When you hear the term “power metal”, or more specifically “European Power Metal”, Helloween has to be one of the first bands that come to mind, largely due to the impact of this particular album (and its companion piece Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1). Both albums completely reestablished both the band’s sound as well as the whole idea of what power metal was all about. This is due largely to Kai Hansen adopting a more epic approach to his songwriting (as opposed to the Judas Priest style thrashers on Walls of Jericho) as well as the addition of vocalist Michael Kiske, who brought a powerful yet melodic aspect to Helloween’s sound.
I don’t think the impact of the Keeper albums can be overstated. In the years since they were originally released, their sound has been adopted, adapted, and flat out imitated by countless bands. Without Helloween, there would be no Blind Guardian, no Rhapsody, no Edguy, at least not as we now know them. Listen to songs like Eagle Fly Free, I Want Out, Save Us, and the epic title track, and you hear the foundations for the next two decades of power metal. Heck, just about every song on this album has been covered countless times by a whole host of artists.
That said, why on earth has it taken 20 freaking years to get remastered versions of the Keeper albums? In an age where even the most recent bands keep reissuing their albums, we had to go way to long without a sonically improved Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II. Well, Sanctuary finally got around to the job last year, and they certainly did it right. In addition to digitally remastered sound, you get a second CD containing 5 bonus tracks. The remixed versions of existing songs don’t add much, but adding the b-sides Savage, Livin’ Ain’t No Crime, and Don’t Run For Cover was a nice touch. You also get expanded liner notes, photos, etc. plus a nifty slipcase for the disc.
This is what a remastered version of a classic album is supposed to look and sound like. If you’re already a Helloween fan, it’s time to replace your old version. If you’re a power metal fan and for whatever reason haven’t heard Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II, you need to order this album now. It truly belongs in every power metal fan’s collection.