Helloween / Pumpkins united are out of this world
15 June 2021
Opening a brand new chapter in their 35-year Power Metal odyssey, Helloween have put egos aside to send their fans into delirium with one of the best albums of their career.
Helloween: Helloween (Nuclear Blast)
Release Date: 18 June 2021
Words: Johnny Churchill
Taking the legendary Iron Maiden’s example by integrating multiple band members, Helloween now feature no less than three lead singers – the powerhouse that is Michael Kiske, long-standing vocalist Andi Deris and returning guitar hero Kai Hansen. And yes, that’s three guitar players too – with Hansen lining up alongside Michael Weikath and Sascha Gerstner, alongside founder member and bassist Markus Grosskopf and Daniele Loeble on drums.
Dani Löble said, “this record is the coronation of the Pumpkins United journey. Still today I am fascinated by the different character traits and facets of the Helloween history. As an example I’d like to point out the legendary voices of Michi, Andi and Kai. To enjoy them now together on one record, under one flag is the ultimate Helloween experience.”
Does it work? You can bet your last pumpkin on that.
Opening track Out For The Glory sets up the Power Metal feast, but it’s the recently released second single, Fear Of The Fallen, where you can hear the different elements of this band fall into place like a well-oiled machine. It’s a crazy-fast Power Metal anthem led by Michael Kiske at his best, sharing vocals with Andi Deris and backed by enough lead guitar, drums and bass to satisfy even the most fervent pumpkins fans. It’s a proper banger on all fronts.
Of Fear Of The Fallen, Andi Deris told MetalTalk, “I had so much fun not only writing a song for my voice but also for one of the greatest singers out there. I always have an extremely broad smile on my face when I hear Michi singing my melodies.”
Michael Kiske agreed, adding “the whole process, including the spirit, was just ideal. If I had the feeling that one of the parts would not be really fitting, I asked Andi if he would sing it and vice versa. There was no competition whatsoever. What counted was what is best for the respective song. I am thankful to be, again, a part of this crazy family. I love them all.”
Classic Helloween moments
The rest of the album has its classic Helloween moments, too, with tracks like Mass Pollution and Best Time showing a slower and slightly quirky hard-rock approach, complementing the band’s different range of songwriting talent. But to be fair, they’re all overshadowed by Kai Hansen’s crazy 12-minute finale, Skyfall.
Taking the kitchen sink approach and just throwing everything into the mix, this epic track describes an alien landing on earth and a dramatic chase, with all three singers duelling together at different points. With lyrical and musical nods to Megadeth’s Hanger 18 and Bowie’s Space Oddity period, it’s a crazy ride, but the band pull it off with aplomb, and it’s one of the best tracks I’ve heard this year, partly because it’s so unexpected. The video’s a total blast too.
This album was designed to deliver the feel of Helloween’s classic era and was recorded entirely in analogue, giving it a natural and more traditional sound. The band also used the original drum kit of former drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg, who sadly passed away in 1995, a lovely homage to his playing on the Seven Keys records.
Synergy, energy and creativity
Sascha Gerstner told us, “synergy, energy and creativity were the main elements on this record. We used old school recording engineering from the 80s merged with the current Helloween-vibe and here we are. More than 35 years of Heavy Metal experience on one record.
Michael Weikat says that this “is the incomprehensible encounter of seven musicians who are working as friends and even family and created something that no one would have thought it could be possible. It is like awaking from a sleep but still being in an incredible dream.” Returnee Kai Hansen said that “being in the studio with my old companions after 30 years was very emotional for me. But at the same time it was a completely different experience with the ‘new’ boys. The collaboration of different songwriters and strong characters made the album very special. A unique mix with reminiscences from all chapters of the band’s history. Helloween is a big part of my life and I am looking forward to celebrating the songs live for and with our fans.”
Markus Grosskopf agreed, saying “for me, being one of the last ‘survivors’ who played every note from the beginning, it was a fantastic experience and a very emotional process. I think everyone can hear it on this album. I love it.”
Helloween is an album that blasts the united line-up into the future while still respecting their Power Metal legacy and early fans.
It also sets up the most fantastic opportunity to see them live with Hammerfall in the UK in 2022.
Ticket can be bought from www.bandsintown.com/a/4307-helloween
Helloween will be released on 18 June 2021 as a 2CD Digibook, 1CD Jewelcase, 2LP-2CD Earbook and an elaborate Deluxe Box Set including a Helloween wall clock, pins, necklace, patch and an art print of the cover.
Plus, there will be a vinyl option, with a 2LP Gatefold-version in different colours and a picture disc, plus for collectors, a limited edition 3LP Hologram vinyl.
01 – Out For The Glory
02 – Fear Of The Fallen
03 – Best Time
04 – Mass Pollution
05 – Angels
06 – Rise Without Chains
07 – Indestructible
08 – Robot King
09 – Cyanide
10 – Down In The Dumps
11 – Orbit
12 – Skyfall
Bonus tracks, Digibook and Vinyl:
01 – Golden Times
02 – Save My Hide
01 – Golden Times
02 – Save My Hide
03 – Pumpkins United
Michael Kiske – Vocals
Andi Deris – Vocals
Kai Hansen – Guitar, Vocals
Michael Weikath – Guitar
Sascha Gerstner – Guitar
Markus Grosskopf – Bass
Daniel Loeble – Drums
United Forces Tour 2022
25-Mar-2022 NOR Oslo – Sentrum Scene
26-Mar-2022 SWE Gothenburg – Partille Arena
28-Mar-2022 FIN Helsinki – Black Box
29-Mar-2022 EST Tallinn – Noblessneri Valukoda
01-Apr-2022 GER Bamberg – Brose Arena
02-Apr-2022 GER Hamburg – Sporthalle
03-Apr-2022 GER Berlin – Verti Music Hall
04-Apr-2022 GER Regensburg – Donau Arena
08-Apr-2022 ES Madrid – Wizink Center
09-Apr-2022 ES Barcelona – St. Jordi Club
11-Apr-2022 IT Milan – Lorenzini District
12-Apr-2022 GER Kempten – Black Box
13-Apr-2022 CH Zürich – Samsung Hall
15-Apr-2022 LUX Luxemburg – Rockhal
16-Apr-2022 NL Tilbourg – 013
18-Apr-2022 PL Katovice – MCK
20-Apr-2022 BG Sofia – Arena Armeec
22-Apr-2022 AT Vienna – Gasometer
23-Apr-2022 CZ Prag -O2
24-Apr-2022 SK Zvolen – Ice Stadium
26-Apr-2022 HU Budapest – Papp Laszlo Sportarena
29-Apr-2022 GER Bochum – Ruhrcongress
30-Apr-2022 GER Stuttgart – Schleyerhalle
01-May-2022 GER Frankfurt – Jahrhunderthalle
04-May-2022 UK Manchester – Manchester Academy
05-May-2022 UK London – Brixton Academy
19-May-2022 RU St. Petersburg – A2*
21-May-2022 RU Moscow – Adrenaline-Stadium*
23-May-2022 FR Lyon – Transbordeur*
25-May-2022 FR Paris – Olympia*
* without HAMMERFALL