Pick out your snazziest Levi’s sleeveless, tie a bandana round your head, clench your fists and don your smartest Doc Marten’s, because that’s pretty much the only mindset you can be in to listen to German power-metal pioneers, Helloween, who return with their fourteenth (yep, fourteenth) studio record, entitled ‘Straight Out Of Hell’.
Opener ‘Nabatea’ has a strange Egyptian sounding guitar section before the necessary, extremely cliche, fist-clenching vocals kick in and all I hope is that there’s not yet a video for this track as I have some fucking brilliant ideas to pitch at the band and the record label. They will, of course, involve a range of mountains, and probably some rain and fire too. But, before I become sidetracked with said prospects, it’s necessary to continue through this record that’s quoted by the band as being “all killer no filler”. I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t sound like the first Sum 41 record, though.
‘World Of War’ sounds like Avenged Sevenfold sped up. The drumming is frankly ridiculous and virtually cancels out all presence of guitars once the horrifically cheeseball, whiningly irritating intro has ended. The rhythm section just ends up sounding like a helicopter with some sweep-picking over the top of it as we are led into ‘Live Now!’, a strange ‘inspiring’ kind of track, a kind of power-metal answer to typical ‘stand tall, don’t give up, we are brothers, etc’ hardcore that is prevelant these days.
‘Waiting For Thunder’ is an alright track, mainly because it doesn’t display the typicalities of the rest of this record. There’s a pretty cool piano line throughout and a hook-ridden chorus that isn’t too irritating and, surprisingly, not as cheesy as the rest of this record as we are taken into ‘Hold Me In Your Arms’, an almost ballad type track. It’s extremely corny, but it’s a guilty pleasure in a sense. I mean, everyone likes a cheesy number once in a while, don’t they? A couple of metal points to Helloween for those two, I suppose.
The title-track, ‘Straight Out Of Hell’, follows in the expected manner; fast, percussive and cliche before we’re introduced to the oh so extremely rudely titled ‘Asshole’. One can only presume that Andi Deris is pretty unhappy with someone. I implore you, please listen to this track if you wish to hear one of the best worst choruses ever created.
On that note, I’m going to call it a day with this review, purely for the fact that I did not wish to set out to lambaste a band who has obviously achieved one hell of a lot in their almost thirty years of existence, but it was a struggle from the onset. It’s the kind of record that would be a small minority of metalhead’s wet dream but the majorities nightmare.
Written by L.E.D.