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Helloween: Straight Out Of Hell

Power metal veterans’ fire still burns

The 14th studio album from German power metal legends Helloween sees them continuing a fine run of form stretching back to 2005’s rejuvenating Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy.

It’s a popular perception that Helloween had all but lost the plot, but casting a critical eye over their 28-year career, there are extended periods of good-to-great performances punctuated by periodic, creative meltdowns. Which they seem a long way from right now.

The follow-up to 2010’s 7 Sinners sees the band in consolidation mode, offering stacks of Helloween staples peppered with a few darker moments. Alongside standard fare such as Far From The Stars and Burning Sun, and life-affirming anthems Live Now! and Waiting For The Thunder, chunkier tunes such as World Of War and Asshole display a modern edge. And, of course, in the synth-drenched Hold Me In Your Arms, there’s the obligatory power ballad.

The euphoric melodies get a bit samey after a while, but our Teutonic chums are clearly far from a spent force.