Helloween – My God-Given Right (Nuclear Blast)Tuesday, 9th June 2015
Helloween are certainly a take ‘em or leave ‘em band, although you’d be a damned fool to do the latter. The grand pumpkins have crossed the 30-year mark in their career, with My God-Given Right emerging as their 15th album to date, an impressive achievement considering the obstacles the band has faced. But inasmuch as the band claims the album is a look back to the 80s, it’s more of a three-decade long combination, another sturdy platter from the Deris era, which as history will eventually show, is much better than people believe.
Because the band has four legitimate songwriters in its cadre (Deris, per the usual, contributes the most), there’s a nice segment of balance across My God-Given Right’s running order. The inspirational “Heroes” has plenty of charge; “Battle’s Won,” as any long-time devotee to Helloween would guess, is a Michael Weikath song (just check out the lyrics), and the title track is a steely anthem from Deris, inspired by some words his father told him pre-Pink Cream 69 (Deris’s pre-Helloween band). So off the bat, the album has three instant winners.
The real fun, if you will, comes via “Lost in America,” a song that might clip too close to Gamma Ray’s “Master of Confusion,” but who cares? “The Swing of a Fallen World” is the band’s occasional dip into darker territory ala the much-debated Dark Ride album from 2000, while designated album balled “Like Everybody Else” is hummable, if not totally memorable. And down the line, “Claws” is a purposeful throwback to the band’s Walls of Jericho era from Weikath, which is odd – he was the one back in those days trying to get the band out of the thrash/speed mode.
Outside of an unlikely Keeper-era reunion, Helloween doesn’t have much left to prove. My God-Given Right should eventually climb the ladder to become one of Deris-era’s best album, snuggling in nicely between Better Than Raw (the best), and Master of the Rings, which isn’t too far behind. If anything, don’t ever count out the ‘Weenies. They were the first, and, they’re still one of the best.