Review: Helloween – My God Given Right

As Helloween is probably the most influential band in my personal metal history, it’s only fitting that my first review be their newest offering, ‘My God Given Right’. I’ll begin by saying that there aren’t any twists or turns, nor is there anything that made me think, “Hey, now THAT is something they haven’t done before!” That’s not to say that every song is a cheap caricature of something they have already done before, but it’s hard to deny that they have remained relatively the same band for the better part of 20 years with little to no real experimentation. Sure, here and there they branch out with heavier, chunkier, ballsier riffing, which was definitely not a characteristic of the early incarnation of the band; however, it seems more a novelty at this point, or, dare I say, a bit contrived. Of course, this in an era where the prevailing attitude seems to be that the more strings on a guitar and/or the lower the tuning, the more metal it must be. Don’t be dissuaded, however, from hearing the album for yourself, because it is brimming with traditional Helloween goodness.

‘Battle’s Won’ is classic Helloween at its finest. I didn’t need the CD booklet to tell me which member of the band wrote this song. Michael Weikath definitely has his own signature style when it comes to writing fast, double bass anthems that have come to define the band’s sound over their 30 year history. Other speedy songs such as the title track, ‘My God Given Right,’ ‘Lost In America,’ ‘ Creatures In Heaven’ and ‘Claws’ are all satisfying on their own level, but they just don’t rise to the level of Battle’s Won. ‘You, Still of War’ is a mix of mid-tempo and speed, with the chorus being every bit as catchy and melodic as anything Helloween has ever done. The keyboard sprinkles in the chorus add an almost Neverending Story-like feel, and really serve to enhance the melodic atmosphere. I’d probably go as far as to say it’s the best song on the album.

Other excellent tracks include ‘The Swing of a Fallen World’ and the opening track, ‘Heroes,’ which starts off with old-school, classic metal riffing that no band can ever go wrong with. Succinctly, there’s nothing here that won’t satisfy the hardcore Helloween fan, but for the casual listener it might be a grower. The band’s previous offering, ‘Straight Out of Hell,’ was more to my liking, but ‘My God Given Right’ is still a worthy enough follow-up that proves Helloween still has much to offer the world of power metal. 8/10

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