Helloween is a German power/speed metal band. Alongside Switzerland's Celtic Frost and Sweden's Bathory, Germany's Helloween were possibly the most influential heavy metal band to come out of Europe during the 1980s. By taking the hard riffing and minor key melodies handed down from metal masters like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, then infusing them with the speed and energy introduced by the burgeoning thrash metal movement, Helloween crystallized the sonic ingredients of what is now known as Power Metal.The band has it's roots in 1978, under the name Gentry, by Kai Hansen and Piet Sielck. Sometime later, they were joined by bassist Markus Grosskopf and drummer Ingo Schiwchtenberg, and changed the name again, this time to Second Hell. There was another change in the name (Iron Fist) before the definitive took of the name Helloween. From this point, Sielck left the band. Michael Weikath, who was playing in the band Powerfool, joined them after the disbandment of his band. And so, the first line-up (and official birth) of Helloween was formed, in 1984.This lineup (Hansen-Weikath-Grosskopf-Schwichtenberg) collaborated in a compilation, (Death Metal, alongside Hellhammer, Running Wild and Dark Avenger) and released two E Ps (Helloween and Judas) and a studio album (Walls of Jericho) before another lineup change.Kai Hansen, foresawing the difficulties to take the lead guitar and singing roles, decided to focus just on the guitar part, and so the search for a new vocalist begun, which ended in the former Ill Prophecy singer Michael Kiske being hired. This lineup change was key in the band's success, with the albums Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 1 and Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 2.Sadly, just as they were on the verge of breaking to a wider audience — even flirting with American success — the band's meteoric rise was rudely interrupted by internal strife and a string of bad business decisions. Hiring Kiske ultimately proved a double-edged sword — his iconic work with the aforementioned Keeper albums was what set up said meteoric rise in the first place, but he then decided he wanted to move away from Power Metal towards a lighterHard Rock, a decision which cost them the departure of Kai Hansen, who would later start Gamma Ray, with Roland Grapow, from Rampage, replacing him. And to top it all, the band was also in a legal dispute with Noise Records about a bunch of nasty legal stuff, which resulted in them not being able to release anything for some time. Everything resulted in two disastrously mellow albums (Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon) which are best not discussed, even by the band themselves, and very nearly finished off the band. As a result of this, both Kiske and Ingo were sacked for the band, although for different reasons. Kiske was fired because Michael Weikath refused to work with him any further, while Ingo was released due to mental and drug-related issues.However, this was not the end of the band. Michael Weikath took the control of the band and hired the singer Andreas "Andi" Deris, from the band Pink Cream 69, as well as ex-Gamma Ray drummer Uli Kusch. This change made the band to return to their roots, and continued to prosper in the international metal arena on their own terms, with the release of the album Master of the Rings. More importantly, they remained the benchmark by which most every power metal band is still measured.In 1995, however, there was sad news: Ingo Schwichtenberg was profoundly depressed and committed suicide by throwing himself to the subway rails. This hit hard in the band, who dedicated the album The Time Of The Oath (a Concept Album about a Nostradamus prophecy) to his memory.1998 saw the release of the succesor of Time..., Better Than Raw. It's considered the highest point of the band in The Nineties.1999 saw the band celebrating fifteen years of music, thus it was a perfect occasion to release something. This something was a Cover Album called Metal Jukebox, containing metalized covers from numbers such as ABBA, Jethro Tull, David Bowie.2000 saw the latest release with this lineup: the Darker and EdgierThe Dark Ride. It was the last album with both Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch, since they both were sacked from the band. They went later to form the acclaimed Masterplan.Sascha Gerstner from Freedom Call replaced Grapow, but the band struggled with the position of drummer. The first drummer hired was Mark Cross from Metalium, who abandoned the band after some medical issues. Finally, Stefan Schwarzmann (formerly from Accept, and Running Wild, among plenty of other bands) took the role, although he wasn't hired in time for the recording sessions of Rabbit Don't Come Easy, the follow-up to Dark, where the drums were played by Mikkey Dee.The final lineup change came in the form of Dani Löble, from Rawhead REXX, replacing Stefan, who left the band for Creative Differences. This lineup survives to our days, and recorded three albums (Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 3: The Legacy, Gambling With The Devil and 7 Sinners) and a Lighter and Softer compilation album called Unarmed.Today, they're known for never having grown up or received the memo that it's no longer the 80s. Their over-the-top bombastic performances, Large Ham antics, and absolutely hilarious music videos are essentially what would happen if Limozeen were a real band. Band Members:
Andreas "Andi" Deris — Vocals
Michael Weikath — Guitar
Sascha Gerstner — Guitar, Keyboards
Markus Grosskopf — Bass
Daniel Löble — Drums
Kai Hansen — Vocals until 1986, Guitar until 1988
Michael Kiske — Vocals from 1986 to 1993
Ingo Schwictenberg — Drums until 1993
Roland Grapow — Guitars 1993 to 2001
Uli Kusch — Drums from 1993 to 2001
1985 - Helloween [EP]
1985 - Walls of Jericho
1987 - Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I
1988 - Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II
1991 - Pink Bubbles Go Ape
1993 - Chameleon
1994 - Master of the Rings
1996 - Time of the Oath
1998 - Better than Raw
2000 - The Dark Ride
2003 - Rabbit Don't Come Easy
2005 - Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy
2007 - Gambling with the Devil
2010 - 7 Sinners
2013 - Straight Out of Hell
Other albums include:
1989 - Keepers Live (Japan) / I Want Out Live (USA) / Live In The UK (Rest of the world) [Live album]
The official site.Before adding a trope, check that it isn't subjective. Subjective tropes about the band go here.
The band shows examples of:
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Author Existence Failure: After getting kicked from the band, and a very bad string of mishappenings (such as the death of his father) Ingo Schwichtenberg committed suicide. The band dedicated the album The Time of the Oath, and Michael Kiske wrote the song "Always", (in his solo album Instant Clarity) both to his memory.
Creative Differences: Kai Hansen quit the band after being unable to stomach Michael Kiske's Lighter and Softer direction. Kiske himself was thrown out after the rest of the band got fed up with his ever-increasing ego, with Chameleon being the last straw. Later, Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch wanted to continue in a Darker and Edgier direction after The Dark Ride, and were promptly shown the door. They went on to form Masterplan after being fired from their former band. It's also quite easily hearable in the examples: compare "Ride the Sky", from Walls Of Jericho, to, pretty much, any of the later songs.
Start My Own: After Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 2, Kai Hansen left Helloween. Several years later, he formed Gamma Ray. Also, as noted above, Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch, who were fired from the band and created Masterplan.
Welcome Back, Traitor: Kai Hansen quit the band over Creative Differences and went on to form Gamma Ray. Apparently, giving him room to have his own band and removing Michael Kiske from the equation was enough to calm both sides down, as the personnel from Helloween and Gamma Ray now get along quite amicably and even tour together, concluding their concerts by taking the stage simultaneously to form one big supergroup, and as Gammaween, they perform "I Want Out". In that video, they certainly lookfriendly. And this is older than the 2008 joint tour, as his appearance in the Wacken Open Air 2004 can testify. And to make things better, he said in an audio interview, that he liked the Gammaween tour, and that he won't dismiss the chance of doing another tour like that.
A riff during the solo on "Back Against The Wall", from Rabbit Don't Come Easy, is one towards "Giants", from Chameleon.
7 Sinners contains many of these. As some examples:
The chorus of "Are You Metal?" has the chords of "Halloween", from Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 1, at full speed. Just check the version from the Legacy World Tour live album, if you have some doubts.
"Who is Mr. Madman?" acts as a sequel song to "Perfect Gentleman", from Master of the Rings, even including the riff from the original song in several instances, and beginning with an intro describing how the character from Perfect Gentleman's narcissism drove him to insanity. The song itself depicts his time in an insane asylum and subsequent plot to escape it.
Darker and Edgier: The Dark Ride, sort of. It's certainly dark for Helloween, and was sufficiently different to cause Creative Differences with Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch, but it is still goofy by objective standards. Considered proof that Helloween is physically incapable of taking themselves seriously, even when they try.
Master of the Rings would also count, coming off the Lighter and SofterPink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon. (Also slightly compared to the Keeper of the Seven Keys albums, due to Andi Deris' rougher singing style)
Gambling With the Devil is mostly more mature, and one could almost conclude that Helloween finally grew up if they were to compare "As Long as I Fall" to their olderwork... except for the fact that Gambling With the Devil also gave us "Can Do It".
7 Sinners somehow managed to be even more Darker and Edgier than Gambling With The Devil. Lesee: the two comic songs of the album ("Are You Metal?" and "Who's Mr. Madman?") are very heavy; there're lots of Punctuated! For! Emphasis! in the songs; even in the normal verses; Dani Loble destroys his drumset in any of the songs, even reaching Death Metal and Black Metal speeds, sometimes; "Not Yet Today", the intro to "Far In The Future" is chillingly dark... hell, even the ballad, "The Smile of the Sun" sounds pretty heavy. When the band said that this is the most heaviest and fastest album they made, they weren't joking.
Go Mad from the Revelation: The protagonist of "Perfect Gentleman", from Master of the Rings, is bound to a mental institution in "Who's Mr. Madman?", from 7 Sinners.
"Sixteen years have passed since he, one perfect of his kind, the Casanova of his time, crowned himself to conquer the land in craving for lust. Lust, one of the seven deadly sins. Punishment he has suffered. Look at him what did he become, who is he now?"
Gratuitous French: "Perfect Gentleman", from Master of the Rings, has the following bit:
I am "le d'Artagnan de coeur"
Green Aesop: "Paint A New World", from Gambling With The Devil. "If A Mountain Could Talk" from 7 Sinners.
Grief Song: An Alternate Song Interpretation towards "Forever And One (Neverland)", from The Time Of The Oath, considering that the band dedicated the whole TTOTO album to their former bandmante, the late drummer Ingo Schiwchtenberg.
Just One More Level: "The Game is On", from Master of the Rings, is about someone who got so absorbed into a video game that he didn't even notice his house was on fire and presumably perished. The game is heavily implied to be the Game Boy version of Tetris, due to some lyrical clues ("with a grey box in his hands") and the fact that the entire main riff of the song is very obviously based on the Game Boy Tetris' Game Over jingle, and it even directly samples most of its sound effects.
Lighter and Softer: Michael Kiske preferred this style in general and had been pushing for it for years, finally getting his wish granted with Chameleon, which got him kicked out as part of the album's backlash. He even recently released a solo album entitled Past in Different Ways, which was essentially a fluffy dreamy acoustic version of every old Helloween song he had written while still with them.
Also, the compilation album Unarmed.
Straight Out of Hell was this to 7 Sinners.
Rabbit Don't Come Easy was this to The Dark Ride.
Loudness War: Arguably, their latest releases, from Keeper Of The Seven Keys Pt. 3: The Legacy onwards. 7 Sinners was particularly egregious in this regard.
Metal Scream: Michael Kiske was a master at these. Check him out in "I Want Out", just before (and going into) the final chorus, as he belts out "Leave me alone" for nearly twenty friggin' seconds.
Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness - Most of their albums are in the 6 to 7 range. The Dark Ride, Gambling With The Devil and 7 Sinners can go up to an 8. Their ballads, meanwhile, are generally in the 4 to 6 range.
Not Christian Rock: "Save Us", (from the Updated Rereleases of Keeper Of The Seven Keys Pt. 2 and the I Want Out single) "I Believe", (from Chameleon) "Salvation" and "We Damn the Night", (from The Dark Ride) and "My Sacrifice" (from 7 Sinners) among other examples.
Averted, though, with their new album Straight Out Of Hell. Which contains no clearly Christian songs but does contain the song "Church Breaks Down", which is a potshot at religious extremism.
Word Salad Title: "Deliberately Limited Preliminary Prelude in Z", from Better Than Raw. All their other album-introduction tracks are single words beginning with an I - it's possible that this was the result of running out of ideas. Also the B-Side "Grapowski's Malmsuite 1001 In D-Doll".
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the fourth page of the booklet of the remastered Walls of Jericho, the band takes shots at many people into the section "Into pumpkins". Then, the last part goes this way:
"(...) all troublemakers on concerts, PUMA Sportswear, (because of no cooperation) Neil Perry (Sounds): if we sound like Discharge, discharge yourself! You don't have any glimpse, and everyone who is still spelling HELLOWEEN with an "A"."
Mascot: Jack-o-Lantern and Fangface; the latter went to Gamma Ray along with Kai Hansen.
Power Metal: Credited as the Trope Maker of the European style. Some give them credit for creating power metal as a whole, but this isn't entirely accurate as the American style of power metal had been around for a couple years before Helloween released their debut.
Speed Metal: On Helloween and Walls of Jericho, with The Dark Ride, Gambling With the Devil, and 7 Sinners also incorporating elements of this.
"WARNING! Everybody Who Will Be Writing HELLOWEEN With An "A" Or Tries To Distribute Pamphlets With An "A" Will Be Turned Into A Pumpkin!!!"
Take That: The fourth page of the Walls of Jericho remaster contains one towards many people. In the third and most of the fourth pages, many people receive "fangs" (in a Shout-Out to Fangface) but the "Into Pumpkins" section has the band taking shots at many people for many reasons.