Following the successful formula began on 2007s Gambling With The Devil, Straight Out Of Hell is a quick paced power metal release with amazing musicianship and brilliant strong vocal hooks. This time around the lyrics are less dreary and sprinkled with more positivity. The majority of the songs are fast paced facemelters with huge choruses.
Once the opening guitar kicks off the epic “Nabataea” you know this is going to be an unforgettable track. The arrangement is impressive as it’s a seven-minute ambitious power metal anthem that has more changes than they have had band members. Sprinkled with Middle Eastern flavored riffs, some orchestration and a melodic vocal line that is instantly catchy, this is not only just a highlight of the record, but of their career.
Andi Deris has to be one of the most underrated vocalists in all of metal. He has been on the scene since 1989 originally fronting Pink Cream 69 and has now fronted Helloween for a flawless 19 years. Once again his gritty, bluesy, powerful memorable vocal melodies are all over this release.
From the Rob Halford like wail of “Burning Sun” to the tender sensitive vocal patterns of the only ballad “Hold Me In Your Arms,” Deris reminds us why he is still a top metal vocalist. “Waiting For The Thunder” is one of the hookiest choruses that he has ever sung, a definite highlight on the record.
Founding bass player Markus Grosskopf stands out on the epic “World Of War” with a rare bass solo. Guitar players Sascha Gerstner and founder Michael Weikath shine on the already mentioned “World Of War,” “Live Now” and the harmonies of “Far From The Stars.”
It is sometimes hard to overlook some of Helloween’s cheesy awkward lyrics, especially on tracks like “A--hole” and “Wanna Be God.” The latter is more of a tribal chant than a traditional song. It does break up the fast pace of the record. The brilliant title track written by Grosskopf follows and it comes ripping in all its classic Helloween glory.
Straight Out Of Hell might not be as strong of a release as Gambling With The Devil, but it is on par with their previous release 7 Sinners. At this late stage in their extraordinary career Helloween are comfortable writing their style of melodic power metal. They are not going to radically change their sound; at this point they are trying to perfect it. While building on the brilliance of their last couple of efforts Helloween has proven after almost thirty years they are still the leaders of the genre they helped create.
(Released January 22, 2013 on The End Records)