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Helloween - Unarmed - Best Of 25th Anniversary

Unarmed: Best Of 25th Anniversary
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 23 January 2010, 9:01 PM

HELLLOWEEN the German monster - that helped the most in the creation of the Power Metal scene - is still active and now is ready to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Well, they could have chosen the easy way and release a ’special’ best-of compilation with a live recorded DVD without raising too many complaints. Instead of that -really disappointing move- the German longtime running band had the idea of a compilation comprising the re-recorded and re-arranged versions of hit songs mainly from the late era. The idea seems promising and tempting but these efforts also work like Delphic swords and thus cut both ways. You can always lose part (or all) of the magic present when the original song was composed/recorded and consequently make fool of yourself trying to re-produce it. With HELLOWEEN this effect is enhanced due to the turbulence created after the "Keeper Of The Seven Keys - Part II" and the ’noisy’ departure of Michael Kiske from the German engine.

The thing with "Unarmed" is that it does cut both ways; there are some tracks that sound interesting and kind of cool through the revised editions but there are also some, that deserve absolutely no comment. Just like the opening version of "Dr. Stein"; the saxophone addition wakes some "Chameleon" memories and this cannot be good for the average HELLOWEEN fan. You simply cannot mix these sounds with the music that gave birth to the German Power Metal scene and expect to reaming unpunished. Things continue to sound ’progressive’ and ’alien’ with "Future World". The acoustic rhythm guitar has nothing to do with the original’s power making the entire tune sound ’happy’ and if you don’t mind my saying silly. "If I Could Fly" follows the same pattern and sound totally stripped off the excellent dark atmosphere the original version possesses. The classic orchestrations do nothing and the entire track can go unnoticed. There is no reason for me to get into a track-by-track commentary since most of the new versions are well below the average rating.

The best track of this release is clearly the "Keeper’s Trilogy" that features all the "Keeper’s" songs combined in a really pompous composition. Here the classic orchestrations fit the historic sounds like a glove while Deris sounds in his best form giving a personal aspect to Kiske’s legendary performance. The transition between the original songs is excellent even though they overdid it with the child backing vocals. After the 17 minutes of the trilogy the compilation continues in the same pace hitting the HELLOWEEN fan with a ten ton hammer presenting more ’happy’ versions of "Eagle Fly Free" (where is the killer opening riff?) and "I Want Out" where the children’s voice return to make another mess… The last track is the revamped version of the killer ballad "A Tale That Wasn’t Right". This time the re-worked version sounds pretty good due to the expressional vocal performance by Deris that fit the orchestral sounds like a glove. Well, the guitar solo is surely missed but this is the unarmed version…

So, this is the way that HELLOWEEN chose to celebrate the 25 years of Metal action. The outcome of this effort cannot be characterized as successful since the Kiske songs are not to be handled like this. I am dead sure that this release will face strong criticism by all the metalheads who have grown listening to the first HELLOWEEN hymns.

0 Star Rating

  1. Dr. Stein
  2. Future World
  3. If I Could Fly
  4. Where The Rain Grows
  5. The Keeper’s Trilogy
  6. Eagle Fly Free
  7. Perfect Gentleman
  8. Forever & One
  9. I Want Out
  10. Fallen To Pieces
  11. A Tale That Wasn’t Right
Andi Deris - Vocals
Michael Weikath - Guitar
Sascha Gerstner - Guitar
Markus Grosskopf - Bass
Dani Loble - Drums
Record Label: Sony/SPV


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Edited 07 February 2023

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