|Review: Helloween - Metal Jukebox|
Label: Raw Power/Castle
Year released: 1999
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: September 17, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rumor has it, Helloween needed one more record to clear themselves with Raw Power, their label at the time, and so they slapped this collection together, a set of covers from the musicians and artists that influenced them. I'm not sure as to the validity of such rumors, but as a result, Metal Jukebox from 1999 certainly has that just-thrown-together feel, though the performance of the band is stellar, even if the choice of songs is rather odd.
Still coming off the studio high from Better Than Raw, it's no surprise this sounds almost exactly like it in terms of production. The songs have been altered just enough so that they sound like Helloween from that period without disguising the original melodies, leaving the songs recognizable. There are numbers here originally recorded by the Scorpions ("He's A Woman, She's A Man" – one of the better tracks, with a great vocal from Andi Deris), Faith No More ("From Out Of Nowhere"), The Beatles ("All My Loving") and even David Bowie ("Space Oddity"). The best tunes are Abba's "Lay All Your Love On Me", which they somehow turn into a Speed Metal track; Frank Marino's "Juggernaut", and the famous "Hocus Pocus", once performed by Focus. Actually, I have seen this version on several jukeboxes on trips to Europe, and I'm not surprised. It is a far superior version, one that will even have your parents up headbanging.
After this brief interlude, Helloween would record their first album for Nuclear Blast, The Dark Ride. If you're just discovering their discography, it would be a safe bet to jump over this diversion straight to that album, but those accustomed to the band's propensity for mild insanity should give this a spin, if just to see from where they draw their inspiration.
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