Helloween
Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I


4.5
superb

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
September 6th, 2006 | 41 replies | 9,171 views


Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist


When talking about some of metal's most influential albums of all time, you'll hear names such as Black Sabbath, Paranoid, The Number of the Beast, Reign in Blood, Black Metal, Painkiller, and so many more. Each of these albums has helped shape metal into what it has become over the years. Each genre has its own "Bible album", and power metal is no different. The beginnings of power metal are not at all difficult to trace. One of the very first artists of the fledgling genre was Helloween.

Formed around the beginning of the 80's, the band recorded its debut album, Walls of Jericho, an album rooted in speed metal. On vocals, the band featured a young Kai Hansen, only 22 at the time. Kai had a difficulty playing guitar and singing at the same time, a difficulty which soon affected his performances on both duties. So Helloween began looking for a new vocalist and stumbled upon a 19 year old Michael Kiske, who quickly jumped aboard. Soon enough, the band had their second full length album written. Originally, Keeper of the Seven Keys was meant to be a double album (Much like Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy), but the record label insisted that they be divided into two parts. In 1987, the band released the first half, Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt 1.

Today, Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt 1 is regarded as not only one of power metal's first albums, but also one of its finest. Unsurprisingly, superb melodic leads can be found all throughout the album. The leads and harmonies are very effective in creating an upbeat atmosphere that is both catchy and memorable. Speed is another characteristic that factors into the album's impressive sound. Though there are plenty of faster bands out now a days, the sped up riffs are very infectious and memorable. Songs like I'm Alive, Twilight of the Gods, and the mega epic, Halloween, show off Helloween's impressive arsenal of riffs and leads. The aforementioned Halloween, a 13 minute long track, is quite possibly the best song the band has ever written, with only Keeper of the Seven Keys even remotely close. There is virtually nothing you can complain about with the song, save for the sketchy lyrics which don't look like they have much to do with each other. Hansen really struck gold with that song, as it perfectly exemplifies the attitudes of power metal, whether it be the numerous shredded solos, the fantasy lyrics, or the fast paced riffing. Great stuff. Helloween attempt a couple slower paced songs, the upbeat, happy sounding Future World, and the ballad, A Tale That Wasn't Right. Both these songs are excellent outings, though I have to admit, I much prefer the more power metal-ish outings.

Vocalist Michael Kiske was an excellent discovery for the band. Kiske can hit all the high notes very well. Though he has very few weak moments, songs like Halloween, I'm Alive, and A Tale That Wasn't Right showcases his insane talent level behind the mic at its best. Kiske compliments the album's sound very well with his impressive vocal range. With the likes of Future World and A Tale That Wasn't Right, Kiske proves that he can be relied on to carry a song vocally. Even though neither song is remarkably good instrumentally, neither of them lull thanks to Michael's efforts. Despite being the new kid on the block, Michael Kiske delivers a world class effort on Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt 1, an molded himself a reputation as one of metal's greatest singers. Despite apparently wanting to distance himself from the metal scene, not even Kiske himself could deny that the job he did on the album is nothing other than topnotch.

I have one complain with the Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt 1. Yes, only one. Though the back of the album reveals 8 tracks, only six of them are actual songs. The opener, Initiation, and the closing track, Follow the Sign, are only short filler tracks that do not really serve any purpose. Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 1 is only 37 minutes long to begin with, and even though neither of the previously mentioned tracks are longer than 2 minutes, the album begins to seem very short. Perhaps this disadvantage would not exist if this was released as a double album to begin with, but the short length is really disappointing. Good thing we have the remastered album which came/comes out this year.

Overall, Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt 1 was a very important album in the world of metal. The album helped build Helloween's legacy as one of the grandfathers of power metal, a legacy by which the band will soon not be forgotten by. Though some may shrug off the album by today's standards (something I don't quite agree with, but hey), when Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt 1 was released back in 1987, it was very fresh. Some may ask, which is better, Pt 1 or Pt 2? To tell the truth, I like Pt 1 more, but this is mostly due to my preference of Kai Hansen's songs over Michael Weikath's writing. We definitely have an essential album here.

Recommended Tracks:
Halloween
I'm Alive
Twilight of the Gods



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user ratings (581)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
facupm (5)
Power Metal's best...

Matthijs van der Lee (5)
Undoubtedly the greatest power metal album ever released. You don't even need to listen to any other...

sonictheplumber STAFF (3.5)
Keeper of the Seven Keys is a good album, but not the classic that it's hailed to be....

peruviantrooper (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Thor
September 6th 2006



10183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Halloween stands to be one of the most epic power metal songs ever.

Intransit
September 6th 2006



2797 Comments


I have Master of the Rings, and that album is just impossibly badass. Ill be picking this up soon


Mikesn
Emeritus
September 6th 2006



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Unfortunately I have yet to hear that one. I'll check it out eventually.


Halloween stands to be one of the most epic power metal songs ever.

Agreed. After Gamma Ray's Rebellion in Dreamland, it's probably one of my favourite power metal songs.

Storm In A Teacup
September 6th 2006



12702 Comments


Nice one. Helloween is a very good band. I don't particurally listen to them a whole lot, but whenever I do I always enjoy them.

The Sludge
September 6th 2006



2169 Comments


Halloween is a killer song. I remember that being played a bit when MTVX was still alive.

Mikesn
Emeritus
September 7th 2006



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't know if I'm thinking of what you are, but I've seen the video for Halloween. It was pretty bad IMO.

RottedFlesh
September 7th 2006



213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great C.D...then again i luv almost all power metal (except for Iced Earth...never knew why)

I never really listen to it a whole bunch cause i spend most my time drooling over teh cover art.

Mikesn
Emeritus
September 7th 2006



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I must agree, the art is pretty cool. I've always liked these kinds of covers. Like this, or Megadeth's Rust in Peace, or Maiden's Powerslave, they've always stuck out too me.

ibanezrg123
September 8th 2006



4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree with you on a number of points:
That Halloween and KOT7K are miles ahead of the pack (with KOT7K leading the way)

That Part I is better than Part II

That Kiske is better than Hansen (he was just a bit too raw and rough for my liking)

That this is an essential album. Good review

Mikesn
Emeritus
September 8th 2006



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hmm, does it look fixed now?

JumpTheF**kUp
December 29th 2006



2710 Comments


Halloween owns my soul.
Its shining on me!
Good review.

MetalReggie
February 7th 2007



21 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just listened to this for the first time. Epic cd, epic song. Don't normally particularly care for power metal but could see myself listening to this cd forever more.

Lunarfall
September 23rd 2007



3179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album kicks so much ass it's not even funny.

Aeksis8745
September 24th 2007



448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Halloween is my favorite song of all time period

Lunarfall
September 24th 2007



3179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The beginning of Halloween is the sickest sounding riff ever.

Dragonforce89
January 1st 2009



326 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

.....

Anthracks
January 28th 2009



3733 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

halloween is legendary

Digging: Devangelic - Resurrection Denied

Nagrarok
February 26th 2009



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is real great stuff, but the vocalist gets on my nerves.

StonedCaveman666
June 17th 2009



21 Comments


My girlfriend loves them.

TheHamburgerman
October 17th 2009



1286 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Meh, Grave Digger, Rage, Running Wild and Iron Savior are much better.



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