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Helloween
Rabbit Don`t Come Easy
May 2003
Released: 2003, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: EvilG

In reference to a hard to do magic trick (pulling a rabbit from a tophat), Helloween entitled their album RABBIT DON’T COME EASY. With a humorous album title like that you might guess that the fun-loving side of Helloween are back. If you did assume that, you’d be right. The previous album, THE DARK RIDE, was an experiment for the band and they had every intention of returning to the tried and true Helloween sound (well unless THE DARK RIDE would of sold like 80 million CD’s! ha!).



Since the last time we heard from the weenies there have been some personnel changes. As you all know, Roland Grapow (guitars) and Uli Kusch (drums) were not too happy with the musical direction of Helloween. Some have said that THE DARK RIDE was more in lines with what they wanted. It’s all kinda strange considering the lighter and non-dark (but still cool) sounding Masterplan band they put together after leaving Helloween. Helloween ended up recruiting Sasha Gerstner, an ex-member of Freedom Call, for the vacated second guitarist position. The drummer position proved to be tougher. At first Mark Cross (Metallium) was announced as the new drummer. The band was writing and had begun recording when Mark was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus (chronic fatigue syndrome). The band then asked Mikkey Dee (Motörhead, ex-King Diamond) to complete the recording. His drumming is every bit as good as the type of stuff he did with King Diamond since Helloween have more in commen with that band than Motörhead. Mikkey was never a member of Helloween, so the band found their new permanent drummer, Stefan Schwarzmann, who many know U.D.O., Accept and Running Wild.



Charlie Bauerfeind did a great job producing RABBIT DON’T COME EASY at Andi’s studio in Tenerife, Canary Islands. The CD opens with track “Just A Little Sign” which is one of my favorites and is one of the four songs credited to Andi. This one is complete with tongue in cheek lyrics like “Something’s growing in my pants as she looked me in the eyes” you know that this is no DARK RIDE. The song’s tempo is speed metal and makes for a great opener. The guitar solo in this one is done in harmony without backing rhythms and sounds awesome. New guitarist Sascha Gerstner wrote the second track, “Open Your Life”. It sounds very much like a Helloween tune so anyone worried that the Helloween sound might be changed by a new writing member can rest easy. Up next is “The Tune”, a Weikath tune, in which Andi does what I think is some of his best singing on the album. Often Andi likes to sing very gritty with a rougher voice. On this one he proves he can sing totally clean. “Never Be A Star”, or “Perfect Gentleman Part II” as I call it is next. It’s an OK tune, but not one of the ones that stand out for me. Bassist, Markus Grosskopf’s song writing talents are thankfully also on the album with a pair of great songs. One of them, “Liar”, is actually my current favorite on here. This one is the heaviest on the album with amazing drumming, riffs, solos, and Andi’s vocals and vocal melodies on this are incredible! The other Grosskopf tune is “Hell Was Made In Heaven” which is also fairly heavy on Helloween standards and has a great chorus. The album’s closing track is the lengthy “Nothing To Say” (another track by Weikath). It is one of the more non-standard tracks with several parts and even a VERY short reggae section. Some people have lost their minds over that short reggae section – if it were a full song or a couple minutes long I would be able to understand the criticism. However, it’s jammed in there for like 10 seconds….big deal. It shows that the band does have humor to throw in a short piece like that.



Rabbits might not come easy, but Helloween fans will after hearing this!
Track Listing

1. Just a Little Sign
2. Open Your Life
3. The Tune
4. Never Be a Star
5. Liar
6. Sun For The World
7. Don't Stop Being Crazy
8. Do You Feel Good
9. Hell Was Made in Heaven
10. Back Against The Wall
11. Listen To The Flies
12. Nothing To Say

Lineup

Sascha Gerstner (Guitars)
Markus Grosskopf (Bass)
Andi Deris (Vocals)
Michael Weikath (Guitars)
Stefan Schwarzmann (Drums)

Mikkey Dee plays most of the drums with the exception of the songs "Don't Stop Being Crazy" and "Listen to The Flies" played by Mark Cross.


Next review: » Helloween - Rabbit Don`t Come Easy
Previous review: » Helloween - Pumpkin Box

Helloween
Rabbit Don`t Come Easy
July 2003
Released: 2003, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

This review will be short and sweet and in a sense more of a quick opinion piece that a critical, in-depth analysis. Since it is such a monumental event in the metal community when these pumpkins release a disc, RABBIT has already been reviewed, dissected and analyzed to death. So basically is my two cents.



A brilliant return to form!! After the disappointing Dark Ride, the band regroup, return and do what they do best. There has been a large amount of discussion about the membership changes, the conflicts, and so on but that has been effectively silenced. While I was quite pleased with Masterplan’s initial offering, RABBIT blows it away.



Every element of classic Helloween is in place, pummeling double kick drums, soaring vocals, riffs aplenty, hooky harmonious songs, giant sing-along choruses, basically every element that made Helloween who they are today. They have fully re-embraced who they are and come out with a storming album.



Some people may not get the quirky sense of humour that the band possesses in terms of lyrics, titles, presentation but I get it and I like it. Some fans are living in the past and still pining for the return of Kiske. Well, it ain’t gonna happen and Deris, approaching 10+ years in the band, is THE voice of Helloween. I find his voice to be more dynamic and expressive even if he can’t hit and hold those crystal clear high notes.



In conclusion, another triumph from the innovators that are rightfully credited with being instrumental in pioneering a genre that in my mind has all the characteristic for flawless heavy metal. One of my favorite bands of all time did not disappoint and the four-year wait, (after what most fans considered a failed experiment with The Dark Ride) was worth it.
Track Listing

1. Just A Little Sign
2. Open Your Life
3. The Tune
4. Never Be A Star
5. Liar
6. Sun 4 The World
7. Don't Stop Being Crazy
8. Do You Feel Good
9. Hell Was Made In Heaven
10. Back Against The Wall
11. Listen To The Flies
12. Nothing To Say

Lineup

Andi Deris-Vocals
Michael Weikath-Guitar
Sascha Gerstner-Guitar
Markus Grosskopf-Bass
Mickey Dee-Drums (guest)

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Helloween - Straight Out Of Hell
Previous review: » Helloween - Pumpkin Box





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