Helloween - Master Of The Rings
Castle US
Power Metal
11 songs (50:19)
Release year: 1994
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

In the history of Helloween, Master Of The Rings is an extremely important album, especially at that point in their career. It introduced a new singer, a new drummer, and the guitarists in the band were now playing metal again. Having proven himself ages ago, Michael Weikath now pens alongside Roland, and hooray, we have heavy metal again after Helloween's shitty nineties album, Chameleon.

After the most pointless "obligatory instrumental intro track" Helloween has done so far, the next two songs are long time classics and both are drum centric and highlight new guy Uli Kusch in their intros. Sole Survivor has him exploring the entirety of his kit and giving us a into his tight double bass footwork steering the band. Where The Rain Grows begins with a snare march that builds into a crashing intro when the guitars kick in. Beginning this way with fast explosive songs lets the band be slightly more experimental without having to worry too much about fan backlash. Why? is a decent enough mid tempo song with lyrics that are directly about asking los Dios about the meaning of misery on earth. For whatever reason, and I have no idea why, but Mr. Ego (Take Me Down) was released as a single. For me, this is the only real dud on the album because it is long, boring, and plods along at a snail's pace. Perfect Gentleman however, was an excellent choice for a single (complete with really cool cover art) and has a whimsical feel to it with some flutes. Not to worry though this isn't full on Jethro Tull worship. The second half of Master Of The Rings is devoid of any songs that were released as singles. This doesn't mean they're unlistenable crap, but the second half of the album feels like an extended "b-side." The Game Is On is an ode to the old school Game Boy and even has bleeps and bloops from games. I think it's Tetris or Mario Land. Secret Alibi is kind of a forgettable rock song. Take Me Home is a raucous, rousing, upbeat number and continues the light hearted vibes. There is a power ballad next though. In The Middle Of A Heartbeat is, eh, decent enough I guess. There's an actually interesting acoustic guitar solo in here but it's still kind of a boring ballad. Ironically, the live version with just Andi Deris and an acoustic guitar with NO solo is better than this studio version. The final concluding song brings us back round to Power Metal majesty and a message to all the fans. Still We Go rounds out this album's song roster with an anthemic, metal to the hilt track that reaffirms the fans that Helloween is back. Speedy and spirited, this concludes Master Of The Rings in fine fashion.

Master Of The Rings is a successful comeback album for a band that was on the brink of implosion. Andi Deris and Uli Kusch (with major help from Grapow) saved Helloween. Both guys are tremendous talents in their respective positions, but all three of them wrote great songs together. This would be the start of a renewed era of the band, and unlike many of their peers, Helloween has a pretty solid mid nineties discography. Three great studio albums, a tremendous double disc live set / VHS, and a decent covers album all came out in the 1994 - 1999 timeframe. And it all started with this one, a comeback album with a singer from a on the rocks hair metal band.

Killing Songs :
Sole Survivor, Still We Go, Perfect Gentleman, Where The Rain Grows
Ben quoted 73 / 100
Other albums by Helloween that we have reviewed:
Helloween - Helloween reviewed by Ben and quoted 84 / 100
Helloween - Better Than Raw reviewed by Ben and quoted 94 / 100
Helloween - United Alive In Madrid reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
Helloween - Straight out of Hell reviewed by Chris and quoted 92 / 100
Helloween - Walls of Jericho reviewed by Olivier and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 23 reviews click here
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