Helloween has been one of my favorite bands ever since I bought “Keeper of the Seven Keys Part One” on cassette. While some band members have changed, my enjoyment of this band has not waned. “Better Than Raw” is an excellent album that any Helloween, or metal, fan is sure to enjoy. Starting off with a classical style opus, the album hits hard with the second song and doesn’t stop until the last one finishes. My personal favorite is “Lavdate Dominvm,” written entirely in Latin, with its great transitions between chorus and verses. I bought the extended version, which also contains the live version of “Perfect Gentleman,” one of my all time favorite Helloween songs.
Recorded at Chateau Du Pape and Crazy Cat Studios, Hamburg, Germany, and Mi Sueno, Tenerife, Spain. All tracks have been digitally remastered and features the 4 bonus tracks ’Back On The Ground’, ’A Game We Shouldn’t Play’, ’Perfect Gentleman’ & ’Moshi Moshi-Shiki No Uta’. Castle Music.
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This is the last of the Eight remastered Helloween albums. The album as it stood before was a very solid, hard hitting album that took Helloween into a darker, and more progressive sound that needed to occur for the band to mature, and move in a different musical direction. It stands as an early preview to what “The Dark Ride” was to be. Starting with the introductory instramental Deliberately Limited Preliminary Prelude In Z, to the last track Midnight Sun, this album is full of hard rock and thrash elements. Songs like I can and Hey Lord have a catchy anthem type vibe to add into the mix. For those who bought the album in Europe originally, this contains the US bonus track “A Game We Shouldn’t Play”. For other outside Japan who didn’t buy the bonus version there, or the single for Hey Lord, this has the tracks Back on the Ground and Moshi Moshi Shiki No Uta (live). Also a bootleg version of Hey Lord from the single is here to.
Nicely done with new slipcover sleave, and a full 16 page liner book with the continuation/conclusion of the 8 cd booklet interview/travel through time with Helloween members. Definately should pick this album up if you havn’t before.
To me this is one of my favorite Andy Deris era cd’s.I own all the cd’s.The song Revelation rocks and is the best one on the cd.A close second is Push and Hey lord!The guys put together a great cd for us fans to enjoy.You pretty much can listen to it all the way through and when you can do that you spent your money well.Now some will say how come i didn’t mention the song “I Can” with praise well i’m not a huge fan of Helloween’s hit songs like I Can, A Perfect Gentleman,Dr Stein,As Long As I Fall,and the corny Can Do It but i guess they have to write songs like that to keep the EXECUTIVES happy,but those songs don’t appear on this one except I Can.All Helloween fans must love this cd and you will too!Also check out The Time of the Oath That also rocks and you won’t be wasting your money!
So you loved the Keepers albums, kept buying the ones after that hoping they would come out with something decent, and was let down time after time again? You aren’t impressed with Andi Deris’s voice, or you heard “The Dark Ride” and “Rabbits Don’t Come Easy” and thought the songs were booooooriinng??? Don’t give up yet! Better Than Raw is definitely a break from the string of highly unsuccesful, bland, albums that Helloween has been cranking out in the 90’s. Ok, fine, so Keepers Pt. 3 was great, but it was not on par with Keepers 1&2. But this one is even better than Keepers Pt. 3. The music is definitely Heavy Metal, it is rough, has some progressive aspects to it, but there is also some variety.
The catchy songs “Hey Lord” and “I Can” really got me into the album. But the intense “Push” not only features some creative vocals from Deris, but is probably the high-point in songwriting for the album. Heavy, yet catchy. Not too distorted, and the vocals actually aren’t that bad! Revelations is the real proggy one, Time is a really different song with an acoustic intro that brought great dynamics to this album, and lets see…Laudate Dominum is this really cheesy happy latin power metal song that I ended up loving (then got sick of). A few boring tracks that I couldn’t get into such as Midnight Sun and Back on the Ground, but overall the songwriting is definitely a few notches up from other boring Helloween releases.
Originally released in 1998, Better than Raw is, in my humble opinion, the absolute best album Helloween has released since the classic Keeper of the Seven Keys albums. By bringing in former Pink Cream 69 vocalist Andi Deris to replace Michael Kiske, the band seemed to regain the focus and energy missing from the last couple of Kiske albums. All of the Deris-era Helloween albums are quite good, especially those released in the 1990’s, but Better than Raw stands out as the best of the bunch.
This is Helloween doing what they do best – delivering the kind of high-energy melodic power metal that they pretty much invented in the first place. Everything about this album, from the songwriting to the music to the cover art is an improvement over its predecessors. The album is full of strong tracks, though songs like Push, Hey Lord, I Can, and Midnight Sun stand out. This is the kind of album that would bring old-school Helloween fans back to the fold, and one of the only albums released since founding guitarist Kai Hansen left that is truly on par with his band Gamma Ray’s albums.
Sanctuary finally got around to remastering the Helloween catalog earlier this year, and they certainly did it right. In addition to digitally remastered sound, the reissued version of Better than Raw serves up 4 bonus tracks – Back on the Ground, A Game We Shouldn’t Play, and live versions of Perfect Gentlemen and the bizarrely titled track called Moshi Moshi-Shiki No Uta, which is essentially a 7-minute drum solo with some guitar soloing thrown in for good measure. You also get expanded liner notes, photos, etc. plus a nifty slipcase for the disc.
This is what a remastered version of a great album is supposed to look and sound like. If you’re already a Helloween fan, it’s time to replace your old version!