The second part of the groundbreaking Keeper Of The Seven Keys! Now EXPANDED, containing 3 must-have Bonus Tracks and Remastered, providing an improved sound quality to the original release of 1988.
To be fair (without being influenced by the love and respect I have for this album) PartII wasn’t as good as the first one, but it came pretty close and was also longer in length. Nevertheless, Keeper II is a record containing some of the most known power metal songs ever! The album continues with the same energy and atmosphere as PartI but with the majority of the songwriting coming from guitarist Weikath and a slightly more commercial feel. All in all a wonderful conclusion to the first part.
“Eagle Fly Free” is considered to be the best power metal song ever written. It is a fast paced number with thundering drums and comprises of dual guitar solos, melodic vocals and both a bass and a drum solo. “Dr. Stein” is a wonderful, melodic, funny (lyrics) and catchy heavy metal song. “March Of Time” is a technical, melodic and strong speed metal tune with an addictive and epic chorus. “I Want Out” is a catchy heavy metal song with a strong chorus that fulfills its purpose. “We Got The Right” is a strong power-ballad where Michael Kiske shines the most, delivering a breathtaking performance filled with melodic and high-pitched vocals.
The progressive title track is a musical journey into a fantasy world and a battle between good and evil. A balladry intro, a melodic chorus, many guitar solos, tempo changes, brilliant twin-guitar passages, one of Kiske’s most varying and powerful vocal performances and an epic ending round off this 13 and a half minute song. Overall Keeper has some magnificent ideas but it sadly can’t surpass the masterpiece “Halloween” from the previous album. “Save Us” is the perfect speed metal closer with some amazing guitar solos, intense drumming and an excellent Michael Kiske.
Bonus Tracks “Livin Ain’t No Crime” and “Savage” are the best of the bunch. The first is a catchy and optimistic melodic metal tune and the second follows a thrash metal approach and is the fastest track on the album.
Musically the album is characterized by mid-tempo and fast double-bass drumming, melodic and speed metal riffs, mindblowing guitar solos, excellent bass lines and outstanding vocals.
The production is slightly better than the first part, as the album sounds tighter and kind of clearer. The band sounds a bit tighter too compared to their previous release. Michael Kiske has surely glued in the band and his charismatic voice gives you the chills throughout the whole album (he sings higher than ever, hitting all possible notes with great precision)!
The only minor drawbacks are the track “Rise and Fall” which cannot by any means be considered a bad song, but doesn’t seem to fit here…and the fact that most of the song writing was done by Michael Weikath, who is an exceptional songwriter and guitarist but not as good as Kai Hansen.
This is a classic and groundbreaking record in the history shelves of metal, together with part I. A source of inspiration and influence to countless bands to follow. This is also the last chapter in the Hansen – Helloween (80’s) glorious era, from where onwards the band went downhill (in my opinion).
A MUST HAVE for any power/speed,heavy metal and open-minded hard rock fan.
(Be sure to check out “Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I” and “I Want Out: Live”)