Helloween
Straight Out of Hell


3.0
good

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
January 8th, 2013 | 127 replies


Release Date: 01/18/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Straight out of their bag of old tricks.

Should artists be lauded or derided for sticking to a successful formula? Nickelback might be able to answer that one with a straight face, but it’s a question which fans of Helloween have had to ponder with increasing intensity over the last few years. I mean, if one buys into the idea that a band’s career arc can typically be divided into three distinct phases – self-discovery, refinement, and contentment – it’s virtually impossible to deny that the German power metal giants have fallen firmly into the final category since at least 2005’s Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy.

And a lot of this, I wager, has to do with the very nature of the power metal genre and the notoriously unfickle clientele that Helloween and their contemporaries typically play to. To wit, the trajectory that these bands have chosen is the logical conclusion of a genre that has focused on exalting, almost exclusively, dramatic and strong-chorused songs – pieces whose collective identity is further defined by their focus on fantasy-based subject matter, technically demanding guitar solos, and symphonic elements. When viewed through that prism, Helloween’s fourteenth studio release, Straight out of Hell, is the perfect case study for what happens when the dynamics of a given genre are shoehorned into approaching factory levels of standardization.

So, basically, what we have here is Yet Another Solid Helloween Album, with the biggest tweak this time around being – frankly – the new titles slapped onto each of the songs contained herein. Each track is pretty much just all speed and layered compositions anyway, a continuous slew of whining guitars and frenetic drumbeats accompanied by thinly processed basslines, impeccable production work, and vocalist Andi Deris singing lyrics that no one really cares about, as long as it’s hair-raising enough to be metuhl. While this is hardly a cause for disappointment, Straight out of Hell isn’t much reason to write home about either.

Out of the lot, “Nabataea” – a seven minute-plus composition about the legendary Middle Eastern kingdom – probably hits the hardest, opening as it does with a shimmering guitar riff that’s probably the best one I’ve heard so far this year (I know that isn’t saying much, but then again, neither does this record). “Wanna Be God”, in turn, is at once the most surprising and adrenaline-inducing moment on the record, with drummer Daniel Loble being put to work on a set of tribal drums that do a remarkably good job at adding a cutting edge to Deris’ gruff vocal work. Elsewhere, deeper album track “Asshole” follows in the great Helloween tradition of displaying a lighter, more humorous side on their records. “You’re an a-a-a-a-a-a-ass,” goes Deris at one point, his syllables thoroughly distorted by what may be the single most pointless use of voice programming ever.

It’s all pretty harmless and mostly agreeable throughfare, to be sure, but even when I gauge Straight out of Hell against the rest of its siblings from the Helloween Contentment Plateau, it strikes me as a shade weaker than, say, the material on 7 Sinners or Gambling With The Devil. Chief examples of this are songs like the ballad “Hold Me In Your Arms”, which is essentially a poor man’s “The Smile of the Sun”, and “Far From The Stars”, which plays like a rip-off of “Far In the Future”, but with a lesser backing riff. This pretty much sums up the essence of the record: Helloween may be back, but there’s no vengeance.



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user ratings (168)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
sustainthesatan (3.5)
A fun burst of power metal that sadly lacks any form of replay value and has issues with a couple of...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This review of a meh album brought to you by your reviewer of meh.

"Nabataea": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBpXBbO6o9k

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

FrozenVain
January 8th 2013


2472 Comments


Burning sun? Well I hope so or else we are in trouble. Great Review by the way.

KILL
January 8th 2013


72086 Comments


damn didnt even know these fuckers were still rockin

Digging: Steve Hackett - Out of the Tunnel's Mouth

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
January 8th 2013


7122 Comments


Why did you have to ruin this album for me Irving. I was sure i was going to love it.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013


6278 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ever since Kiske and Kai left the band, this band is meh, save for the The Dark Ride album.

Will dive into the text later.



Judging only from several YouTube links for this record, it indeed lies somewhere between 3-3.5(tops).



Edit: Excellent review, mindpos.

Digging: Fly Golden Eagle - Quartz Bijou

Willie
Moderator
January 8th 2013


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Excellent review. I think I feel the same way. Metal is getting off to a bad start. Flotsam&Jetsam and Voivod both seem a little underwhelming too.

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013


6278 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Did you listen to the new Voivod album Trey?

Willie
Moderator
January 8th 2013


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Only once... so, it's kind of a snap-judgement.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Interested in trying out that new Voivod album, actually. Will see if I can find a proper download when I get off this rig haha.

taylormemer
January 8th 2013


4944 Comments


Good avatar Trey. Didn't know you were a Tangled fan.

Irving, I am disappointed in you. Why can't you just review stuff you think is 4 and above?

jesuslover46
January 8th 2013


578 Comments


yeah i wont be listenin to this

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Irving, I am disappointed in you. Why can't you just review stuff you think is 4 and above?

T.T

Willie
Moderator
January 8th 2013


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Interested in trying out that new Voivod album, actually. Will see if I can find a proper download when I get off this rig haha.


Want the promo? I'm going to actually try to review it, but you'd be good backup if I (most likely) don't follow-through.

Good avatar Trey. Didn't know you were a Tangled fan.


I am, actually.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yes, I'd like it very much please =) That being said, I'm currently working on an offshore rig and might not be able to actually get around to reviewing for another week and a half. So, um, yeah. I'll try my best to be your second, but um, no promises hahaha.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I am, actually.

REVIEW IT WILLIE. NAO.

Willie
Moderator
January 8th 2013


16117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Review the Tangled movie?

taylormemer
January 8th 2013


4944 Comments


Nah, the score.

TheNotrap
January 8th 2013


8121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice reading.
Low expectations, but will check this out.

Digging: Pink Floyd - The Endless River

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013


16789 Comments


Nice review, ecstatic to see you writing more. And yes, please review the Tangled soundtrack. I just made reference yesterday to the floating lantern scene with regards to date ideas if I ever take Taylor Swift out.

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013


28785 Comments


sure, ill pos



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