Helloween - _The Time of the Oath_
(Castle Records, 1996)
by: Alain M. Gaudrault (6 out of 10)
I've been a Helloween fan since the release of their debut eponymous EP ... in varying degrees. This classic German power metal outfit has seen many lineup changes, and a significant change in focus regarding musical direction. Their two previous outings, _Master of the Rings_ and _Chameleon_, left me rather unimpressed. _The Time of the Oath_, the second album with the current lineup featuring the band's third lead vocalist Andi Deris, is a pleasant surprise. While not quite as serious as I would prefer, this album nonetheless showcases some excellent guitar work. In fact, it is the guitar work which makes the album enjoyable and worthy of several listens. Admittedly, Helloween is still writing 1980s-influenced metal with a significant pop orientation, but for what it is, it's excellently crafted. My biggest beefs are the overly cheesy bits interspersed such as the song title "Anything My Mama Don't Like", and the sappy first few minutes of "Forever & One (Neverland)". I'm also not too fond of Andi Deris' vocals, which remind me too much of a cross between Claus Meine (Scorpions) and Ugly Kid Joe's vocalist, who's name I can't be bothered to look up [Whitfield Crane, yes, I AM embarrassed to know it :) -- Gino]. While Andi can carry a tune just fine, he unfortunately adds an additional air of pop commerciality which I often find inappropriate for the underlying music. A worthy purchase if you're into melodic power metal.

(article published 18/4/1996)

12/22/2010 A McKay 8.5 Helloween - 7 Sinners
12/2/2007 J Ulrey 8.5 Helloween - Gambling With the Devil
11/15/2005 A McKay 5 Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy
2/9/1996 A Bromley 6 Helloween - Master Of The Rings
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