animation at motion picture level. The legendary kingdom Nabataea provides the atmospherically dense reference for the strong first release from Helloween’s new album.
Helloween have documented how this future could look like, or rather sound like, on Straight Out Of Hell. It’s a work full of speed and toughness, with optimism and great joy of playing, featuring complex arrangements, strong hooks and plenty of catchy melodies. Or, to let the facts speak for themself: 13 mostly fast-paced songs that turn out to be impressively multi-layered and will completely delight all Helloween fans, due to the different songwriters Andi Deris, founding members Michael Weikath and Markus Grosskopf, and guitarist Sascha Gerstner.
Weikath: “Straight Out Of Hell is the consequent development of the two albums before. 7 Sinners was recorded more or less in the wake of Gambling With The Devil, while the new songs are a continuation of the 7 Sinners directives, only a little less doom bound and noticeably more positive. These songs will kick even the laziest listener’s ass.”
Helloween’s guitarist is referring to tracks such as ‘Make Fire Catch The Fly’, ‘Far From the Stars’, ‘Church Breaks Down’, the title track (written by bass player Markus Grosskopf), and the straightforward ‘Years’ – all of them racing through the terrain at full speed. In addition, there is the complex and passionate ‘Burning Sun’ by Michael Weikath, which Deris refers to short and sweet as “one of Weik’s highspeed masterpieces” (the limited edition will feature a special Hammond version in memory of DEEP PURPLE’s recently deceased organ player JON LORD). ‘World Of War’ by Sascha Gerstner convinces with thrashy guitar riffs, demonstrating Helloween’s impressive virtuosity.
Deris: “What’s so special about this band, is the fact that we were always allowed to do anything we wanted, or – even if we allegedly weren’t – did it anyway. Even the at the time slightly tabooed The Dark Ride initially earned us negative reviews, but ended up with multiple Gold Awards. That’s the kind of freedom you feel on Straight Out Of Hell as well – we didn’t let anybody or anything put pressure on us.”
But Helloween wouldn’t be Helloween if Straight Out Of Hell would not feature the band’s other, slightly more groovy side as well. With ‘Waiting For The Thunder’ Deris has – in his own words – contributed “a rock song reminding of the old PINK CREAM 69 tunes”. Gerstner lets off steam on ‘Asshole’ and complements the album with “Hold Me In Your Arms”, a wonderful ballad, providing the desired antithesis to the otherwise extremely energetic record. Speaking of energy: the determination that has always been an integral part of the Helloween camp was captured perfectly by their producer Charlie Bauerfeind at the band’s own MiSueno studio in Tenerife. Bauerfeind consciously created a raw sound, keeping the edge of Helloween’s new songs and working without computer-controlled devices.
“With a world-class drummer like Dani Löble in the studio you don’t need click tracks or computer support”, Markus Grosskopf praises his drummer. “Thanks to Dani, the whole album breathes pure authenticity, which distinguishes Straight Out Of Hell from lots of other artists’ productions. In addition, the new album sounds more compact and homogeneous than 7 Sinners has, and is one of the fastest releases in Helloween’s history.”
Also, there are significant differences in a number of topics Helloween tackle on Straight Out Of Hell. The best example of the ability to think outside the box of pure metal cliché is their first single release ‘Nabataea’, which Helloween’s singer wrote during a holiday. The song is about the legendary kingdom, located in today’s Middle Eastern region, where the first real democracy existed over 3000 years ago. The secret Nabataean city Petra, hidden behind a cliff scenery and only discovered at the beginning of the 20th century, is the origin of many myths and legends.
Deris: “We took the liberty to tell this exciting culture’s whole story, although the song therefore lasts more than seven minutes. Truth be told, if there had been more to tell, the track would have been even longer.”
Straight Out Of Hell tracklisting:
‘World Of War’
‘Far From The Stars’
‘Waiting For The Thunder’
‘Hold Me In Your Arms’
‘Wanna Be God’
‘Straight Out Of Hell’
‘Make Fire Catch The Fly’
‘Church Breaks Down’
Limited Edition bonus tracks:
‘Another Shot Of Life’
‘Burning Sun’ (Hammond version) – dedicated to Jon Lord
The Hellish Rock Tour in 2007/2008 featured HELLOWEEN and their very special guests GAMMA RAY, which played 95 shows in 34 countries and left ecstatic metal fans in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America in their wake. Hellish Rock Tour Part II has been announced and will start in February 2013 in Europe and go around the globe, once again featuring Gamma Ray.
Dates for Russia and Japan have now been confirmed. They are as follows:
1 – Moscow, Russia – Arena
2 – St Petersburg – Kosmonavt
5 – Tokyo, Japan – ZEPP
6 – Yokohama, Japan – Blitz
7 – Tokyo, Japan – Shibuya AX
9 – Osaka, Japan – IMP Hall
10 – Nagoya, Japan – ZEPP
Previously announced dates for Europe, featuring SHADOWSIDE as support, are as follows:
“Nabataea”, the first single from “Straight Out Of Hell”, the new album from German power metallers HELLOWEEN, can be streamed using the SoundCloud player above. The track talks about the fabled high culture whose secret city, Petra, was only discovered at the beginning of the 20th century, and is the origin of many legends and myths. HELLOWEEN singer Andi Deris was inspired to write the song during a holiday.
“Straight Out Of Hell” will be released in Europe on January 18 and in North America on January 22, 2013. The cover artwork was once again created by Martin Häusler, who previously worked with the band on the “7 Sinners” and “Gambling With The Devil” CDs.
“Straight Out Of Hell” is described in a press release as “a work full of speed and toughness, with optimism and great joy of playing, featuring complex arrangements, strong hooks and plenty of catchy melodies. Or, to let the facts speak for themself: 13 mostly fast-paced songs that turn out to be impressively multi-layered and will completely delight all HELLOWEEN fans, due to the different songwriters Andi Deris, founding members Michael Weikath and Markus Grosskopf, and guitarist Sascha Gerstner.”
Says Weikath: “‘Straight Out Of Hell’ is the consequent development of the two albums before. ‘7 Sinners’ was recorded more or less in the wake of ‘Gambling With The Devil’, while the new songs are a continuation of the ‘7 Sinners’ directives, only a little less doom bound and noticeably more positive. These songs will kick even the laziest listener’s ass.”
“Straight Out Of Hell” track listing:
02. World Of War
03. Live Now!
04. Far From The Stars
05. Burning Sun
06. Waiting For The Thunder
07. Hold Me In Your Arms
08. Wanna Be God
09. Straight Out Of Hell
12. Make Fire Catch The Fly
13. Church Breaks Down
Limited-edition bonus tracks:
14. Another Shot Of Life
15. Burning Sun (Hammond version; dedicated to Jon Lord)
On the live front, meanwhile, HELLOWEEN (fresh from appearing at prestigious Japanese festival Loud Park) will be returning to the road in March 2013 — the first part of a world tour set to kick off in mainland Europe, with GAMMA RAY as special guests. The follow-up to the “Hellish Rock” tour of 2007/2008, this extended outing (“Hellish Rock Part II”) will bring the band to the U.K. on April 16 for a one-off date at the London Forum.
THE FOLLOW-UP to their 2010 ‘7 Sinners’ release, ‘Straight Out Of Hell’ is the latest studio album to be issued beneath the celebrated Helloween banner – a banner first unfurled back in 1985.
Set for release via Spinefarm Records on January 21st 2013, ‘Straight Out Of Hell’ has been produced by CharlieBauerfeind, who also worked on ‘7 Sinners’, and sees the five musicians maintaining a rawer edge throughout, working quickly in the studio (MiSueno Studio in Tenerife) and delivering 13 brand new compositions that, in the words of founding member, guitarist Michael Weikath, will “kick even the laziest listener’s ass!”
Bristling with positive energy, songs such as ‘Make Fire Catch The Fly’, ‘Far From The Stars’ and the title track itself, written by bassist Markus Grosskopf, show that when Helloween push their collective foot to the floor they are never too keen to ease off the gas ; and they take chances, ever willing to use their well-documented virtuosity to break out of the mould..
Says singer AndiDeris: “We’ve always followed our own path when it comes to music… and if someone had ever tried to stop us, well, we’d have done what we wanted, anyway! Some of our moves have attracted negative reactions at first, but in time they’ve gone on to reap success and reward, and that’s the kind of freedom you can feel on this new album – we don’t allow ourselves to be put under pressure…”
With Deris, Weikath, Grosskopf (also a founding member) and guitarist Sascha Gerstner all providing material, ‘Straight…’ is a passionate, multi-layered affair, complete with a limited edition premium package featuring a special Hammond organ run-through of Weikath outing, ‘Burning Sun’ – this version conceived as a tribute to Deep Purple’sJon Lord.
As for first single / video, that’s now confirmed as ‘Nabatea’ – a seven minute-plus composition about the legendary kingdom, located in today’s Middle East, where the first real democracy existed over 3000 years ago. The secret Nabatean city, Petra, only discovered last century, is the backdrop for many myths and legends, and here it provides the ideal subject matter for a set of lyrics far removed from the rock ‘n’ roll norm.
On the live front, meanwhile, Helloween (fresh from appearing at prestigious Japanese Festival, Loud Park) will be returning to the road in March 2013 – the first part of a world tour set to kick off in mainland Europe, with Gamma Ray as special guests. The follow-up to the ‘Hellish Rock Tour’ of 2007 / 2008, this extended outing (‘Hellish Rock Part II’) will bring the band to the UK on April16th for a one-off date at the LondonForum.
Hamburg, Germany-based metal legends HELLOWEEN have announced January 18th, 2013 as the release date for their new album, Straight Out Of Hell.
An update from the band states: “What Charlie Bauerfeind has been producing at the MiSueno Studios throughout the last months is the consequent follow-up for 7 Sinners. Matching the tour motto and even more so the hellish new songs, the upcoming album is called Straight Out Of Hell. It will be released worldwide January 18th and will turn winter 2013 into a pretty hot affair.
At this time, Charlie and the boys are giving the finishing touches to the production. Straight Out Of Hell will also be featuring a limited version with bonus tracks and special packaging… more infos to come!
The ‘remake’ of the Hellish Rock Tour of 2007/2008 is taking shape. The bookers are working at full blast and can already announce the first dates of the upcoming world tour under the colors of Hellish Rock Part II.”
Confirmed Hellish Rock Part II tour dates with GAMMA RAY include:
21 – Bratislava, Slovakia – Sport Hall
22 – Prague, Czech Republic – Tesla Aréna
23 – Zlín, Czech Republic – Hala Euronics
24 – Brezno, Slovakia – Sport Hall
26 – Krakow, Poland – Studio
27 – Warsaw, Poland – Stodola
29 – Helsinki, Finland – The Circus
30 – Tampere, Finland – Pakkahuone
31 – Oulu, Finland – Teatria
2 – Oslo, Norway – Rockefeller
4 – Stockholm, Sweden – Arenan
5 – Karlstad, Sweden – Nöjesfabriken
6 – Gothenburg, Sweden – Lisebergshallen
Who doesn’t remember the crazy “Hellish Rock Tour” in 2007/2008? HELLOWEEN and their Very Special Guests GAMMA RAY played 95 shows in 34 countries and left ecstatic metal fans in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America in their wake! Those who didn’t have the chance to be there, can now breathe in deeply and make the ‘Remake’ twice as unforgettable! The conditions are right: Booking wires are running red-hot for the “Hellish Rock Tour Part II”, which will start in March 2013 in Europe and go around the globe, once again featuring GAMMA RAY. Watch out for the full-on ‘Metal Ax Made in Germany’ and you can start betting on what kind of awesome final Weikath, Deris, Grosskopf & co. together with Hansen have come up with this time!
Michael Weikath: “The atmosphere on stage and backstage was very special last time, we will be repeating the party and are looking forward to the tour already!” … and his former companion Kai Hansen adds: “‘The Hellish Rock Tour’ definitely was a highlight of our band’s history, we’ll absolutely go wild once again!”