We’re only two years removed from Helloween’s last record, and the Pumpkins are already back with another studio album. It’s incredible that not only are they so quick with new material, but that each album has plenty of songs, and it’s always good. The last two albums in particular have showed that the band isn’t just riding their 80s history, as they were two of the band's strongest efforts. For this reason, my expectations were absurdly high for “My God-Given Right”, and the band somewhat met them. On the whole, this record is not as consistent as their prior work, but on a song-by-song basis, some of the material is right up there with their best work.
Vocalist Andi Deris comes out as the big winner on this record, not only because his singing is as good as ever, but also because his songs are the best on this record. The three-track run of the title song, “Stay Crazy”, and “Lost In America”, all penned by Deris, are the three best songs on the album. While most tracks follow the classic Helloween formula (melodic lead guitars, awesome harmonies, fun and memorable choruses with silly lyrics), these songs do it the best. Along the way, there are some other surprises. “If God Loves Rock 'n' Roll” is lyrically hilarious, as it manages to get in a dig at bass players. “The Swing of a Fallen World” is perhaps the most unique track, largely because it has an unsettling rhythm. It’s quite a bit darker than your standard Helloween fanfare (at least at this point in their career), but it’s pretty effective in creating a haunting atmosphere.
The opening song “Heroes” is another prototypical Helloween offering. It isn’t their fastest work, nor their catchiest, but it’s almost exactly what you’d expect at this point. The following song, “Battle’s Won”, gets off to a bit of an awkward start, almost like the two songs weren’t transitioned properly, but it does quickly morph into something more enjoyable. One of the disappointing songs on this album is the closer, “You, Still of War”. At over 7 minutes, I was hoping for a “Nabataea”-like epic, but instead, it ends up being more of a straight forward Helloween song, just longer. Perhaps the chorus is a bit stranger and less distinctive than the other songs, but it certainly is not epic. Fortunately, the band has packed the album with bonus tracks (my copy isn’t anything other than the regular edition in Canada, but somehow it has two bonus tracks), and of the two, “Wicked Game” is an immediate winner. This song is a fast-paced adventure that is easy to sing along to after a single listen. It ends the album on a very strong note.
There isn’t too much more that needs to be said about “My God-Given Right”, primarily because it is a relatively predictable release. There’s nothing wrong with this (in Helloween’s case, I’d argue it’s a good thing), but this is the first time in a few years where I think they could have trimmed the fat a bit and released a very solid 45-50 minute album, and it would be just as good as their last two. Regardless of length, fans of the band will dig this album because there really are a lot of great tunes on it.
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"My God-Given Right"
"Lost In America"
4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott