Released: 2002, Metal-Is Records
I am about to commit metal blasphemy with what I am about to say. I have never cared much for Helloween. There, I said it. Don’t get me wrong, I respect what they have meant to metal. There are scores of bands today that are heavily influenced by the Helloween sound and the band helped define speed metal in the late 80s. But the only material I was really ever hooked on was the early stuff with Kai Hansen on vocals. They’ve released some great individual songs, but no single album really spoke to me … though I will admit that I wore out the two KEEPER albums in high school. So it was with great pleasure that I bought this double CD collection. Especially considering the fact that I burned a “best of” double CD of my own a couple years ago and it included almost every song on this CD.
Highlights abound on this compilation. The best songs from the KEEPER albums are featured, as are those from later releases such as TIME OF THE OATH, BETTER THAN RAW and the newest release, THE DARK RIDE. All of the songs are remastered and several of the 80s songs are remixed, giving them new life and a crystal-clear sound. There is an interesting four page history of the band, a ton of vintage photographs and a Helloween “family tree” graphic, showing the evolution of the band and what former members have gone on to do, inspired by a similar Iron Maiden “family tree” featured in A REALLIVE DEAD ONE. There are a few minor complaints I have about this release. For one, some of the artwork and photography are a little blurry, which comes off making the CD look cheap and rushed. That doesn’t surprise me considering the label that released it. Second, I would have preferred that the Hansen/Kiske era songs show up on one CD and the Andi Deris era songs on the other. They just don’t mix together very well. At any rate, this compilation is a good pickup for those fans who, like me, don’t want to buy several Helloween CDs just to get copies of their best songs. And it gives you a good flavor of what Helloween have offered the metal world over two decades.
Official website: http://www.helloween.org/