For me, this album proved nostalgic and reminded me of why I loved Heavy Metal. Providing 13 songs, this album satisfies from start to finish and has no real weak points.
In the early 80’s, when I was a kid discovering heavy metal music amidst a scene ripe with Pop and New Wave, many bands I discovered were simply due to the fascinating cover art gracing the albums. This always left me in a rush to get home with my discovery and prayers that the songs would be as good as the cover. Many times I was disappointed, but most times I was ecstatic with what the album held. Helloween’s forthcoming album, Straight Out Of Hell, is one such album. Upon seeing the cover of this album, Jack O’ Lantern-headed warriors amid a scene of war torn destruction, I could not wait to listen to what it contained. Like so many times before, I was not disappointed.
Straight Out Of Hell is the 14th studio album for Helloween. Formed in Germany in 1984, the current line up consists of Andi Deris (vocals), Michael Weikath (lead and rhythm guitar), Markus Grosskopf (bass), Sascha Gerstner (rhythm and lead guitar) and Danie Loble (drums).
Standout tracks include the opener, “Nabataea.” A seven-minute stunner, this track is what Heavy Metal is all about. With Dio-esque vocals and melody-driven power metal, this song opens with an Asian-sounding guitar riff which segues into powerful chords that lay somewhere in between thrash and traditional Heavy Metal. This song contains both fast and slow guitar solos and the haunting mantra: “Children, children have no fear, soon we will all disappear. Children, children don’t you cry, make no sound or we will die.” Like many Heavy Metal albums of my youth, this album also contains a ballad, “Hold Me In Your Arms,” a moment of peace in an otherwise brutal album.
The song “Asshole” is a personal favorite. As rude as the song is, one can not help but get caught up in the catchy hooks and sing along to the anthemic chorus of “You’re an asshole”. “Wanna Be God” is a short song full of powerful tribal drumbeats and a screeching proclamation of “I don’t wanna be an angel, I wanna be God”.
For me, this album proved nostalgic and reminded me of why I loved Heavy Metal. Providing 13 songs, this album satisfies from start to finish and has no real weak points. Powerful and melodic, and bridging a gap between the ’80s metal sound and later bands like Slipknot, Straight Out Of Hell can stand up with the best of the current heavy metal heavyweights and should appeal to several generations of heavy metal fans.