Helloween released their 15th studio album, My God-Given Right, on May 29, 2015 through Nuclear Blast. This is the seventh consecutive Helloween album produced by Charlie Bauerfeind. The band on this album consists of Andi Deris (lead vocals), Michael Weikath (guitars), Sascha Gerstner (guitar), Markus Grosskopf (bass), and Daniel Löble (drums).
Heroes kicks off the album in good old Helloween speed metal manner with typical melodies and guitar riffs. The spherical keyboard sounds are a good addition, too. The chorus hook line “Everyone can be a hero” gives an anthem-like feel to the song, which in combination with the uptempo makes Heroes a good opener.
Battle’s Won, another uptempo metal song, is the perfect continuation. The melodically ‘very’ happy chorus seems somehow odd the first time around, but my ears adjusted and started liking it quite fast. Brave but good songwriting there.
The title-track of the album, My God-Given Right, comes with all the most classic metal song attributes: Dramatic hooks and melodies, heavy riffs, double-bass action, harmonious choruses, and a good guitar solo. The only part that I wish could to be more elaborated is the C-part before the last chorus. Such a strong song deserves a better C-part.
Stay Crazy is a slower song, which makes sense at this point of the album. A good metal rock song with good arrangements. The lyrics in the chorus seem a bit too cliché (and odd for that matter). Otherwise, the song is strong. Especially the harmonic guitar solo at 2:54 underlined with double-bass drumming is a highlight.
Lost In America enters with a very cool guitar lick. The way the song tells the story of being lost in America is quite mesmerising. I can’t really explain why or how but the song is extremely catchy in many different ways, musically, lyrically, emotionally. My favourite song on the album thus far.
Russian Roulé is characterised by maybe the strongest guitar riff so far. The danceable tempo and groove are really cool – yes, cool, because that is the best definition for it. The harmonic screams in the chorus are another fabulous and unique attribute of the song, and so are the choirs in the interlude in the middle of the song. The extreme melodramatic guitar solo opens up the song. With Lost In America my favourite track so far.
The Swing Of A Fallen World introduces the song with a sluggish and shuffled 6/8th beat – maybe the heaviest guitar riff so far. The lyrics sound much less cliché than with the first few songs of the record. At this point, the album has reached a much higher level in regard to songwriting. Furthermore, the arrangements are much cleverer. This is another favourite of mine.
Like Everybody Else starts in a more balladesque way – (almost) clean guitar and smooth singing. I think we have our first ballad of the album. Beautiful rock melodies lead us through this refreshing song.
After the 1 and a half minute intro, Helloween introduces us to another typical speed metal anthem, Creatures In Heaven. Its fast-pace, as well as the harmonious melodies and guitar licks remind me of Helloween’s Keeper of the Seven Keys albums, which to this day are among my most-listened to albums. I consider Creatures In Heaven is an instant metal classic.
If God Loves Rock ’N’ Roll is a danceable heavy rock tune with yet another strong anthem-like chorus. The only question here really is: Does God love Rock ’N’ Roll? 😉
The lyrics to Living On The Edge seem cliché in the beginning but finds a way to speak to the listener – at least to me. The song tells the story of a kid that lost his way, which somehow reminds me of Skid Row’s 18 & Life. The music underlines the mood of the lyrics very well. And the guitar solo has one of the nicest melodic bows on this album. Good stuff.
Claws opens with what I can only describe as kick-ass rough power! And the song keeps on kickin’ butt big time with very busy drumming throughout the verse. An interesting selection of chords at different points in the song make Claws a candidate for the harmonically most interesting song of the album.
The closing song of the album is You, Still Of War. The song starts with guitars and vocals before entering into a heavy groove-based verse. The melodic chorus underlined by uptempo double-bass and subliminal keyboards are typical of Helloween, just the way we like it. Also the lyrics, “I spread my wings and fly” remind me of “Eagle Fly Free” from Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2. You, Still Of War is the perfect ending song for My God-Given Right. The song stands for everything Helloween has been standing since the 1980s: Speed metal, heart-breaking melodies, tearing anthems. One of the best songs on the album.
In my humble opinion
Yes, it’s Helloween’s God-Given Right to provide us with some kick-butt metal music and they just did. Of course my expectation of Helloween is always very, vey high given the fact that in my opinion they have given us 2 of the most amazing metal albums of all times: Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1 and 2. Nonetheless, the band was able to mesmerise me quite a bit with My God-Given Right. I like the production and its context – great job on that. With some songs, I felt that the songwriting was not as complete as with other songs. Especially some C-parts of certain songs, like with the title-track, are lacking depth or creativity. In regard to musicianship there’s nothing to object. Great musicians and perfectly performed. Lyrics, well, some lyrics are too cliché for me, as mentioned above. Not cliché in a funny way, simply cliché – which I find odd, since Helloween has written some of the coolest lyrics in metal history. Nevertheless, this album deserves to be enjoyed and I can imagine the band will rock these songs also live on-stage.
Total grade 7.75/10