Helloween
Walls of Jericho


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
October 31st, 2006 | 25 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist


Happy, happy Helloween, Helloween, Helloween! Happy, happy Helloween, Helloween, Helloween!

With these lines began the legendary career of arguably the first power metal band, Helloween. It seems like a pretty silly way for such an important band to begin their debut album, but it shouldn't surprise anyone who knows the band. The German power metallers released their first album, Walls of Jericho in 1985. Though perhaps not as critically acclaimed as their next two albums, Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt 1 and 2, today it is regarded as a classic in both power metal and speed metal. At this point in time, Helloween was comprised of power metal ace Kai Hansen on guitars and vocals; Mike Weikath on guitars; Markus Grosskopf on bass; and Ingo Switchtenburg on drums. Today, Helloween seems to be a revolving door for band members, as only two of the founding members remain. The famous phrase "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" might as well refer to Helloween, as the material of the Kai Hansen era is significantly stronger than what the band is doing today, and utterly blows away anything that Helloween did in the entirety of the 90's. Though to be fair, the departure of Kai wasn't exactly the band's doing, nor was that of Ingo's mental anguish. But the extreme difference in musical quality between the likes of Walls of Jericho and Better than Raw is definitely notable, and quite easy to notice.

Like pretty much every Helloween release, save for Chameleon, Walls of Jericho is rooted in power metal. Only, this time it was different. Unlike Rabbits Don't Come Easy or Better than Raw, Helloween's debut album was very new, very fresh. At this point there was only one band playing a similar style to these ambitious Germans. This band was Iron Maiden, and even then, Helloween played at a much faster, more aggressive pace. Indeed, speed plays an important role in the music, though it is by no means the basis of Helloween's sound. No, like their British influences, Helloween is a very well rounded band. Their twin guitar tandem of Hansen and Weikath combines the necessary speed, heaviness, aggression, and melody to make any metal head smile. And there will be smiling all around as listeners travel scale the Walls of Jericho. Right from the beginning it is evident that both Kai and Mike have talent, play with the best of them, and not look out of place. The two combine to produce seemingly effortless harmonies, crushing Germanic riffs, and screaming solos that'll have fans headbanging furiously. It's that good. Pretty much every full length song has some infectious occasion where Kai Hansen and Mike Weikath show their skills, as Walls of Jericho is an extremely consistent album. This consistency is evident with such memorable tracks like Murderer, Walls of Jericho/Ride the Sky, Gorgar, and Heavy Metal is the Law.

Another characteristic that the album carries could just as easily be considered a curse, as it can be considered a blessing. This lies in the rawness of Walls of Jericho. The album is extremely raw, and seems to add to the fun that is Heavy Metal Is the Law or Phantoms of Death. Each member is still fairly easy to hear (though the bass is somewhat hard to recognize sometimes), and the raw, under produced nature of the album gives off a very metallic, if not sometimes chaotic, feel to it. Kai Hansen's vocals are perhaps the most affected by this trait. Today, Kai makes use of the production tools available to him, and is one of my favourite vocalists. But back on Walls of Jericho, his efforts are slightly different. One can detect traces of his modern vocal technique in this album, but at the same time, he sounds much more inexperienced (which he is, by the way). With that said, I still greatly enjoy his performance. Kai has a strong, charismatic voice and utilizes it excellently, bursting out with confidence and passion. Just check out Metal Invaders. Quite the enjoyable singer.

If you were reading carefully, you might remember me mentioning that people who know Helloween should not be surprised by the intro to the album. This is because Helloween is not a totally serious, all work no play, kind of band. Though new listeners might look at their name and think "HELL-oween? How metal of them!", reading the band's name as HELLO-ween wouldn't exactly be farfetched either. These crazy Germans have always tried to add a touch of humour to their music, and the Walls of Jericho album isn't at all different. For instance, the song Gorgar is about a pinball machine. If that doesn't convince you, there's always the chorus, which consists of "Gorgar will eat you!/GORGAR!/Man you'll never win!/ Gorgar will eat you!/GORGAR!/But you keep on playing/Hey!" Personally, I find light hearted material such as this very enjoyable (the chorus of Gorgar will never cease to make me giggle), and helps change up the mood. Perhaps some may not like this humorous approach, but I feel it's an important part of the band, and will continue to be important, as long as the track is still a quality song.

Though they might not be as good these days, back in their Kai Hansen era, Helloween was once a major player in metal. And with releases like Walls of Jericho, how could you not be? One of the very first power metal albums ever recorded, Walls of Jericho is a very good indicator of why Helloween is regarded so highly. Memorable melodies, plenty of shredding, strong rhythm, raw vocals, the German quartet looked to have a very bright future in store for them. Their fresh, new sound would have a very large inpact, especially in Europe, perhaps even more than they ever would have expected.

Recommended Tracks:
Walls of Jericho/Ride the Sky
Gorgar
Heavy Metal is the Law
Victim of Fate

Gorgar will eat you! GORGAR!



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user ratings (327)
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other reviews of this album
Matthijs van der Lee (4)
Helloween improve on their basis and release an excellent full-length debut....

peruviantrooper (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
October 31st 2006


3709 Comments


Yeah so happy Halloween or whatever.

...Somebody had to do it. :pThis Message Edited On 10.31.06

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 31st 2006


3709 Comments


Yeah, pretty much. Stick to their first 3.

ohcleverhansyou
October 31st 2006


885 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good review, good album. Power metal always makes me laugh a little, which is a good thing.

"Freshly Baked"
October 31st 2006


583 Comments


How festive. Great job.

Apocalyptic Raids
October 31st 2006


810 Comments


The best Helloween album.

Mikesn
Emeritus
November 1st 2006


3709 Comments


What did you think about the Keeper ablums?

Toltec7Arrival
July 21st 2007


55 Comments


The song Gaurdians is also a great tune.

TheHamburgerman
September 29th 2009


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Warrior is their best song they've ever made

Jozua
July 7th 2011


8 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album...great melodies!

TheNotrap
August 5th 2011


8073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Kay Hansen isn't the best singer in the world but I really like how these songs sound with his high tuned vocals. All songs are great here but my favourites are Ride the Sky, Guardians, Phantoms of Death, Gorgar and How Many Tears.

An absolute speed metal classic.

Digging: Lago - Tyranny

TheNotrap
December 8th 2011


8073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

HOW MANY TEARS FLOW AWAY
TO BECOME A SEA OF FEARS


linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2012


1878 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This debut album should definitely be owned by those who love heavy/power metal, and perhaps listened to on a consistent basis. I say this because, whether you agree with their satirical themes or not, Helloween is one band that never compromises with their fans' wishes. 'Chameleon' and albums alike that one will no doubt have made many a metal heart break, but like i say, helloween have always been a band of experimentation. Their debut therefore is the least experimental, yet in my eyes it is also one of their best. The powerfual riffage on songs such as the absolute stormer 'Ride the sky', the anthemic 'Victim of Fate' and all-round nonsensical 'Gorgar', shows how this band was already taking the world by the horns. Of course the vocals is why I ca not give the rating any higher than a 4-simply because however much i try to ignore Hansen's voice, it just looms over the music, not seeming to fit in at all. However, the other instruments are handled much better (apart from the bass which in my opinion, could have been a bit higher in the mix), and even contribute to arguably one of the best metal debut albums of all time.

Digging: Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

KILL
April 14th 2012


71795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great album

TheNotrap
April 14th 2012


8073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Rules hard.

Tyrael
April 14th 2012


20879 Comments


traps hard

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

facupm
December 28th 2012


7718 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

RIDE THE SKY, GIVE ME WINGS TO FLYYYY

foxxxythnksustnk
January 18th 2013


2132 Comments


'In the late 1980s, due to a manufacturing error, on side one of several cassette copies of Walls of Jericho accidentally contained the music of Celtic Frost's To Mega Therion, confusing many first-time Helloween listeners.'
fukin lol

DoctorMike
March 30th 2013


51 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

HOW MANY TEARS FLOOOW AWAAAYYYYY

Dragonforce89
July 30th 2013


331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is interesting cause its not a album people talk about so much, i love this album its so different from other Helloweenalbums.

warlordfun
August 16th 2013


389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A speed metal classic..



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