Released: 2007, SPV/Steamhammer/Border Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Here is the follow up to Helloween’s latest studio album KEEPR OF THE SEVENTH KEYS – THE LEGACY which didn’t live up to my expectations. The band continues to stay true to their patented formula of German classical power metal; the only changes I noticed are the slower tempo at times and of course the string orchestra that pops up here and there.
The foremost thing I notice is that Deris’ voice sounds strained, which is something I haven’t noticed before. The last time I saw them live I also noticed that he sounded a little tired, but it wasn’t as obvious as it is now.
The album starts with an intro where Biff Byford from Saxon lends his voice. The quality of Helloween’s albums has been very inconsistent throughout the years and their career has had its ups and downs; GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL is an album that falls in between good and bad. It’s OK, but no more and no less. It’s than their last album, which I thought was terrible.
I have to say that I’m not convinced at all by Helloween this time and I know that Weikath and Co. can do much better than this. Some of the tracks are like a big yawn and others are quite good. The better songs include “The Saints”, “As Long As I Fall”, “Paint a New World”, “Final Fortune” and Can Do It”; those are typical Helloween tracks with a lot of turns and twists. Deris is placed high in the mix along with the heavy-hitting drums and edgy guitar playing.
There are too many keyboard and orchestral parts on this album, which makes the genuine Helloween feeling a bit drained. Overall this album is very uneven; GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL is not gonna be a new classic album. I’m a bit disappointed because I thought the band was gonna be back in the game, but I was wrong. The tour started in November in Europe with label mates Gamma Ray and support from Axxis, so look out for tour dates near you.