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Gambling With the Devil

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Album Review

The unprecedented worldwide success of multinational British-based power metallers DragonForce has cast an unexpected light upon German speed metal trailblazers Helloween. Perhaps the first band to convincingly combine thrash metal intensity with the melody and majestic imagery of the NWOBHM, and by extension the blueprint upon which DragonForce based their "extreme power metal" style, Helloween were a heavy metal institution, but one that had very much fallen by the wayside upon the departure of classic-era singer Michael Kiske and founder/guitarist Kai Hansen in the mid-'90s. Singer Andi Deris has been a permanent fixture ever since, but the band has found stable lineups difficult to come by, and the quality of material has been equally inconsistent. Following 2005's Keeper of ghe Seven Keys: The Legacy, on which the band attempted to revive the style of their mid-'80s classics, Gambling with the Devil is a little more calculated. The appearance of Saxon mainstay Biff Byford on the intro track "Crack the Riddle" is all too foreboding, however: for all its enthusiasm, Gambling with the Devil is unbending, inelastic, and indulgent heavy metal. Far from offering something new to the genre, Gambling with the Devil's progressive elements act as a smoke screen for a genuine lack of ideas, typified in no small measure by the dull extended interlude wedged in the middle of otherwise wonderful ballad "Fallen to Pieces." Gambling with the Devil may satisfy the diehards, but new entrants would be well advised to stick to the earlier material.

Customer Reviews

No Gambling Here - Just Classic Helloween

As a Helloween fan for over 20 years and holder of all previous albums / singles I was eagerly awaiting this release. I was not to be disappointed. Following the narrative opener Crack the Riddle is Kill It, a pounding rock track with occasional Priest like lyrics from frontman Andi Deris demonstrating his vocal capabilities. The Saints is also good traditional fayre from Helloween though due to the overall quality of the album, is one of the weaker tracks, followed by As Long As I Fall - a catchy track in the same mould as If I Could Fly & Light The Universe. Slightly more commercial maybe, but this does not detract from it being a sing along song of quality which will be appreciated by more than just confirmed metalheads. Paint a New World is another rousing metal track to please all fans before the highlight of the album Final Fortune. A crackingly powerful, yet melodic and immediatley appealing song. Highlights continue with The Bells of the Seven Hells and Fallen to Pieces - both destined to become Helloween classics. I.M.E does not let the standard drop and Can Do It – and while perhaps not to everyones taste - still hit the mark as good metal tracks. Dreambound opens quietly but soon develops into a speedy and forceful song with pounding drums throughout. The standard album completes with Heaven Tells No Lies which is another very strong track though perhaps not to the very high level of those that proceed it. The deluxe edition contains another disk with two bonus tracks and two video tracks contained in a smart little digipack. The bonus tracks are Find My Freedom which is another pleasing, catchy song which immediately gets your attention and Seek the Night which is also listener friendly which gets better every time it is played. All in all a cracking album which continues the legend that is Helloween. Why have I only scored it as a four? The answer is that while I regard it as a definite purchase for both fans and those wanting to investigate the phenomenon, I cannot give it five stars as that would put it on a par with the Keeper of the Seven Keys Parts 1 & 2 - both of which are essential metal classics that have stood the test of time and remain at the pinnacle of all metal releases. Roll on 08 January in Kentish Town - just a real shame that they are not venturing further north.


I`ve really enjoyed Hellowen`s recent albums but I wasn`t prepared for something this good. I`d even say this is the band`s best work since the Keepers albums, full of fast, pounding, catchy power metal tunes. Sure there`s a couple of token ballads but even these aren`t all bad. One of the albums of the year.


The way the intro blends in to Kill It, and when it all kicks in - goosebumps! One of the best intros iv heard, and the album rocks all the way through. Absolutely essential!!!


Formed: 1984 in Hamburg, Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Alongside Switzerland's Celtic Frost and Sweden's Bathory, Germany's Helloween were possibly the most influential heavy metal band to come out of Europe during the 1980s. By taking the hard-riffing and minor-key melodies handed down from metal masters like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, then infusing them with the speed and energy introduced by the burgeoning thrash metal movement, Helloween crystallized the sonic ingredients of what is now known as power metal. Sadly, just as they were on the verge...
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