The End Records / Sony Music - 2010
I've long been a fan of Helloween. Moreso of the earlier part of the Michael Kiske era because that's where I came in on the band's career but I've generally enjoy the tenure of Andi Deris as well.
The album's liner notes are notably lacking in song lyrics. The band also continues their unfunny manner of listing the band members.
7 Sinners opens with the pounding rhythms of "Where The Sinners Go". The pacing picks up throughout the song and I liked the big backing vocals both supporting and deepening the voice of Deris in the song.
"Are You Metal?" kicks the tempo up fast and furious as the background of asking a question that has been asked by numerous performers and fans of the metal genre for years. I liked the guitar work in the song. And the keyboards give the song a slightly different vibe without sacrificing the power of the song.
Throughout the album, in what may be no surprise, drummer Dani Loble produces solid foundations while at the same time shining when given the moment or two of spotlight.
The power metal riffs are attacking the listener's ears throughout "Who Is Mr. Madman?" (The cut features a spoken word intro by Saxon's Biff Byford), "Long Live The King" and "Raise The Noise". In the latter, the band throws a curve during the solo. Instead of a guitar or bass solo, it is a flute solo. Yes...A FLUTE SOLO. Before you vomit in horror, you've got to hear it, it actually kind of rocks!
In "World of Fantasy" the band momentarily slows the pace a little and turns in a stunningly good song. The main lyrical passages are crisp and clear.
A soft piano opens "The Smile of the Sun" before combining with power chords to create a heavier than standard type of power ballad.
A rather bluntly titled "You Stupid Mankind" rips and shreds from the opening notes while guitarist Sascha Gerstner's lyrics take the human race to task for the perceived faults. Well, at least that's what I got out of it as well. I will concede that perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but with that song title, I don't really think I'm that far off.
The socially conscious bent continues on the next track. "If A Mountain Could Talk" was written by bassist Markus Grosskopf and the lyrics are decidedly leaning towards a protect the enviornment and natural resources viewpoint. It is all couched in a fast paced aggressiveness so the message doesn't overwhelm the song.
I liked the sound of "The Sage, The Fool, The Sinner" and "My Sacrifice" but didn't really get into the lyrics.
"Not Yet Today" is a brief interlude that reminds you a bit of the chanting monks music and leads into the album closer "Far In The Future". While the former is rather an unnecessary bit of fluff, the latter finds the band aiming for that epic sound. They hit it musically but I found the lyrical content a bit lacking.
The one thing that has tended to hold me back on loving Andi Deris is that at times his vocals either get lost in the mix which would be a production issue or they appear unintelligible without reading straight from a lyric sheet. In the middle of "Long Live The King" that ugly problem rears its head but for the most part things are crystal clear.
The album is chock full of what you might expect if you are a longtime listener of the band but what makes the band and album a bit special is that they still manage to make everything sound fresh and exciting. While it is not a great album, I think you'll find the CD very enjoyable and well worth the investment.