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Helloween - 1985 Helloween Mini LP




ARTIST: Helloween
ALBUM: Helloween Mini LP
LABEL: Noise
SERIAL: N 0021-1
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1996, Victor (Japan), VICP-2133

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Kai Hansen - vocals, guitar * Michael Weikath - guitars * Markus Grobhopf - bass * Ingo Schwichtenberg - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Starlight * 02 Murderer * 03 Warrior * 04 Victim Of Fate * 05 Cry For Freedom

WEBLINKS: www.helloween.org


Background
So why even bother analysing this 5 track EP? Well one of the reasons is that I found myself going into such depth while discussing the 'Walls Of Jericho' album, I felt some of those ramblings would be best put to use in defining this, a place where the history of Helloween begun. The most surprising aspect when you compare the two, especially as this 5 track is at times, pretty unspectacular to the strides they made on the follow up. Yes, both of these releases have a core thread running through, but with 'Walls Of Jericho' they add more complex stitches rather than fraying at the edges which I found to be the case here. After listening to this EP I would be lying to say that my patience wasn't at times falling apart at the seams.


The Songs
Yawning, belching, comical tunes are first heard, before the screaming starts. Not the most auspicious opening to their recording history but add in the guitar and 'Starlight' shocks the likes of those British NWOBHM bands gathering dust at the time. What is the plan from these pesky Germans? Helloween had arrived and nowhere near approaching October. Yes, maybe a lack of melodic tendencies but in parts of this they would make Yngwie Malmsteen appear as an old aged pensioner.

'Murderer', just simple one word titles are the preference with basic song structures. Repetition, may be the best explanation, you can consider if this is such a bad thing.

Small improvements are found on 'Warrior', yes still at 100mph, but they don't have speed limits on the Autobahn, (do they?). But at the time, the importance was on how fast you can play, scream the longest and not worry about the consequences of waking up the next morning with a stiff neck.

'Victim Of Fate' opens with a crack of lightning (but it is as frightening as Herman Munster). Coming across as the United Kingdom's Raven, while being powered by one of these old fashioned railroad handcars with the up and down handles. But they are no Laurel and Hardy, they managed to inflict a doom section which provides a welcome rest bite and works pretty well and spices up the tune. Yep, it's all turned out fine again, as they are more than capable of blurting out the odd thrashy number. With this track it seems the longer it is, they grow in confidence, and that doesn't just apply to them but also to the listener, that these pumpkin guys can grow into something bigger, if properly harvested.

This sweet spot continues with 'Cry For Freedom', with a nice Michael Schenker guitar opening, but again no need for a security camera to remember what this last track is like, it's just like the other 4, as its back to full throttle, but it does has some nice distinctive points.


In Summary
As their label stressed this was the new generation of Heavy Metal, some would succeed: Rage, Voivod and Kreator, some to a lesser degree being Coroner and Tankard, and those would sink without trace: Scanner, Deathrow and Vendetta. If you play the old vinyl edition of this, then watch the spindle which penetrates the centre of the record, piecing the pumpkin with the screaming skull sitting in the middle of this vegetable, if I found that in my daily dose of fibre that I would be reporting the shop to trading standards. This was more than just adolescent theory's pulled together in some garage or some box bedroom in a house, this was result of cramming of hours listening to their influences and while there is a stem of amateurism running through, this was the seed to avoid the need of a life of working in poor air conditioned offices and mundane 9 to 5 jobs, how I wished I'd been an archaeologist. Hansen's grip would slowly be relinquished during the 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1' and would appear to lose grip totally on the subsequent follow up. The Kiske and Deris days, all add to the history and I continue to add new releases to my collection, just not as hasty, I'll rather wait for a bargain, as I still yearn for the old days. All In all it's an unabashed metal folly.


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