Review Summary: With another high-quality release from Helloween, the band proves that they are able to still perform incredibly in a live setting along with a studio one.
Helloween was in great shape during 1996. After revitalization from their new singer and drummer (Andi Deris and Uli Kusch respectively), the band released two very successful albums that put them back on the Power Metal map. With another chance at success, Helloween decided to create their second live album, High Live
. This album is an example of a live Power Metal album done right, containing both energetic performances and a good setlist of recent material.
The performances of the band are energy-filled and constantly improve upon the previously-released albums. Their performances are incredible moments of Power Metal; embodying the technique and melodies that are required for each song to succeed. Each member improves upon the original songs with exceptional skill; such as Andi Deris’s fantastic singing, the shredding of Michael Weikath and Roland Grapow, and Uli Kusch’s bashing of his drums. The concert-opener, “We Burn,” is a particular example of these stronger performances from Helloween. The adrenaline-pumping tempo, and the higher technical elements, of the track enhance it to new heights, and demonstrate the high-quality performances of these musicians over the course of this album. Other tracks on this album, like “Sole Survivor” and “Power,” are all major improvements in performances for the very same reason. The energetic riffing and the bombastic choruses from the early two Deris albums have never sounded so good!
The setlist of the album is one other good element of the album. Though the album has six songs from “The Time of the Oath” and five others from “Master of the Rings,” most of the songs are very good picks. Songs like “Where the Rain Grows,” “Perfect Gentleman,” and “Before the War” make an incredible transition to the live setting; enhancing the melodies and heaviness of each individual track. As for weaker songs like “Mr. Ego” and “Steel Tormentor,” they too are strengthened by the splendid performances and rougher production, and have never sounded better. Even the poppy “The Chance” from Pink Bubbles Go Ape
makes a splendid transition to the band’s heavier sound, sounding like a perfect fit on either of Helloween’s Deris albums.
Unfortunately, the setlist does have a few faults. Despite the great performances of songs from Master of the Rings
and The Time of the Oath
, it would have been nice to have more Keeper-era songs. Only “Eagle Fly Free,” “Future World,” and “Dr. Stein” appear from the Kai Hansen days of Helloween, and, despite the great sound and performances of these tracks, it would have been nicer to have other and more frequent tracks from those two albums. Songs like “I’m Alive,” “Ride the Sky,” “Halloween” and “Keeper of the Seven Keys” did not appear on the previous live album, and should have received more exposure after the previous live album (Live in the U.K.
). Along with this, a few songs from the two Deris albums are unnecessary, such as “The Time of the Oath.” Though the live setting does wonders for the song, it still feels tired, repetitive, and boring to sit through.
Despite these flaws, this is still a live album you should own. Each band member performs at their finest yet, and transforms the previous songs into remarkable pieces of music. The production hardens the sound of these Power Metal monsters, foreshadowing a heavier Helloween; and the setlist overall is one that any fan of 90s Helloween will enjoy. If you have not given this album a try, now is as good a time as any.