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Pumpkins United: Where Did Helloween’s Self-Titled Album Rank In Their Sprawling Back Catalogue?

Pumpkins Unite!

Better than their peers …..

7. Better Than Raw (1998)

Helloween – Better Than Raw (2003, CD) - Discogs

In the midst of nu-metal’s dominance stood Better Than Raw, an album which saw Helloween refusing to bow down to prevailing trends. As it turned out, with Better Than Raw they closed out the decade in fine form, modernising their sound and yet retaining their inimitable Helloween-ness. 

A ‘proper’ heavy metal / power metal album, Better Than Raw harnessed elements of thrash, doom and groove metal and fashioned it to their own power metal blueprint. The results were uniformly outstanding with the pure propulsive power of Euro-power classic “Midnight Sun”, the thrashy sonic excesses of “Push” and the immediacy of “I Can” proving Helloween were still full of ambition and still had the bit set firmly between their teeth. 

Better than raw? Better than 99% of power metal album out there! 8/10

The comeback…..

6. Master Of The Rings (1994)

HELLOWEEN - Master Of The Rings - LP - On Parole

Master Of The Rings was somewhat of a comeback album considering the ground lost with the release of 1991’s Pink Bubbles go Ape and 1993’s disappointing Chameleon. Out went beloved members Michael Kiske and drummer and co-founder  Ingo Schwichtenberg (R.I.P.) and in came new vocalist Andi Deris (ex-Pink Cream 69) and Uli Kusch (Holy Moses / Gamma Ray) respectively …..and the result was a complete rejuvenation which instantly re-established Helloween as power players of the scene!

Replacing such a dominant figure as Michael Kiske was never going to be easy but Andi Deris made an instant impact and his writing partnership with Michael Weikath was fruitful from the get-go; the duo contributing arguably Master Of The Rings’ finest tracks in the shape of “Perfect Gentleman”, “Where the Rain Grows” and “Sole Survivor”.

Master Of The Rings lit the touchpaper for a flame that burns bright to this very day and Helloween probably wouldn’t still be with us if it wasn’t for this outstanding album. 8/10

Time for a concept classic…..

5. The Time Of The Oath (1996)

Helloween – The Time Of The Oath (1996, CD) - Discogs

An undisputed classic, 1996’s The Time Of The Oath picked up where 1994’s Master Of The Rings left off, slapped a concept on it (the prophecies of Nostradamus, in case you were wondering) and delivered a supreme set of Euro-power songs in the process.

While rarely straying from the path they themselves carved, The Time of the Oath simply finessed Helloween’s own recognisable high-speed, quasi-thrash riffs, glorious harmonies and caterwauling vocals and hit the mother of home-runs.

From the thunder, chug and atmosphere of the title track to the intensity of “We Burn” and on to the chest-beating Euro-power balladry of the self-explanatory “Power”; The Time Of The Oath had it all! 8/10

About Chris Jennings (1978 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

2 Comments on Pumpkins United: Where Did Helloween’s Self-Titled Album Rank In Their Sprawling Back Catalogue?

  1. Marc Batal // June 20, 2021 at 8:01 am // Reply

    My ranking:

    03. WALLS OF JERICHO & EP (10)
    04. HELLOWEEN (9.5)
    05. THE TIME OF THE OATH (9.5)
    07. THE DARK RIDE (8.5)
    08. BETTER THAN RAW 8.5)
    09. CHAMELEON (7.5)
    10. THE LEGACY (7)
    12. SEVEN SINNERS (7)
    13. RABBIT DON’T COME EASY (6.5)
    14. PINK BUBBLES GO APE (6.5)
    15. MASTER OF THE RINGS (6.5)
    16. MY GOD-GIVEN RIGHT (6)

    • Chris Jennings // June 20, 2021 at 8:55 am // Reply

      Thanks Marc! These things are always subjective and I can’t really argue with any of your placings – well, maybe Chameleon is a little too high haha

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