Helloween is a German power metal band founded in 1984 in Hamburg by Kai Hansen on vocals and guitar, Michael Weikath on guitar, Markus Grosskopf on bass and Ingo Schwichtenberg on drums. Helloween were one of the pioneering and also most important bands of the 80’s European heavy/speed/power metal scene. Their early albums HELLOWEEN and WALLS OF JERICHO fared comfortably but it wasn’t before band hired a new vocalist, the 18 year old Michael Kiske, and released albums KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS pt.I and KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS pt.II before the band hit the big time and found their worldwide success. Hansen left in 1988 and he was soon replaced by Roland Grapow. The following album PINK BUBBLES GO APE was somewhat disappointing both sales and musical wise and next they tried to break some new grounds with 1993’s CHAMELEON. Instead of taking a heavier approach, the band ventured into completely new territory. They were eschewing its signature double-guitar harmonies for synthesizers, horns, acoustic guitars, country music, grunge and everything in between. Some changes were needed and so Michael Kiske and then seriously troubled drummer Schwichtenberg were let go. In the late 1993 Helloween found itself from a very difficult situation. There was no singer, no drummer, and no record contract (EMI released the band from its agreement because of the disappointing sales numbers of PINK BUBBLES GO APE and CHAMELEON).
Helloween returned in 1994 with a renewed line up which included vocalist Andi Deris (Pink Cream 69) and drummer Uli Kusch. They also had a new record deal with Castle Communications and as a result MASTER OF THE RINGS was released later on that year. The new incarnation of the band proved to be very successful and the following albums TIME OF THE OATH, BETTER THAN RAW and THE DARK RIDE did all great both commercially and critically. But still, more changes followed when Grapow and Kusch were released from their duties in 2002. New guitarist Sascha Gerstner stepped and made his first Helloween album appearance on RABBIT DON’T COME EASY in 2003. After having several drummer candidates in the early 2000’s, it was Motörhead’s Mikkey Dee who played on the RABBIT album, the band finally found a permanent player when former Rawhead Rexx drummer Dani Loble joined in 2005. The current lineup has so far released three studio albums: KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS pt.III – THE LEGACY, GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL, their latest opus SEVEN SINNERS, one live album KEEPER OF THE LEVEN KEYS – THE LEGACY WORLD TOUR 2005-2006 and the Anniversary album UNARMED – THE BEST OF 25’TH ANNIVERSARY. It seems that the band, despite all those changes and troubles in the past, is now enjoying this time of their lives and there’s no end in sight. Helloween started their latest world tour to support SEVEN SINNERS and in November and in the middle December 2010 they came to Finland to play two sold out shows. In Helsinki we had chance to sit down with Mr. Grosskopf and discuss the new tour, past changes, and various other topics… Read more!!
LIVE REVIEW AND PICTURES BY ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJALA
German power metal pioneers Helloween have been a regular visitor in Finland since 1987 when the band made its virgin visit in Hameenlinna’s legendary Giants of Rock festival with Dio among other acts. Since then band has faced many up and down hills in its career. The band has gone through many changes including a number of lineup changes and they have had problems with record companies but they have survived and, in fact, during the past few years Helloween’s success has increased tremendously. In 2008 Helloween played two gigs with their colleagues Gamma Ray on the HELLISH ROCK tour and venues were entirely packed. Obviously, due to the highly successful package tour, Helloween have now asked Finnish power metallers Stratovarius to take part in their tour. Doing this tour, without having the new album released, was quite an interesting choice from Stratovarius. However a package consisting of two leading power metal names on the bill turned out to be another great success and the two Finland shows were quickly sold out again.
As always, the top albums are for releases from 2010 that are full albums (no EP’s or demos). They also have to be new studio albums for 2010, not re-recordings, re-releases, cover songs, or live material. Below the combined TOP 30 are links to each staff members personal "best of" lists which besides the top albums contains such things as best new band, best DVD/Blu-Ray, disappointments of 2010, greatest hopes for 2011, personal metal discovery of 2010, and various other metal-related categories. Enjoy!
The Top 30 Heavy Metal Albums of 2010
(Click the album cover to read our review.
If no review is available the link it to the band’s MySpace page.)
1. Accept – Blood of the Nations
Wolf Hoffman’s reaction to the band’s #1 placement in our list was:
"Sensational!!! We are so happy about this reaction by the fans. This last year has been nothing short of phenomenal for Accept."
BLOOD OF THE NATIONS is a fantastic album, so fantastic that it very easily came out on top when we compiled our best of 2010 list! In the media, producer Andy Sneap said when he worked with the band he made them go back and listen to the 80’s albums, and it worked. Accept have delivered the album they needed to make. Accept reformed with a vocalist who is just as good as Udo Dirkschneider. Vocalist Mark Tornillo rages through the songs with power and charisma, without being a clone. Accept have proven to the world in 2010 they are still relevant, powerful, uncompromising and most of all entertaining. Welcome back!
2. Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time
Easily the best and strongest Blind Guardian album since NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH with a maximum of variety and everything that has turned these guys from Krefeld into what they are today: one of Germany’s most successful and influential metal bands. With AT THE EDGE OF TIME, Blind Guardian returned to the fold in total triumph. This is an album to be enjoyed for numerous repeat listens. Newer fans should eat it up, and older fans should be appeased with the band’s renewed emphasis on their thrashy roots.
3. Ratt– Infestation
Ratt is Metal. Always have been and likely always will be. From their appearance on the very first Metal Massacre compilation in 1981 alongside the likes of Metallica, Malice, and Bitch, to the new 2010 album, Ratt have always been among the heaviest of the so-called "hair metal" bands. So despite what the revisionists may think, Ratt have a firm spot in the development and evolution of the Heavy Metal genre and have earned their spot in this year’s list. Sonically the Ratt Pack is back! The band had stated they wanted a real up-tempo record and distinctly aimed for the classic sound. They nailed it. It’s all there, the swagger and slight sneer of Pearcy voice, the fluid and fiery soloing of DeMartini’s axe-work, the complimentary work of Cavazo…it’s a beautiful thing to behold!
4. Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones
Thomas Gabriel Fischer (AKA Tom G. Warrior) has nothing to prove to anyone. As the principal architect behind Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, Fischer’s body of work is the reason that many bands exist today. Two years since Celtic Frost’s very public dissolution, Fischer could have easily opted to rest on his laurels and bask in the afterglow of his evil legacy, but nooooo. To the contrary, Fischer has assembled a new band and recorded an album of new material that’s arguably some of the best in his career. Triptykon is the band, EPARISTERA DAIMONES is the album, and yes – it’s as good as Fischer has promised it to be!
5. Melechesh - The Epigenesis
Black/Death/Middle Eastern "Mesopotamian Metal" extremists made a big impact this year. Originally from IsraHELL and now based out of the Netherlands, the band has been around in some form since 1993. That Melechesh are able to maintain the album’s early momentum through to the record’s dying moments makes what they have achieved with THE EPIGENESIS that much more remarkable. Unlike so much of what passes for modern-day extremity, every one of this disc’s eleven tracks bristles with its own identity and design. It will demand a lot of attention – this definitely isn’t the record to whip out at your next kegger – but the rewards far outweigh the investment. Absolutely superb in every way.
6. Helloween – 7 Sinners
Helloween are very comfortable right now. They are back on a major label, the line-up has been stable for probably the longest stretch in the bands history, and they have fallen into a great pattern of releasing a studio album every couple of years (right around Halloween naturally). Relaxed, confident and mature the band have nothing to prove but instead of delivering a complacent record, the band have delivered the fastest, heaviest album of their career. It’s their 26th release over and 13th full-length studio album of all-new, original material. Lucky #13 for the band sees a crowning achievement with 13 killer cuts spread across the hour. Helloween have delivered a masterpiece. It will quickly silence all the fans who couldn’t stomach UNARMED from earlier this year.
7. OverKill – Ironbound
The veteran New Jersey boys return with a compelling slab of unmistakeably old school thrash that is tinged with a fine mix of groove, progressiveness and melody that separates Overkill from the multitudes of carbon-copy thrashers out there. This is modern thrash the way it should be played: roots in the 80s but with its direction and ambition befitting a metal scene on the cusp of its 30-year anniversary. It’s a beautiful thing to behold: while most of their contemporaries have split up or sold out, Overkill are still doing their thing, updating and improving but never forgetting where they came from.
8. Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy
Five years – that’s how long Nevermore made us wait for a sequel to the still awe-inspiring THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOUR. By modern-day standards that’s an absolute eternity, the length of which only the likes of Slayer or Metallica could reasonably be expected to get away with. Regardless of delay, the album is a perfect example of heavy metal in its purest, most intelligent and provocative form. As always the band defies classification with elements of power, thrash, prog, blended together into a mixture that is uniquely Nevermore.
9. Sabaton – Coat of Arms
Sweden’s war metallers, Sabaton, have been consistently moving to the forefront of the power metal movement in the last few years. COAT OF ARMS continues Sabaton’s fine tradition of power metal with bite. The band is in fine form throughout and do not disappoint. You listen to a Sabaton album for the pounding marches (“Uprising”) the fast assaults (“Midway”, “Screaming Eagles”), and the catchy hooks and choruses (every damn song!) and COAT OF ARMS has it all!
10. Halford – IV – Made of Metal
Finally! Halford was really overdue. Despite having a skeleton of a catalog, Halford really needed to put some meat on the bones of his solo career. MADE OF METAL is really only the third studio album of all new material in over 10 years. Sure the catalog looks impressive but in reality, live albums, demo albums, EP’s, digital only live albums and novelty Christmas albums are just filler. Halford needed to deliver the goods and we’re pleased to say he is still made of Metal. The album clocks in at a whopping 14 tracks at over an hour it is his longest solo album to date.
Number 11 to 20
11. Crazy Lixx – New Religion
12. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
13. Scorpions – Sting In The Tail
14. Immolation – Majesty and Decay
15. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony / Angel Of Babylon
“Thanks, Europe: the first part of the world tour was simply sensational.
After the amazing kick-off in Vienna, gigs in London (UK), Eindhoven (NL) and Oslo (NO), sold out shows in Zlin (CZ), Tallinn (EST), Tampere (FIN) and Helsinki (FIN), the expectations were even exceeded by the 2010 tour finale in Prague.
Last Sunday, more than 4,500 Czech fans partied without mercy and went sheer berserk in front of the stage!
Prague definitely is Metal – let’s see if this can be topped in 2011… At any rate, overjoyed Helloween are going on their short break, just to challenge the French sinners on January 11th at the sold out Elysee Montmartre in Paris. Part 2 of the European tour can begin!
You can find a personal holiday salute from Weiki, Andi, Dani, Sascha and Markus below.
Party hard and get ready for a pretty sinful 2011!”
On January 11th, Sanctuary Records/Universal Music in Canada is releasing the Deluxe Edition of HELLOWEEN’s legendary Keeper Of The Seven Keys Parts 1 & 2. The album was released in October in the UK. With the arrival of the Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I album in 1987, Helloween was catapulted to the forefront of the hard metal scene. The following year’s Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II reinforced Helloween’s Metal credentials and set the band up for a career that is now within its 27th year. Both Keepers albums are massively influential throughout the heavy metal world and remain among the greatest albums of their era. The Deluxe Edition includes both original albums and nine bonus tracks.
Disc One (Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I):
‘A Little Time’
‘Twilight Of The Gods’
‘A Tale That Wasn’t Right’
‘Follow The Sign’
‘Victim Of Fate’ (Single B-Side)
‘A Little Time’ (Alternative Version)
‘Halloween’ (Video Edit)
‘Savage’ (Single B-Side)
‘Livin’ Ain’t No Crime’ (Single B-Side)
‘Disc Two (Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II):
‘Eagle Fly Free’
‘You Always Walk Alone’
‘Rise And Fall’
‘We Got The Right’
‘March Of Time’
‘I Want Out’
‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys’
‘Don’t Run For Cover’ (Single B-Side)
‘Dr. Stein’ (Remix)
‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys’ (Remix)
MSN / ROCK METAL TV has released a report/interview with German band HELLOWEEN. Before their Spanish tour in January, Andi Deris, singer, and Sascha Gertsner, guitarist, talk about the new album “7 Sinners”, among other interesting things.
Enter The Pumpkin Carving Photo Contest To Win A 7 Sinners Prizepack
“Are You Metal?” Helloween already asked you that a couple weeks ago when they premiered the video for the song with the same name on Myspace. Now they are testing your Metal knowledge. Are you up for the challenge? If you think you have what it takes, check out The Ultimate Metal Quiz.
For those of you with more of the artistic sense, Helloween has a contest for you too. Head on over to the Metal Club Facebook page and join the Pumpkin Carving Contest. Grand Prize is a prizepack that includes a 7 Sinners jacket, autographed poster and a copy of the new album. Your photo needs to be sent in by November 5th, so get your pumpkin and start carving!
Helloween are set to release their 13th studio album, 7 Sinners, on November 9, 2010 in North America via The End Records. 7 Sinners is definitively one of the fastest and hardest albums in the Helloween’s history and it bursts with vitality. That might partly be due to the versatility of the various songwriters within the band, who over time have become so homogenous, that the 13 songs formed a unity on their own in the studio , but it may also be due to the fact that the album was recorded completely without a click track, which, considering the extreme speed of the songs is an impressive feat. Especially drummer Löble, who proves that his technique is at a world-class-level. Following his excellent inner clock, bass and drums drive tracks like “Are You Metal?”, “Long Live The King” and “Who Is Mr. Madman?” to dizzying tempos. 7 Sinners with its typically strong melodies and the tangible joy of playing, is a true metal album whose range reaches astonishing dimensions.
German heavy metal legends, Helloween are set to release their 13th studio album, 7 Sinners, on November 9, 2010 in North America via The End Records. This week Helloween premiered the video for the first single, “Are You Metal?” off the new album. Watch the video here, and then ask yourself, Are You Metal?
If there is a golden thread throughout the more than 25 years of Helloween’s history, 13 studio albums, countless headliner tours around the globe and more than 5 million records sold, then it is their special kind of attitude: don’t take yourself too seriously and simply live statements like: “just have fun with the shit you’re doing.” Maybe it is exactly this easiness that allows Helloween to be one of the most constant bands of the genre while simultaneously being the one band who dares to experiment more than their musical peers. While some copycats would rather stick with the same old patterns, Andi Deris, Michael Weikath, Sascha Gerstner, Markus Großkopf and Dani Löble aren’t afraid of taking risks – and are rightfully rewarded with success.
7 Sinners is definitively one of the fastest and hardest albums in the Helloween’s history and it bursts with vitality. That might partly be due to the versatility of the various songwriters within the band, who over time have become so homogenous, that the 13 songs formed a unity on their own in the studio , but it may also be due to the fact that the album was recorded completely without a click track, which, considering the extreme speed of the songs is an impressive feat. Especially drummer Löble, who proves that his technique is at a world-class-level. Following his excellent inner clock, bass and drums drive tracks like “Are You Metal?”, “Long Live The King” and “Who Is Mr. Madman?” to dizzying tempos. 7 Sinners with its typically strong melodies and the tangible joy of playing, is a true metal album whose range reaches astonishing dimensions.
“7 Sinners” is definitely in sight now and news tickers about HELLOWEEN, the new album, and the first single “Are You Metal?” are running hot. Therefore, here’s the newest info and announcements for the weekend – so you won’t miss anything:
Video premiere “Are You Metal?” – reloaded.
We were almost ahead of ourselves: the German clip premiere will be on Monday, October 11th at MySpace – right here: http://www.myspace.com/music/videos – and not, as announced earlier, on October 8th. Fans worldwide can check out the video simultaneously at www.helloween.org, of course. Let the servers work overtime; this film keeps the title’s promise!
Trick or Treat? – HELLOWEEN in Berlin.
You have to prove first if you are Metal. And the best occasion for that is the Halloween-Party at the Hard Rock Café, Berlin at October 30th 2010. Because the guys from HELLOWEEN want to celebrate the “7 Sinners” release in Berlin and more importantly together with you. Trust us: it’s going to be a real ‘hard’ night and maybe there’ll also be a ‘live-ly’ surprise… – more info soon in this newsletter.
Exclusive tickets – not Metal, but ‘hard’.
The aficionados and collectors amongst you will be excited: for the upcoming German tour there will be a number of limited original tickets for every town in “7 Sinners”-design. You can secure yourself those precious items at http://tickets.helloween.org/ at absolutely fair shipping costs (1,50 Euro per ticket, max. 4,50 Euro per order).
Doesn’t all have to be digital nowadays…
…also not pixilated, but LIVE and kicking for sure:
HELLOWEEN – tour dates worldwide. (More dates to follow until the end of 2011)
26.11.2010 Szene – Vienna, AUSTRIA
27.11.2010 ?Winter Masters of Rock’ – Zlin, CZECH REPUBLIC
28.11.2010 Petöfi Hall – Budapest, HUNGARY
01.12.2010 Neue Stadthalle – Langen, GERMANY
02.12.2010 Hof Ter Lo – Antwerp, BELGIUM
04.12.2010 Hardrock Hell Festival – Prestatyn, UNITED KINGDOM
05.12.2010 The HMV Forum – London, UNITED KINGDOM
06.12.2010 Effenaar – Eindhoven, NETHERLANDS
08.12.2010 Mejeriet – Lund, SWEDEN
09.12.2010 Rockefeller – Oslo, NORWAY
10.12.2010 Lisebergshallen – Gothenburg, SWEDEN
11.12.2010 Arenan – Stockholm, SWEDEN
13.12.2010 Rock Cafe - Tallin, ESTONIA
14.12.2010 Pakkahuone – Tampere, FINLAND
15.12.2010 House Of Culture – Helsinki, FINLAND
17.12.2010 Stodola – Stodola, POLAND
18.12.2010 Studio – Cracow, POLAND
19.12.2010 Mala Sportovni Hala – Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC
02.01.2011 Brückenforum – Bonn, GERMANY
11.01.2011 Elysee Montmatre – Paris, FRANCE
12.01.2011 Le Transbordeur – Lyon, FRANCE
14.01.2011 Rockstar Live – Bilbao, SPAIN
16.01.2011 Razzmatazz I – Barcelona, SPAIN
18.01.2011 Alcatraz – Milan, Lombardy, ITALY
19.01.2011 Atlantico Live – Roma, Lazio, ITALY
21.01.2011 Fuzz Live Music Club – Athens, GREECE
22.01.2011 Principal Club Theatre – Thessaloniki, GREECE
23.01.2011 Hristo Botev Hall – Sofia, BULGARIA
24.01.2011 Hristo Botev Hall – Sofia, BULGARIA
26.01.2011 Boogaloo Club – Zagreb, CROATIA
27.01.2011 Kino Siska Club – Ljubljana, SLOVENIA
28.01.2011 Sports Hall – Hlohovec, SLOVAKIA
29.11.2011 Sports Hall – Presov, SLOVAKIA
31.01.2011 Z7 – Pratteln, SWITZERLAND
01.02.2011 Garage – Saarbrücken, GERMANY
04.02.2011 Capitol – Hannover, GERMANY
05.02.2011 Turbinenhalle – Oberhausen, GERMANY
06.02.2011 Halle Gartlage - Osnabrück, GERMANY
09.02.2011 Docks - Hamburg, GERMANY
10.02.2011 Jako Arena – Bamberg, GERMANY
11.02.2011 All-Kart-Halle – Kaufbeuren, GERMANY
12.02.2011 Volksbankmesse – Balingen, GERMANY
The classic german metal band Helloween have issued an update regarding their upcoming studio album and following tour:
“As many of you thought while reading the last news, the band named it´s new studio effort: 7 Sinners. It is not 100% clear who the remaining two sinners are, be sure that you´ll find out the day of the release!
At the moment, the guys are busy laying down the last tracks for the album, before long time producer Charlie Bauerfeind goes on with the mix. The guys are very enthusiastic about their “new baby”, stating there is a great Helloween album to come!”
Along with the album title, here’s an updated list of European tour dates, with support of Stratovarius.
The 7 Sinners World Tour 2010/11 – Europe Part I and II – feat. Helloween and special guest Stratovarius:
26. Nov 2010 – A – Wien, Szene
27. Nov 2010 – CZ – Zlin, Winter MOR
28. Nov 2010 – HU – Budapest, Petöfi Hall
01. Dec 2010 – D – Langen, Neue Stadthalle
02. Dec 2010 – B – Antwerp, Hof Ter Lo
04. Dec 2010 – UK – Prestatyn, Hardrock Hell Festival
05. Dec 2010 – UK – London, The HMV Forum
06. Dec 2010 – NL – Eindhoven, Effenaar
08. Dec 2010 – SWE – Lund, Mejeriet
09. Dec 2010 – NOR – Oslo, Rockefeller
10. Dec 2010 – SWE – Gothenburg, Lisebergshallen
11. Dec 2010 – SWE – Stockholm, Arenan
13. Dec 2010 – EST – Tallinn, Rock Cafe
14. Dec 2010 – FIN – Tampere, Pakkahuone
15. Dec 2010 – FIN – Helsinki, House Of Culture
17. Dec 2010 – PL – Warsaw, Stodola
18. Dec 2010 – PL – Cracov, Studio
19. Dec 2010 – CZ – Prague, Mala Sportovni Hala
11. Jan 2011 – F – Paris, Elysee Montmatre
12. Jan 2011 – F – Lyon, Le Transbordeur
14. Jan 2011 – ES – Madrid, La Riviera
15. Jan 2011 – ES – Bilbao, Rockstar Live
16. Jan 2011 – ES – Barcelona, Razzmatazz I
18. Jan 2011 – I – Milan, Alcatraz
19. Jan 2011 – I – Rome, Altantico
21. Jan 2011 – GR – Athen, Fuzz Live Music Club
22. Jan 2011 – GR – Thessaloniki, Principal Club Theatre
23. Jan 2011 – BG – Sofia, Hristo Botev Hall
24. Jan 2011 – BG – Sofia, Hristo Botev Hall
26. Jan 2011 – HR – Zagreb, Boogaloo Club
27. Jan 2011 – SLO – Ljubljana, Kino Siska Club
28. Jan 2011 – SK – Hlohovec, Sports Hall
29. Jan 2011 – SK – Presov, Sports Hall
31. Jan 2011 – CH – Pratteln, Z7
01. Feb 2011 – D – Saarbrücken, Garage
02. Feb 2011 – D – Bonn, Brückenforum
04. Feb 2011 – D Hannover, Capitol
05. Feb 2011 – D Oberhausen, Turbinenhalle
06. Feb 2011 – D Osnabrück, Halle Gartlage
09. Feb 2011 – D Hamburg, Docks
10. Feb 2011 – D Bamberg, Jako Arena
11. Feb 2011 – D Kaufbeuren, All-Kart-Halle
12. Feb 2011 – D Balingen Volksbankmesse
After their extremely successful Hellish Rock world tour 2007/08, leading HELLOWEEN through 40 countries on 4 continents, the German heavy metal legend soon will be touring the world again! Three weeks after the release of the new, yet untitled and highly anticipated studio album around Halloween (end of October) 2010, the band will hit the road again and start the tour in Europe.
While rumors promise the album to be the band’s heaviest and fastest effort in years, Helloween can announce nobody less than the Finland-based heavy metal supergroup STRATOVARIUS for the slot of the very special guest!
Says singer Andi Deris: “We had a great package with GAMMA RAY last time, and we are very proud to have Stratovarius with us this time. We look forward to have another power metal party with our fans all over the planet – see you soon!”
The 7 Sinners World Tour 2010/11 European Part I
26 – Wien, Austria – Szene
27 – Zlin, Czech Republic – Winter Masters of Rock
28 – Budapest, Hungary – Petöfi Hall
1 – Langen, Germany – Neue Stadthalle
2 – Antwerp, Belgium – Hof Ter Lo
4 – Prestatyn, UK – Hardrock Hell Festival
5 – London, UK – The HMV Forum
6 – Eindhoven, Netherlands – Effenaar
8 – Lund, Sweden – Mejeriet
9 – Oslo, Norway – Rockefeller
10 – Gothenburg, Sweden – Lisebergshallen
11 – Stockholm, Sweden – Arenan
13 – Tallinn, Estonia – Rock Cafe
14 – Tampere, Finland – Pakkahuone
15 – Helsinki, Finland – House Of Culture
17 – Warsaw, Poland – Stodola
18 – Cracow, Poland – Studio
19 – Prague, Czech Republic – Mala Sportovni Hala
(Ed. note: We hope this tour comes to all of North America as well!)
One of the greatest voices in metal, Michael Kiske, is finally back in business. Best known as a former Helloween singer from the band’s golden era, the KEEPER OF THE KEYS, is now returning with his brand new band UNISONIC. Although it’s been seventeen years since Michael last performed onstage his name is still well known in today’s metal/rock world. Even though he has not performed Kiske has kept himself busy over the last 17 years. He has released four solo albums and been involved with several different projects including: Tobias Sammat’s Avantasia –albums, Revolution Reneissance with Timo Tolkki, Supared and recently he’s been working with the Place Vendome –project which in a way was in a key role for Michael’s decision to return. The Place Vendome line up also include current Unisonic members: bassist Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) and drummer Kosta Zafiriou (Pink Cream 69). The Unisonic line-up is completed with former Krokus and Asia guitarist Mandy Mayer. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Michael at the Swedenrock festival and here is what Michael had to say about his current activities, solo career, Helloween days, Iron Maiden and various other topics…. ENJOY !!
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS AND PICTURES BY PATRICK CLEMENT
After 17 years, former HELLOWEEN singer Michael Kiske has returned to the stage with UNISONIC – the band also featuring Dennis Ward (bass) and Kosta Zafiriou (drums) of Germany’s PINK CREAM 69 and Swiss guitarist Mandy Meyer (ASIA, GOTTHARD, KROKUS) – performing select dates throughout Europe and Russia.
Kiske checks in from the road:
“Having done my first live shows after almost 17 years I’d like to say that I was really thrilled about still having many friends out there after such a long time. Some people even came from Russia just for our freaking warm up shows, another guy came from Turkey! That’s unbelievable. I am deeply honoured and moved by this and don’t take any of it for granted. My voice was not half way where I want it to be in terms of condition for live situations, this always needs some time, especially after so many years, but on most songs I did well and the audience was great. It was very important for me to do this and to have new face to face contact with you people again after isolating myself for a long time. In Sweden it was extremely cool to see how welcome Unisonic was and how many autographs we had to give afterwards. And it was not only Keeper or Place Vendome CDs I had to sign; every second CD seemed to be one of my solo CDs. I didn’t expect that.
I have been quite harsh on the metal-scene over some time and was pretty pissed about it, because I can’t deal with certain things in it, and that might have made me be a bit unfair occasionally, but that wasn’t for very long. And meeting many of you fans now again has helped me to adjust even more now. I don’t hate all metal, I just hate morally wrong ideologies which are circulating within the metal-scene and I don’t accept any sort of art-slavery. But I still like rock music, yes, even some of my favourite metal-records of my youth, because most of them are simply great rock records. In many ways the music wasn’t really the problem. My problem was, is and will always be the satanic sickness that is so common in the scene. I have NO understanding for inhumanity and heartlessness glorifying people and fascistic mentalities. I believe in good-hearted humans, love and understanding, and that free and honest music is the only law for a healthy and true music-culture. What I have criticized about the metal-scene was and is very just, but to each its own of course. I will always speak my mind. My spiritual, moral and artistic convictions haven’t changed a bit, but I am a lot more relaxed now and if I went too far sometimes in the past, I am sorry, I don’t want to be unfair at all. Not all metal fans are ignorant or Satanists, I never really thought that anyway. I have actually met only cool, good-hearted and intelligent metal and rock-fans on this very short ‘tour’. Some even seem to understand my way of thinking, when we talked. They were much more open minded and friendly than I thought, and if that would be representative for the majority, I’d be very happy. I wanted to get these words out to you guys while all is still fresh.”
For an introduction to what Bloodstock Open Air is all about, check out my preview of it here. Suffice it to say that BOA is the only proper UK outdoor metal festival that is devoted to true metal of all genres. This would be the first time I was making the trip up to the Midlands to cover this amazing festival.
Reaching there late Thursday night, we set up camp and went off to explore. BOA has one of the most random things I’d expect at a metal festival: a shisha tent! Armed with a 1.5 litre bottle of JD and two bongs of shisha, we spent the night there meeting weird and crazy people (Frida from Sweden, if you’re reading this, get in touch!). After a disgusting fry-up at the All-Day Breakfast bar, I went off to bed to catch some shut-eye before Friday’s bands. Good start to BOA!