Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day this year. 20 years ago today, Andi Deris joined Helloween for Master of the Rings, replacing Michael Kiske and bringing new life into the band.
A little while ago, we spoke about comeback albums, and this was the first album that came to my mind. After the ATROCIOUS Pink Bubbles Go Ape, and Chameleon, and the firing of the legendary Michael Kiske, people thought Helloween were finished. In comes Andi Deris with this album, and Helloween is back right where they left off. Personally, again, as much as I know this is sacrilegious to say, I like Deris more than Kiske. That is with NO disrespect intended to Kiske, either. I love him as well, and I think Kiske has only gotten better with age. Deris just has vocal qualities that I feel are completely unique to power metal. He may not have the mind blowing high range of Kiske, but Deris can be melodic, aggressive, violent, scary, and beautiful. Most power metal singers don’t have the low, gruff range Deris can get. Uli Kusch is also one of my favorite drummers, and his snare sounds awesome on this album. This album was a return to form for Helloween, and has some really killer tracks. “Mr. Ego (Take Me Down)” is the track on the album I really love. It’s a slower paced one, but the chorus is just SO grand and catchy, it puts it above all the rest on this album for me.
Even though this is an album that reinvented the band’s sound, I also don’t think this is one of their strongest efforts with Deris. At the time, I can only imagine how amazing this album must have been for Helloween fans, but for me, while solid, I think this album is a bit cliché for power metal, and features too many tracks with a lot of chugging riffs, followed by catchy choruses. I believe the band was still getting used to both Deris, and making true power metal tracks again. Even albums just a little in the future, such as The Time of the Oath greatly improved on this album.
Favorite Tracks: “Mr. Ego (Take Me Down),” “Sole Survivor,” “The Game Is On.”
To me, I enjoy this album more for the significance it has to power metal as a genre and Helloween as a band more than I enjoy the album for the music. While this is a fairly good Helloween release, I certainly wouldn’t call it one of the band’s greatest efforts. This would CERTAINLY not be the Deris album I give to a Kiske loyalist to prove how good their material with Deris is. If you really like Andi Deris, or if you enjoy Helloween for their history, pick this one up, but it’s not one of my top choices.