HELLOWEEN – My God-Given Right
The pioneers of the European power metal movement still pump out regular studio records on 2-3 year intervals, and none the worse for wear. Those harping for a Michael Kiske reunion might as well lay that to rest – vocalist Andi Deris has been in the band for a solid 21 years, providing a solid anchor in terms of his prolific songwriting and diverse melodic delivery. "My God-Given Right" as their 15th studio record presents another fun 13 track, hour long outing that should more than satiate the pumpkin-oriented hordes.
When you are confident in the abilities of your bandmates, especially having 4 songwriters in a group, the only question that needs to be asked is related to the quality of material on offer. "Heroes" is a mid-tempo, double bass oriented affair, the guitar team of Weikath and Gerstner delivering heads down riffing while Andi Deris keeps his voice under control and the gang-oriented chorus reverberates in the cranium for weeks (‘we are…. Heroes!’). The follow up "Battle Won" has that uplifting major chord charm and equally engaging vocal melodies to make this a sure-fire number in this album’s touring cycle. "Lost in America" – a true story of the band getting out of South America and all the airplane/ connection struggles – is a tale in a similar "Future World" vein, featuring a solid groove and building / contrasting guitar runs.
Where a lot of bands do not place emphasis on diversity for their track order and pacing, Helloween are masters at this so that the listener does not feel fatigue. More conventional hard rocking numbers like "Russian Roulé" and "If God Loves Rock ‘n’ Roll" help make longer tracks like the 6:36 "Creatures of Heaven" or the slightly progressive closer "You, Still of War" that much more impactful and ear-pinning to return for over and over. Exemplary drumming from Dani Noble, a boatload of exciting guitar runs and harmonies that balance the proficiency with the melodic heart of each arrangement at hand, and production values that live for the old school while incorporating new technology means Helloween are doing just fine, thank you.
In comparison to their recent output, I’d say "My God-Given Right" has a little more of that galloping spirit that made them superstars in the late 80’s, but still in line with "Straight out of Hell" in terms of a proper follow up.