ALBUM REVIEW: Helloween – Helloween


Sometimes, even for grumpy middle-aged metal fans, wishes can come true. So when it was announced in 2017 that former Helloween members Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen were to join the current incarnation of the band there was much, much rejoicing. The Pumpkins United (Nuclear Blast) single which followed swiftly dispelled any initial concerns about musical overcrowding, the band now consisting of seven members including three vocalists plus Hansen adding a third guitar, and the path to Helloween (Nuclear Blast) was clear.

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Helloween Shares New Single and Lyric Video – “Fear Of The Fallen”


Fotograf, Photographer, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Heidelberg

Helloween has shared their second single from their upcoming new self-titled album, due out June 18th via Nuclear Blast! You can listen to “Fear Of The Fallen” at the link below! The current lineup of Helloween is the “Pumpkins United” group featuring Andi Deris, Michael Kiske, Michael Weikath, Kai Hansen, Markus Grosskopf, Sascha Gerstner and Dani Löble. Watch the clip now and pre-order the album below!

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Helloween Shares Their New Single and Video for “Skyfall”


Fotograf, Photographer, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Heidelberg

Helloween has shared the first single and video from their upcoming new album, Helloween, due out on June 18th via Nuclear Blast Records. “Skyfall” is out now and features with the current lineup of Andi Deris, Michael Kiske, Michael Weikath, Kai Hansen, Markus Grosskopf, Sascha Gerstner, and Dani Löble, the Pumpkins United World Tour lineup. Pre-orders are also live at the links below!

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Helloween Announces New Album, Teases New Single


Fotograf, Photographer, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Heidelberg

Helloween has announced they will release a new album, Helloween, due out on June 18th via Nuclear Blast Records. and the first single, “Skyfall” is due out on April 2nd, 2021. 35 years in the making and with the current lineup of Andi Deris, Michael Kiske, Michael Weikath, Kai Hansen, Markus Grosskopf, Sascha Gerstner, and Dani Löble, the Pumpkins United World Tour lineup, they are as excited as the fans are for new Helloween songs! Watch the teaser trailer here:

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ALBUM REVIEW: Ensiferum – Thalassic – Metal Blade Records


Concentrating on a specific thematic concept for the first time, Thalassic (Metal Blade), the eighth full-length release by Finnish folk metallers Ensiferum, finds the band obsessing over – as the Greek translation suggests – the subject of things related to the sea.Continue reading


Helloween Announces The First Pumpkin United Tour Dates


helloween-world-tour-2017

Helloween recently announced that they will be rejoined by vocalist Michael Kiske and guitarist Kai Hansen for a world tour in 2017 and 2018. Continue reading


Queensrÿche – Condition Hüman


Queensryche-Condition-Human-Cover

Elephants in the room exposed, monkeys off their backs with legal issues cast aside and now sole owners of the rights to the name and catalogue of Queensrÿche, the band who produced the greatest album to originate from Seattle can now leave their manure-filled zoo of shite behind. With Todd La Torre firmly ensconced in their ranks, and contributing fully to the writing of the bands fifteenth album, Condition Hüman (Century Media), the opportunity is there for the real Queensrÿche to stand back up.

Having promised a return to their more progressive metal-tinged leanings, an introductory dual guitar lick references their early traditional metal outputs before we embark on album that displays every element of trademark Queensrÿche that you could wish for. Condition Hüman is a mature album, at times reminiscent of Parallels (Metal Blade) from former tour buddies Fates Warning, happy to reference the foibles and distinctive nodes of yesteryear while still firmly holding its place in where the band is now. There are the expected gallops, ‘All There Was’ and ‘Guardian’ could be out-takes from the Operation Mindcrime (EMI) sessions, but in the main, here lies a series of intelligent rock/metal songs proudly reflecting a band that is once again able to produce the music that people expect from them and are more than happy to oblige.

That’s not to say this is an album without heaviness – ‘Hourglass’ builds from a dark, stabbed beginning to a spiralling (reference intended) epic, while ‘Eye9’ could be the rÿche polish applied to a long-lost jam session for the new Tool album – but it’s used sparingly, intelligently, with progressive and cerebral rock the order of the day. La Torre is the ideal frontman, sounding effortlessly like the ousted Geoff Tate, with hints of Michael Kiske, a flawless voice that is indisputably Queensrÿche, adopting some of the idiosyncrasies of his predecessor for that added touch.

Condition Hüman fits seamlessly into the Queensrÿche canon, a natural evolution from, and improvement on, its’ self-titled predecessor, almost as if their discography actually runs Empire (EMI) to Queensrÿche to Condition Hüman and the intervening twenty-three years be damned. Ignore side-show circuses, ignore the flaccid projects of “formerly of…” members, and ignore the memory of experiments and failures; Condition Hüman is a confident and telling step forward in restoring the legacy of a once great band.

The Queen of the Rÿche has seen off the usurper, and now proudly surveys her domain once more.

 

8.0/10

STEVE TOVEY


Kiske/Somerville – City of Heroes


Cityofheroes-cover

Some elements of life naturally appeal to our various senses; like the aroma of bacon in our nostrils or like a striking sunset in our vision, so Michael Kiske’s warm, velvety optimistic tones are an aural hot chocolate to our ears. It’s hard to hear his voice, whether it be over a racing Metal speedster or a lush acoustic ballad, and not feel some kind of affirming action has taken place. If Kiske and Devin Townsend were to record together, negativity as we know it would be evacuated from this ball of rock.

Kiske/Somerville is a bit of an unusual but oh-so-grin inducing proposition that is rock, Jim, but not as we know it, with its origins almost Simon Cowellesque. Basically Frontier Records have employed Mat Sinner (Sinner, natch, and Primal Fear) to write a bunch of songs for two people who are quite capable of writing their own, and who have been paired up to record together for the second time (Sinner also penning the self-titled debut of 2010).

Since his banishment from Helloween Kiske, the greatest and most distinctive voice in Euro Metal, has nomadically wandered from project to project, including various solo albums, a reoccurring lead cast role in the theatre of Avantasia and (finally) his own heavier project Unisonic. Meanwhile Amanda Somerville has appeared with the glitterati of the Power Metal world in Kamelot, Edguy, Avantasia, and After Forever.

And, perhaps due to the oddity of the nature of its creation, in the main, it works. Most enjoyably, too. While the majority of the music beneath is uptempo Hard Rock (of the tinged by Power and Classic Metal variety), above the surface soar unconstrained, with unrefined joy clearly displayed, the twin voices of our protagonists, usually by means of call and answer; a verse for he, a verse for she, and a chorus where they meet to continue their tales of love.

While the backing music may, like the dodgiest of petrol gauges, swing from average to bloody good, and it all sits very comfortably in the type of garden we are well acquainted with, surprises are, well, nil. City Of Heroes, though, does what too few albums do and, like boobs in the hands, makes us feel good about ourselves.

 

7.0/10

Kiske / Somerville on Facebook

Michael Kiske on Facebook

Amanda Somerville on Facebook

STEVE TOVEY


System of a Down, Slipknot, Faith No More Confirmed For Rock In Rio 2015


rock in rio poster

The Brazilian edition of Rock In Rio has updated its schedule of confirmed acts to perform. The event is held September 18-27, 2015 at The New City of Rock in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. A partial schedule of the heavier acts have been confirmed.

September 18, 2015

Palco Mundo:

Queen
One Republic
The Script
(more bands to be confirmed)

September 19, 2015

Palco Mundo:

Metallica
Motley Crue
Royal Blood
Gojira

Palco Sunset:

Korn
Ministry + Burton C Bell (of Fear Factory)
Angra + Doro Pesch + Dee Snider
Nocterall + Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween)

September 24, 2015

Palco Sunset:

System of a Down
Queens of the Stone Age
Hollywood Vampires (featuring Alice Cooper, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Paul McCartney and Johnny Depp)
CPM 22

Palco Sunset:

Deftones
Lamb of God
Halestorm + Convidado
Project 46 + John Wayne

September 25, 2015

Palco Sunset:

Slipknot
Faith No More
Mastodon
De La Tierra

Palco Sunset:

Steve Vai + Camerata Florianopolis
Nightwish + Jukka Nevalainen
Moonspell + Derrick Green
Classicos Do Terror