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Helloween: 7 Sinners

German speed-metal veterans, still a little silly after all these years.

In 2009 Helloween celebrated their 25th. In all that time they have never lost their sense of humour, even after one gag too many derailed their career: in 1991, when the comedy titles of their album Pink Bubbles Go Ape and the song Heavy Metal Hamsters blew the band’s credibility.

Now on their fifteenth studio album, and still led by guitarist and founder member Michael Weikath, Helloween remain jokers at heart. Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris would never write a song called Are You Metal? But Helloween have, and it’s one of this album’s highlights, a modern power-metal anthem delivered à la Rob Halford by former Pink Cream 69 singer Andi Deris.

There is, however, a serious agenda at work in the warnings of eco-disaster protest songs You Stupid Mankind and If A Mountain Could Talk.

As a whole, 7 Sinners is a seriously heavy album, especially Long Live The King, a throwback to the band’s speed-metal roots with touches of Iron Maiden and Painkiller-era Priest, and a reminder of Helloween’s influence on so much of today’s European metal.