Album 0017: Helloween – Unarmed – Best Of 25th Anniversary

Release Date: 2009
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Dr. Stein (04:00)
2. Future World (04:13)
3. If I Could Fly (03:29)
4. Where The Rain Grows (05:11)
5. The Keeper’s Trilogy (17:07)
6. Eagle Fly Free (03:51)
7. Perfect Gentleman (04:20)
8. Forever And One (Neverland) (04:25)
9. I Want Out (04:22)
10. Fallen To Pieces (03:28)
11. A Tale That Wasn’t Right (04:48)
12. Why? (03:35)

Total Length: 01:02:51

This album is a collection of redone songs the band did in new styles to reinvent the songs. It’s a really neat idea instead of a basic ‘best of’ album. I couldn’t believe this version of Dr. Stein when I first heard it. It’s so amazing, the big band atmosphere translates so well for this song, and the arrangement is amazing. It’s unreal. Hell, I would even say I prefer this to the original. The only complaints against it kind of apply to the whole album. The vocals have this odd phasing on them for some reason, and the whole album isn’t done big band style. That’s not to say it needed to be, but very few other interpretations on this album reach the level of this song. Future World is actually one of my favorite songs from the band, and this style is kind of just a slower acoustic version, which isn’t terribly interesting.

If I Could Fly takes full use of the opportunities for more production this album provided. The song is sort of similar to the original, but they just added so many neat layers with the keyboards. Where The Rain Grows actually sort of takes a country approach, of sorts. I like what they did with the chorus, but the verse is just boring. The Keeper’s Trilogy is most definitely the centerpiece of the album, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the very idea of making this track caused this entire album to happen. It is a mix of the three Keeper songs from the band’s history, and is just fantastic. It uses a 70-piece orchestra mixed with the band’s usual drumming and vocals, but not heavy guitar or bass. It is a different mood the band has never explored before and it works fantastically. My favorite part is the middle section, but it is all fantastic.

I have a similar view of Eagle Fly Free as I did with Future World. The original was brilliant, but this one is just okay. I do give more credit to this song though, I do enjoy the arrangement and the female vocals. Perfect Gentleman definitely gets a country vibe in here, and it works as a sort of funny thing. The slower pace of the song feels a bit sluggish though. Forever And One (Neverland) is a song where I’d say this new version improves upon it. It’s similar, but the added production here makes it soar. I Want Out is yet another one where I feel they took the wrong approach with it. It’s still a good song, and that shows, but I prefer the original and this one doesn’t capture that feel.

Fallen To Pieces is the song I’m most unfamiliar with, and it sounds pretty good here. I enjoy it. A Tale That Wasn’t Right is a fantastic way to end the album (the last track is a bonus track). This is the only other song they chose to use the orchestra on, and it is well worth it. This feels like something from a Disney movie, to be honest. Andi Deris’ singing on it is great as well. The combination of both just really gets to me, and it builds so well. The original is very different in pace and tone, but I think I like this one better. Why? gets more a rock vibe, and has some cool instrumentation. I enjoy this song, but it actually feels like it is: a bonus track.

In the end, I really do love this album and am glad it exists. It’s much better than some regular ‘best of’ album. I only feel like there were some missed opportunities in this. A few of the songs are absolutely brilliant, while some others simply feel like replacing the electric guitars with acoustic guitars. If the album had been just a bit more expansive and exploratory it would have been unbelievable.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

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