Helloween - Rabbit Don't Come Easy

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Nuclear Blast
Catalog Number: NB1043
Format: CD
Total Time: 65:32:00

Helloween ? a band that has delivered so much ? Keepers I & II, The Dark Ride, Walls Of Jericho. Helloween ? a band that has delivered so little ? Pink Bubbles Go Ape, Master Of The Rings.

Whilst I announce here and now that the title of this album officially makes it into the worst album title EVER, this is also a very enjoyable, yet quite a broad, release. Following on from two exceptional albums (The Dark Ride and Better Than Raw; no, let's not include the turgid covers album Metal Jukebox nor the best-of Treasure Chest), Rabbit Don't Come Easy had a lot to live up to. Aside from key members leaving to another successful new-metal act in Masterplan, they had to then absorb new members into the band, guitarist Sascha Gerstner (Freedom Call) who replaced Roland Grapow, and Mickey Dee on drums who replaced Uli Kusch (although at this point I don't think they've finalised a full-time drummer). But let's face it, the band have faced plenty of departures before, so two more definitely shouldn't faze them.

To put it simply, this is the most Helloween-ish Helloween album they've done in a long time, harking back to the "glory" days of the Keepers albums. To my ears, and let's face it, there's a good chance I'm tone deaf, but Rabbit Don't Come Easy has a lot of The Dark Ride's darkness whilst bringing back a definite lighter, happier Helloween. Yes, it's happy, yes, it's dark, yes, it's cheesy at times (including the title!) and, would you believe, yes, it has pumpkins on it! Hooray! But Rabbit Don't Come Easy is a very good album.

In the past, Helloween have always managed to play musical chairs when it came to contributions of music and lyrics and this album seems especially segregated on some tracks, meaning that it is often quite noticeable who wrote which tracks. As an example, Sascha Gerstner's ("Sun 4 The World") tracks bring a very old-school Helloween feel whilst Andi Deris's tracks ("Never Be A Star," "Don't Stop Being Crazy") are very reminiscent of The Dark Ride whilst also being the most personal. Meanwhile, Michael Weikath covers a lot of territory, including one song originally written for The Dark Ride sessions ("Do You Feel Good?"). The most aggressive vocal track and one of the most diverse overall is "Liar," which sees everybody contributing ? this is as heavy Helloween as you're likely to hear.

You'll recall the wonderful conclusion to The Dark Ride, the title track, which rounded off that album perfectly. Well, they've done it again here with the epic number "Nothing To Say." Written by Weikath, this includes reggae-like beats that is totally off-the-wall and actually made my jaw drop when I heard it. Whilst it's not a favourite, it's a departure of sorts in many ways and an interesting element to this album.

The band were so great in the early days, mediocre in the early to mid 90s, and all they've done recently is quality power metal destined to ride the wave to success. Rabbit Don't Come Easy is testament to a band still able to make superior metal.

Released in Japan by Victor Entertainment (62323)

[This review originally appeared June 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Just A Little Sign (4:26) / Open Your Life (4:30) / The Tune (5:36) / Never Be A Star (4:11) / Liar (4:56) / Sun 4 The World (3:57) / Don't Stop Being Crazy (4:21) / Do You Feel Good (4:23) / Hell Was Made In Heaven (5:34) / Back Against The Wall (5:45) / Listen To The Flies (4:54) / Nothing To Say (8:27) / Japanese Bonus: Fast As A Shark (3:38)

Andreas Deris - vocals
John Ellerbrook - keyboards
Sascha Gerstner - guitar
Markus Grosskopf - bass
Michael Weikath - guitar


Rolf Kohler - background vocals
Olaf Senkbell - background vocals

Helloween (ep) (1985/1987)
Walls Of Jericho (1985)
Keeper Of The Seven Keys, Pt 1 (1987)
Keeper Of The Seven Keys, Pt 2 (1988)
Live In The U.K. (1989)
Keepers Live (1989)
Pumpkin Tracks (1989)
Pink Bubbles Go Ape (1991)
The Best, The Rest, The Rare (1991)
Chameleon (1993)
Master Of The Rings (1994/2001)
Mr. Ego (ep) (1994)
The Time Of The Oath (1996)
High Live (1996)
Better Than Raw (1998)
Pumpkin Box (1998)
Metal Jukebox (1999)
I Can (2000)
Mr. Torture (2000)
The Dark Ride (2000)
Treasure Chest (2002)
Treasure Chest Box (2002)
Rabbit Don't Come Easy (2003)
Keeper Of The Seven Keys ? The Legacy (2005)
The Singles Box (1985-1992) (box set) (2006)
Live In Sao Paulo (2007)
Gambling With The Devil (2007)

The Pumpkin Video (VHS/DVD) (1994/2000)
High Live (VHS) (1996)
Hellish Videos (DVD) (2005)
Live On 3 Continents (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: December 19th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website: www.helloween.org
Hits: 620
Language: english


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