Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy - Reviews (2024)

To get to the point: If a band releases an album on which the title refers to earlier works on thing happens, fans and reviewers go look for one thing: recognition. And this is exactly where “Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy” fails horribly. If they would have called it “Part III” it would have been even more painful.

So we can discuss the meaning of the word “Legacy”. Obviously since the departure of Hansen and Kiske the band has lost loads of fans (and won others) and old fans tend to compare everything they do these days with the best works from the eighties. From this point of view “legacy” is an adequate title since it is something Helloween has been battling against for all these years. So maybe the title of this album is a big middle finger by the band, especially Weikath’s, toward these everlasting expectations the band has been suffering from all these years?

Back to the essence of recognition. The eighties Keeper albums were a result of three individuals writing songs and the typical sound of five individuals playing together. On this album only one of those three songwriters is present and in total only two members from that line-up are in playing in the band right now. One can imagine the album obviously sounds very different and twothirds of that typical Keeper-songwriting is missing. How could we have expected otherwise really! So we can look at this album in two ways: forget the title and listen to another Deris-era album or treat it as a new Keeper album. Let’s go.

1- Compared to the previous two Keeper albums.
To make it simple: a vocalist is very important to the sound. So the fact that Kiske does not sing here is unforgivable if the new vocalist doesn’t sound anything like him. It would be like Iron Maiden releasing “Number Of The Beast part II” with Blaze Baley or Anthrax releasing “Among The Living Part II” with John Bush. Stupidity! This has nothing to do with the quality of the ‘new’ vocalist but the importance of lead vocals to the overall sound.

Secondly we are missing a certain kind of songwriting here for the balance on the album. There is no “We Got The Right” here. An epic powerballad written by Kiske. Also dearly missing are straight to the point speed/power metal songs like “Twilight Of The Gods” or “March Of Time” filled with strong falsetto vocals, mind blowing leads and briliant harmonies. But “Born On Judgement Day” comes close fortunately. Yes, Kiske and Hansen are really missing. Secondly Weikath failed to write a song this time that even comes close to “Eagle Fly Free”. However there is some stuff here that slightly reminds us of “Dr Stein” and “Rise & Fall”.

This album sounds as much as the earlier Keeper album as what an Iron Maiden album would sound like when only Smith and Dickinson wrote the songs. Even though they are able to write excellent material, we would obviously be missing something. So you see certain kinds of songs are simply missing, giving this album as a whole a totally different feeling. And the lead vocals are so entirely different, it really sounds like a different band.

Kiske without Helloween has never been really successful but I strongly agree with him when he said in an interview “Of course I find it curious that they would release such a thing. The original 'Keepers' were made not by a bandname but by five individuals”. And this is exactly what I’ve been pointing out here. Too many key-elements are missing. Ohw, the artwork is hideous by the way. Just as bad as “The X-factor” and “Dance Of Death” were compared to “Powerslave”. Digital garbage!

Did someone say “If you want Keeper of the Seven Keys part III, try Scanner's Terminal Earth”. No f*cking way! Forget that useless tip. Even back in those days Scanner were a third rate rip off. The fact that that band sounds a lot better than most power metal bands in the 21st century is saying more about new power metal bands than Scanner. There is no Keeper-III. Even Gamma Ray’s “Land Of The Free” had so many differences it could not be compared. There simply is no Keeper-III.

Verdict for a new Keeper album: 7 songs that have some similarities with the ‘Keeper feeling’: 53 points

2- Compared to Deris-era albums.
For Deris-era this album is pretty epic. By which I mean the average song is lenghtier and there are indeed more epic songs here than usual. Still there are too many ideas leaning towards hardrockish tunes. The more epic approach is of course is a good thing since that makes Helloween sound more like a power metal band than hardrock group. However there are many songs here that drag on. Whereas the band could write some efficient songs on earlier albums like “Time Of The Oath” and “Rabbit Don’t Come Easy” they now seem to have lost that quality on a lot of songs here.

There are but a few real speed metal songs here but most of them are lengthy. Where are short efficient monsters like “Just A Little Sign” or “We Burn”? Well, we do have “Born On Judgement Day” which is over all fast and catchy but the verses have some weaknesses in terms of catchiness or logic. As a whole a strong song though with probably the best chorus on the album.

Second excellent tune on the first disc is closer “Silent Rain” which is power metal at its best as well as an ingenious composition. The highlight however is “The King for a 1000 Years” which truly can be considered a marvellous piece of work. ‘Everything Helloween’ is to be found within this long 13 minute epic. The single “Mrs God” is the only song which is short and catchy. It’s where Deris-era meets “Dr Stein” and the embodiment of Helloween throughout the years.

The other two songs however on the first disc are failing. If you compare “The Invisible Man” to the earlier mentioned Judgement Day and King For A 1000 Years, it is almost equally varied but truly lacks direction and character nor does it have a strong chorus. “Pleasure Drone” is even worse.

Verdict on disc 1:
3 great tracks, 1 very good track, 2 bad ones: 70 points

The second disc is even more inconsistent. It starts off with one of the worst songs, “Occasion Avenue”. Now this song has a very strong epic part (the “Domini, domini - Occasion Avenue, Domini Sancti”section) but unlike “King for a 1000 Years” on disc 1 it has a lot of generic groovy poprock riffs throughout the song which sound more like Alice in Chains than Helloween, weakening it more and more with each listen. The intro is just goddamn annoying and the idea blatantly stolen from Kiss on Detroit Rock City. Also the title is a more than tolerable hint to Iron Maiden. The title also sounds like a Harry Potter name. So what a waste of a few very good ideas really!

How about the ballad “Light the Universe”? This is a matter of taste actually. Those female vocals are pretty obsolete but I find this to be one of the best Helloween ballads in the Deris-era. The song is strong, especially the chorus.

To be honest there are only two truly magnificent Helloween songs on CD two. “Shade in the Shadow” is simply marvellous. A short but very dynamic powermetal tune with some soft verses and a raging chorus. This is the real stuff! Amost the same quality statement can be made about “My Life For One More Day” which is somewhat longer and slightly more epic. Both these songs are what any Helloween fan craves.

“Get It Up” is a happy song with some nice vocal lines but at times one would like to hear some real riffs instead of chords all over. Decent song though. When the intro of “Do You Know What You're Fighting For” starts, it sounds just like Mercyful Fate / King Diamond and is promising. When the vocals and verses come in, the song however turns into hair metal with a very horrible chorus. “Come Alive” is slightly better and plain metal (the main intro riff is pure 1992 Megadeth!) with a nice chorus. But the song as a whole is really second rate.

Verdict on disc 2:
2 magnificent songs, 1 very good, 1 decent, 3 bad : 60 points

Verdict on a Deris era-album, disc 1 and 2: 65 points

In conclusion. An earlier reviewer said “if you can’t get into this album you probably don’t care for Deris-era Helloween anyway.” And this of course is far from the truth and too easy to state. As you can tell from my review I’ve tried to listen to this from more than one perspective and in the end The Legacy just doesn’t deliver as a whole. We’ve got a few excellent Deris-era tracks here but also plenty of bad ones. Another reviewer came up with a far better description: “Master Of The Rings Part 2”. Now this is more like it. The album in the end leaves us with exactly that feeling! It is a very inconsisent album. They just shouldn’t have picked this specific title for this. That was simply stupid.

Total verdict:
53 + 65 / 2 = 59 points

Standout tracks are: “King For a Thousand Years”, “Born On Judgement Day”, “Mrs. God”, “Silent Rain”, “Shade In The Shadow”, “Light The Universe” and “My Life For One More Day”.

These seven (!!) excellent songs together are 42:39 minutes. If Helloween would have released these seven songs as an individual album (called “King for a 1000 Years” or something like that) it would have probably been the best Deris-era album so far! So there you see the biggest problem.

Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy - Reviews (2024)

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