HELLOWEEN – Rabbit Don’t Come Easy


Nuclear Blast
Release Date: May 12, 2003

User Review
10/10 (1 vote)

I am not sure if the record company wants this review out there yet (we had to take down our last Kamelot review for more than a month), but with this album being available for download at certain places, why not give it a shot. (The review is based on a promo copy of the disc, by the way. No compressed MP3-files…)

Rabbit Don’t Come Easy, I am glad there is no title track, ha ha, is first of all Helloween’s best production ever. I am not saying best record, but their overall best produced disc so far. With Uli Kusch and Roland Grapow out the window (see the Masterplan review), guitarist Weikath, bassist Grosskopf (bighead) and melody maker and singer Andy Deris have easily (or not?) pulled a rabbit out of the hat that is their best effort since 1994’s Master Of The Rings. This year, the rabbits jump in the same direction, unlike with The Dark Ride from 2000. And that was my little issue with The Dark Ride, although it was a good record and diversity always is welcome, it simply sounded like a combination of three solo records. Rabbit… is with no doubt more a band effort, even though it incorporates a new guitar player, Sascha Gerstner, who used to handle strings for Freedom Call. Drums are mostly handled by Motorhead’s Mikkey Dee (to avoid speculations), and damn he grooves! (Old news, I know).

On to the songs; first up is the single “Just A Little Sign”, which is classic in your face Helloween and a song that redefines happy metal. It’s heavy, it’s ultra-melodic, and it’s a wise single choice saying “we’re back!” This song won’t leave your head any time soon. Next is a Gerstner composition, “Open Your Life”, and it is another hard hitting one much in the same vain. (I believe the tanned “blonde” singer had a little input even here). “The Tune” is a strange one at first, but give this Weiki-song “a little time”, and you will – and now I presume you already are a Helloween fan – really like this one as well. Weiki’s contributions are melody-wise very typical Helloween, but his songs this time are still slightly different to the band’s “formula”. It’s actually Weiki who makes the diversity, refreshens the band and makes the production interesting, and that is a compliment.

“Never Be A Star” reminds me a little of “Perfect Genleman” (can melodies be much better than that?), and I would guess this song is another potential hit single – written by Andi Deris. “Liar” is as heavy as Anna Nicole Smith, the first contribution from Grosskopf, who this time around really impresses me. Another one of his songs, “Hell Was Made In Heaven” is perhaps my current favorite on this record.

I am not going in depth on every song here. I described Weiki’s stuff, Andi Deris is as reliable as always (hell, I even hear something here and there that reminds me of “One Size Fits All” by Pink Cream 69, his former band and one of the best melodic hard rock bands ever), and Grosskopf? I told you. Gerstner has two credits (not bad for a new member), and although his songs are not among the very, very best, they certainly show that Helloween has found the right musician to fill Grapow’s shoes. Stefan Schwarzmann, formerly of U.D.O., Accept and Running Wild, is now the band’s new drummer, I might add.

So the German legends pulled the rabbit out of the hat, finally, and it was all worth the wait. This record shows that Helloween still can be counted on in years to come. Now if the band only can rehearse more (other) oldies into their live set…


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