Helloween - My God-Given Right (Nuclear Blast)

Is it any band's God-given right to release sub-standard product?
Release Date: 
29 May 2015 (All day)

Germany’s Helloween really don’t care what you think about this, their fifteenth studio album. As longstanding protagonist Michael Weikath said in a recent interview with Greece’s Rock Overdose magazine, ‘’It’s just typical classical heavy metal, the way it should be”.

Take it or leave it.

The sad thing is, Helloween – the speed metal Scorpions – are going to find a lot of people leaving it after a few listens to My God-Given Right. Of course, Helloween have earned the (God-Given) right to do just whatever the hell they want to with their career, the likes of Walls of Jericho, the …Keeper albums and my own personal favourite, Master of the Rings, have given them that. But it’s a rank of privilege given on the understanding that when a band thinks it’s OK to put out a heavy metal song with the lyrics ‘I want to stay crazy/as fresh as a daisy’ then their time might well be up. As my teachers used to say, with power comes responsibility, and Helloween have just such a responsibility in 2015, whether their position in the German metal pantheon is assured or not.

…Right is a strange album, it really is. Starting off in rip-roaring form with two latter day Helloween classics – Heroes and Battle’s Won are as good as anything this band has produced in years – the record very quickly finds itself mired in material that is at best cumbersome (The Swing of a Fallen World seems to take a lot longer than the published four minutes and fifty three seconds to reach its final denouement) or at the  very worse sounding like cuts that were rejected from 2007’s Gambling With the Devil album (Stay Crazy and the awful Lost in America). Perhaps the worst thing about the album is that there doesn’t seem to be any stylistic link or theme binding the record together. Hence half-cocked ballads such as Like Everybody Else (which really does sound like something Bon Jovi would have rejected in the late nineties) are tossed in to the mix alongside creaking trad metal workouts like Creatures in Heaven with seemingly nary a thought for continuity or how well the album fits together, the overriding premise seemingly being ‘we’re Helloween! We can do whatever we want!’

Creatures in Heaven actually isn’t that bad a track, but the overreaching atmosphere of the album just stymies any enjoyment listeners might get because of the sheer thrown-together nature of everything that’s going on. Call me a luddite, I probably am. But I’m also a lifelong Helloween fan, and I don’t like writing this review. Surely a return to the more thematically-sound albums of the eighties wouldn’t do anyone – band or fans – any harm at all. Disappointing.