Unarmed (Best of 25th Anniversary)
Style: Power Metal
Release date: January 29th 2010

Time flies. It's been 25 long years since Helloween helped kick-start the Power Metal genre. To help celebrate this anniversary the band has released this 'Best of' compilation: "Unarmed." Nothing unusual until now. Helloween, however, have decided to do things differently by re-recording a selection of their more well-known songs with totally different musical arrangements.

Thus 'Dr. Stein' has a saxophone replacing the guitar, 'I Want Out' features a children's choir, 'Fallen To Pieces' is given a Cool Jazz rendition.....yes, I did say different. But does this album work or are the songs simply wearing an emperor's new clothes?

At first it felt disorienting to hear the Helloween classics redone so radically but having overcome that feeling, I discovered that some of them actually work quite well. For example in a 17-minute medley inspired by their 'Keeper Of The 7 Keys' epic, the orchestrations are quite good and fit seamlessly with the more 'Rockier' parts of the composition. In a version of the song much more melancholic than the original, I quite enjoyed 'A Tale That Wasn’t Right'. Other newer versions, however, just fall flat. An unplugged version of 'Future World' sounds insipid. 'Eagle Fly Free' here sounds awful. Idem for '‘Dr Stein'.

Therefore "Unarmed..." is a mixed bag. It is obviously something for the fans although I do suspect there will also be several who'll think their favourite Helloween songs are being raped.

Also of potential interest to Helloween fans is the existence of a limited edition of "Unarmed..." (on which this review was based) - an attractively presented digi-pack featuring the album plus a bonus DVD. Included within the latter are guitarist Michael Weikath and singer Andi Deris explaining the story behind each of the songs in this album with snippets of the band in the recording studio. There's also a video-clip of the "Unarmed..." version of 'Dr Stein'. Interesting bonus, if occasionally repetitive.


01. Dr Stein
02. Future World
03. If I Could Fly
04. Where the Rain Grows
05. The Keeper’s Trilogy (Medley)
06 . Eagle Fly Free
07. Perfect Gentleman
08. Forever Free09 I Want Out
10. Fallen To Pieces
11. A Tale That Wasn’t Right

Bonus DVD
01. Making Of “Unarmed”
02. Making Of ‘Dr Stein’
03. Videoclip ‘Dr Stein’
04. Unarmed - 25th Anniversary - The Interview

Label: Sony Music
Distribution: Sony Music
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: July 24th 2010
Website: www.helloween.org