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Helloween - 2003 Rabbit Don't Come Easy

ARTIST: Helloween
ALBUM: Rabbit Don't Come Easy
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
SERIAL: NB 1043-2
YEAR: 2003


LINEUP: Andi Deris - vocals * Michael Weikath - guitars * Sascha Gerstner - guitars * Markus Grosskopf - bass * Mikkey Dee - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Just A Little Sign * 02 Open Your Life * 03 The Tune * 04 Never Be A Star * 05 Liar * 06 Sun 4 The World * 07 Don't Stop Being Crazy * 08 Do You Feel Good * 09 Hell Was Made In Heaven * 10 Back Against The Wall * 11 Listen To The Flies * 12 Nothing To Say


It's been a long time between drinks for me and Helloween. Though the German band are regarded as legends within the metal community, which I'm not disputing, I personally couldn't quite get into their quirky style of melodic speed metal. The last album I heard of theirs was 'Better Than Raw', an album I didn't enjoy at all. Also, I wasn't too enthused with Andi Deris's vocal delivery, in comparison to his Pink Cream 69 days. So it came as quite a surprise to me when I found myself thoroughly enjoying their brand new album 'Rabbit Don't Come Easy'. Since their previous album 'The Dark Ride', Helloween have lost two long time members, guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch. Coming in to replace them are Sascha Gerstner on guitars, who contributed a couple of songs to the new album, and Stefan Schwarzmann (formerly of Running Wild and Accept) on drums. Stefan actually joined after the recording of the album, with drums on 'Rabbit Don't Come Easy' being provided by Mikkey Dee.

The Songs
The album opens with 'Just A Little Sign', a fast track full of melody and an excellent chorus. 'Open Your Life' slows a little in the verses but goes full throttle again during the chorus. Andi Deris is certainly on form and the keyboards add some depth to the Helloween sound. There's a wiff of Iron Maiden in the opening strains of 'The Tune' with the twin lead attack before it once again hits typical Helloween ground. Early Pink Cream 69 is a good reference point for 'Never Be A Star', much more Euro hard rock than Speed Metal - an excellent song with an incredibly melodic solo. It's an enticing build up to the thunderous crescendo that is 'Liar'. Deris's vocals are a little more aggressive, which suits the song well. The chorus is also very heavy! Though there's a middle eastern feel to the beginning of 'Sun To The World', it is soon replaced by chugging guitars and another memorable chorus - one of the albums stand out tracks. With a title such as 'Don't Stop Being Crazy' you might expect another full on rocker, but in this case it is a lush ballad with a spectacular chorus. The aforementioned quirkiness finally sees the light on 'Do You Feel Good', a good, fun melodic hard rocker. The stunning track 'Hell Was Made In Heaven' gets back to basic Helloween - fast, and a massive chorus. Once again Deris sounds fantastic, as is the soloing. A much darker feel pervades 'Back Against The Wall', heavy but still with strong melodies. 'Listen To The Flies' is one of the tracks co-written by new member Gerstner and it's one of the many excellent songs on offer, another fast yet melodic metal anthem. Brilliant neo-classical soloing. One of the most interesting songs I've heard for a while is 'Nothing To Say'. For all intents and purposes it's a vicious hard rocker, until you get to the bridge which is done Reggae style. The chorus itself is typical melodic metal. Very cool track.

In Summary
For many years Helloween have been spawning bands in their style, but rather than just revisiting the same territory they've come up with a varied and very enjoyable album that says alot about the staying power of Helloween and the future of melodic metal in general. If this is what the old boys are coming up with in 2003 then the young upstarts will have their work cut out for them as 'Rabbit Don't Come Easy' is one of the best of the bunch so far.

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#1 | george_the_jack on July 04 2008 23:49:53
Whatever made by Andi Deris is highly appreciated by me. I admit that you either love him or hate him because of his characteristic nasal voice. Well, I belong to the first group that love Andi for his passionate vocals. As it seems from the above I've always been a fan of the second Helloween period despite the most common opinion.... Don;t jump into hasty accusations against me! *blushing*

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