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The Time of the Oath
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  • Helloween: Andi Deris (vocals); Michael Weikath, Roland Grapow (guitar); Markus Grosskopf (bass); Uli Kusch (drums).
  • Additional personnel: Jorn Ellerbrock, Tommy Hansen (keyboards).
  • Recorded at Chateau Du Pape, Hamburg, Germany in 1995.
  • Despite the difficulties that had plagued them in recent years (including inconsistent albums, constant lineup changes, and even the suicide of founding drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg), German power metal kings Helloween had been gradually finding their way back to the glory of their early days with each succeeding release. And with their seventh album, 1996's The Time of the Oath, they pretty much arrived, delivering their best collection of songs in almost a decade and never straying from their patented Euro-metal formula. Come on, Helloween pretty much invented this stuff, and the hundreds of disciples they inspired into existence simply couldn't be wrong -- this was still an important band. The Time of the Oath adds nearly nothing new to the group's well-established sound (quasi-thrash riffing, harmony guitars, piercing chorused vocals), yet -- for the first time in years -- they manage to steer clear of the pop-metal pitfalls, corny lyrics, and forced comedy that had sunk them in the first place. Melodic moshers like "We Burn," "Steel Tormentor," and the title track lead the way, but even occasional digressions into epic songwriting ("Mission Motherland") and power balladry ("Power") are much more effective than in recent efforts. Arguably the finest moment of the band's latter-day career, The Time of the Oath also offers a fond welcome back for old-school fans who had given up on Helloween. [Time of the Oath was reissued in 2006 in an expanded edition that included bonus tracks.] ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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