Helloween
Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II


2.5
average

Review

by Nagrarok USER (219 Reviews)
November 10th, 2009 | 26 replies


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Same formula, worse outcome.

The year is 1987. Helloween, a German band almost solely responsible for inventing the power metal genre with their recent and now-classic release Keeper of the Seven Keys (Part I), really have it going for them. Starting off with a great debut EP, working further up with the excellent Walls of Jericho, and yet they topping it all with their new album, they reinvented part of their sound for the best. Needless to say, expectations were exceedingly high in ’88, when the band would release their follow-up, obviously titled Keeper of the Seven Keys (Part II). There was a single question that kept the fans busy: could or could not Helloween match the quality of Part I?

In terms of popularity, it most certainly did. Sales were increasing for Helloween, and everyone was willing to eat up the same formula twice. Because not very surprisingly, Keeper II works just about the same as Keeper I. The structure is very comparable, with, amongst other similarities, both a similar intro and yet another 13-minute epic towards the end of the record.

There are a few notable differences, however, and in some ways the second part is nothing like the first. The most immediate change is the length. Where their previous effort had a running time of a mere 37 minutes, this album expanded it greatly with 54. A second crucial difference concerns song writing. As many may be aware of, founder and creative leader Kai Hansen left Helloween after this release, and that was not without reason. He felt he lost interest and control over his band, causing him to form Gamma Ray later, which lasted much longer for him. The effect Hansen’s stand had is already clearly visible on the second Keeper. Where almost all material on Part I was credited solely to him, Part II sees him credited for only 3 of 9 tracks. Second guitarist Weikath largely takes over here, allowing his writing to dominate the album whereas Hansen’s had dominated the other. But as had previously been shown with A Tale That Wasn’t Right, the weakest effort on the first part of the Keepers, Weikath was inferior as a writer. This is where the album’s problem ultimately arises.

It would be foolish to argue for this point entirely on the basis of one song, of course, but Weikath failed to equal Hansen once again, and this time he showed it on even more occasions. His melodies are not as catchy, his riffs are not as impressive, and his lyrics are far more cheesy, or just plain weak, and often form an annoyance factor for the track. He clearly tried to mimic Hansen: Eagle Fly Free is an all-too-obvious attempt to create another I’m Alive, and so is the title track, wanting to best Hansen’s prime epic Halloween. Weikath tried very hard, that cannot be denied, but fact is he needed some growing as a writer. The only moment he got close to greatness is the joke track Dr. Stein (quite sadly, yes, a joke track is one of his best moments). This results in far more filler. Part I may have been short, but everything was strong. Due to the weaker material on II, the album drags, and should have been cut down. In that case, it would still not have been as good, but at least it would have been above average if the more enjoyable tracks had been picked.

Vocalist Michael Kiske makes another solid contribution with You Always Walk Alone, similarly to what he did with A Little Time, but what really saves what is the disappointment that is Part II are the tree Hansen-penned tracks: March of Time, I Want Out and Save Us, of which the second is the best and most recognizable, and the only real Helloween classic on the album. That said, even Hansen failed to equal the likes of his earlier work such as I’m Alive and Future World, but seeing his loss of interest in the band, that is little of a surprise either.

What this album ultimately is, is Helloween failing to recreate their original quality, and after Hansen’s departure, it would only get worse. The second Keeper stands in shame next to its older brother, and despite some moments of promise, Helloween should have considered keeping it at a single Keeper of the Seven Keys. Part II is too lengthy, contains too much filler, and is far, far weaker as far as writing is concerned. Many fans view this as the other excellent part in the duo, but really, they should go ahead and open their ears to the truthful conclusion.

Yoda recommends:

I Want Out
Dr. Stein
March of Time
You Always Walk Alone


- Michael Kiske ~ Lead Vocals
- Kai Michael Hansen ~ Lead & Rhythm Guitar
- Michael Ingo Joachim Weikath ~ Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards
- Markus Grosskopf ~ Bass Guitar
- Ingo Schwichtenberg ~ Drums




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user ratings (743)
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Mikesn EMERITUS (4)
...

ollie_poole (4)
...

ReturnToRock (4.5)
A classic in the power metal genre, featuring one of the best vocalists to have ever gone through me...

sonictheplumber (2)
A major letdown....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
November 10th 2009


8609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Maybe I'll review more Helloween after this, but not now. This one is incredibly overrated.

EVedder27
November 10th 2009


6088 Comments


great Nag. pos'd.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 10th 2009


8574 Comments


great review bla bla bla pos

Nagrarok
November 10th 2009


8609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bla bla bla thank you both bla bla bla

BigHans
November 10th 2009


30680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I listened to both Part 1 and 2 yesterday, and 1 blows 2 out of the water.

Nagrarok
November 10th 2009


8609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty much my point Hans.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 10th 2009


8574 Comments


Maybe I'll review more Helloween after this, but not now.
yeah because you have my challenge to get to first ;)

Nagrarok
November 10th 2009


8609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Since you keep up with the new releases, why not rec me something to review? You know my taste pretty well I think.

Willie
Moderator
November 10th 2009


18405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review is good or I would have negged the shit out of you. I definitely don't agree with this so take your pos and shove it up your ass ;)

Nagrarok
November 10th 2009


8609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah, I was already waiting for someone to disagree with the rating since the sputnik-average is a 4. This is just a tiring listen despite some enjoyable moments. For me, at least.

XulOnerom
November 10th 2009


1818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

OMG!!! We disagree, I shall neg the shit out of you!!!!



Just kidding, great review. I actually prefer this one over Keeper One

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 10th 2009


8574 Comments


yay Willie being pseudo-mean to someone else for a change too hahahahaha.

Well Nag, tbh, i haven't kept up with new releases for a good 2 or 3 weeks now, I only reviewed that Shizit cuz Trey intorduced me to it and begged me to review it (didn't you now, honey ;)). Should get back on track starting next week though

FadeToBlack
November 10th 2009


11044 Comments


as far as I know the band inteneded to release one Keepers album, but the record label forced them to release it as 2 independent albums, so it's not suprising that they both sound similar lol

good review though bro

Willie
Moderator
November 11th 2009


18405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The first Keepers album had a few good songs, but this has multiple good songs (none as strong as "Halloween" or "Twilight of the Gods" though).

XulOnerom
November 11th 2009


1818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This one doesn't have a song that I don't like.



Keeper One has Future World... and I can't stand that song!!! Every Helloween fan that I've met loves it, but I hate it. I'd rather listen to the entire Chameleon album than that one

VTK
February 28th 2010


76 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

am I a weirdo if I like this more than pt. 1

scissorlocked
August 23rd 2010


3528 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

hey this is a wonderful album,maybe not as good as the first but still amazing



good review,although I disagree with you



Eagle Fly Free will always be a classic song,and imo weikath(for whom I don't have the biggest respect in this band) ,wrote a better opener than I'm Alive

mandan
February 17th 2012


13409 Comments


@Nagrarok: have you considered doing a Led Zeppelin, Rush or Iron Maiden discog??

ksoflas
October 25th 2012


1286 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Keeper 1 and 2 supposed to be a double cd release.That's why at the first part most of the songs are written by Kai and at the second part by Weiki.

It's really simple: if you prefer your music raw and fast you like Hansen's first part.On the other hand if melody and lyrism are your friends you choose Weikath's second part.My opinion is to see both keepers as "The Keeper" album,one of the most monumental releases ever!



Ps: your rating is a joke(with no taste at all...)

TheNotrap
October 25th 2012


13095 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Both Keepers are awesome, but this remains my favourite.



Nag is a damn good reviewer, but yes this rating is..let's say..way too harsh.

Digging: Blaze of Perdition - The Harrowing of Hearts



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