Purists may continue to harp on about the early days of Helloween being the German band’s creative heyday, but there’s enough vim and vigour on display on their 14th studio album to dispel any such nostalgic notions.
Less self-consciously dark than 2010’s 7 Sinners, Straight Out Of Hell is a celebratory restating of Helloween’s old-school metallic principles, with all the bombastic choruses, fret-obliterating solos and moments of unabashed pomp that diehard fans have come to expect over the last 30 years.
However, it’s the strength of the band’s songwriting and their ability to combine sugary melodies with balls-out bluster that marks this out as a new high point. Mystical epic Nabataea is the most wildly euphoric opener Michael Weikath and his comrades have conjured in over two decades. Meanwhile, the triumphant likes of Live Now!, Years and the amusingly potty-mouthed Asshole have ‘instant crowd-pleaser’ written all over them.