Like with any musical genre, it's hard to say exactly when power/metal really emerged, but the general consensus is that German band Helloween are the kings of the genre, and their second full length release, Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I
, remains the first 'true' power/metal album.
Their debut EP Helloween
, and debut full length Walls of Jericho
, both released in 1985, were set more in straight speed/metal, but the song "Guardians" from the latter gave a taste of the melodiousness that was to eventually become a feature of the genre, although it also demonstrated the shortcomings of guitarist Kai Hansen's vocals, so the band did the sensible thing and brought in Michael Kiske to take over the microphone for this album.
It could be tempting to say the album is a bit disappointing, considering its reputation, yet there's still plenty to like here, with such songs as "I'm Alive", "Twilight of the Gods", and "Future World" proving to be very catchy.
"Future World" also showcases the positive lyrics that Heavy Metal traditionally veers away from normally, but this style of music likes to embrace, although there does not seem to be much by way of fantasy lyrics that the album title and cover would suggest. It could also be said that "Future World" is where Kiske's singing gets a bit irritating, especially on the chorus.
One might be loath to say that the album is a bit too short, as one of the banes of 90s music was the grotesque overlength of so many releases from so many different artists, but maybe there could've been one or two more songs, and possibly cut down the length of the 13-minute "Halloween".
All the same, Keeper of the Seven Keys
is certainly an enjoyable listen, and it definitely set the ball rolling for what would eventually be a popular subgenre. Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor