HELLOWEEN – Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II (Expanded Edition)

HELLOWEEN - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II


Sanctuary Records
Release Date: January 30, 2006

User Review
10/10 (1 vote)

Welcome to part three of a series of eight total reviews that Metal Express Radio plans to post covering each of the newly released Helloween “Expand Edition” releases. For the unknowing, the first eight full-length releases by Helloween have been re-released as remastered, expanded edition CDs by Sanctuary Records. Each edition includes several bonus tracks consisting of B-Sides, remixes, and live renditions.

Part three of this “mini-series” focuses on the Expanded Edition of Keeper Of the Seven Keys Part II. For this particular review, the International version of the re-release is being covered as only six of the eight re-releases have currently been issued in the USA. Metal Express Radio felt it was important enough to review the series as a whole in chronological order, hence the substitution. One minor difference between the International versions and the USA editions is the packaging. The glossy, heavy-duty cardboard sleeve that accompanied a plastic CD case with the USA versions had replaced the glossy, heavy-duty cardboard, quad-fold out case that is included with the earlier released International versions. Nevertheless, the front and back of this case still contains artwork from the original vinyl LP’s sleeve. The back also contains the track listing, including the bonus tracks.

Helloween was rapidly becoming a big name act after their first two full-length albums, which were destined to become classics. Unfortunately, stardom is not always without its aggravations as the band found out in 1988, during and after the release of Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II. Early on, the headaches started with the record label’s firing of co-producer Tommy Hansen. The other co-producer, Tommy Newton, precipitated the rash action. Newton felt that Hansen was holding him back from making the mix on this release sound more “modern,” which resulted in Keeper Part II sounding cleaner, somewhat thinner, and brighter than its predecessor release. When the album reviews started coming, the band took offense to being crowned the “next Iron Maiden,” and Kiske was put off by vocal style comparisons made to Tate, Dickinson, and Diamond. To make matters worse, the end of that same year (1988) saw co-founder Kai Hansen leave the band due to “internal differences and various personal bashings.”

Musically, from the fan’s perspective, the band could do no wrong. Fans to this day embrace the high throttled “Eagles Fly Free,” “You Always Walk Alone,” “March Of Time,” (Ingo once again making his presence known on the drums … he was severely underrated in those days) and “Save Us.” Then there are the fan-proclaimed favorites “Dr. Stein” and the Arena Rock-infested chorus of “I Want Out,” both tracks with commercial nuances. Even the slightly more commercial, yet very catchy, “Rise And Fall,” has merit. Of course, who could forget the thirteen-minute opus “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” with it’s multiple tempo changes and following debates over it being better or just as good as “Halloween” from Keeper Part I? Sure, this release shared some similarities with its predecessor release, but fans didn’t (and don’t) care when music is as strong as this!

This particular edition is also a two-disc edition. Depending on one’s point of view, remastered disc one might be considered the “original” full-length version of Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II. The debate concerns the tenth track, included here, in “Save Us,” which was actually not on the original 1988 European vinyl or cassette tape versions. Disc two, on the other hand, includes five bonus tracks. The first being Kiske B-sides of the Thrash-infested “Savage,” and “Livin Ain’t No Crime” with its Sweet-infested chorus. Both tracks are from the Dr. Stein EP. Additionally, there’s a Kiske B-side of the rather generic “Don’t Run For Cover” from the I Want Out EP. Included also are remixed versions of “Dr. Stein” and “Keeper Of The Seven Keys,” both from the 2002 Treasure Chest release. The last two probably only having value to the avid Helloween fan. All remastered tracks sound clean and show no signs of aging!

Once again, highest marks for the liner notes. This one is also a 12-page booklet that includes: the original LP cover on the front page, a reprint of the vinyl album’s original jacket sleeve, a short Helloween biography up to and including this CD’s release, another interview with guitarist Weikath that offers insights into the band’s history during this era, a few original album reviews reprinted including the 5K (star equivalent) review from Kerrang! Magazine, reprinted lyrics for all tracks, credits for each set of tracks, and it all ends with the original LP version’s back cover reprinted on this booklet’s back cover! Tiny font aside, it’s another wonderful booklet. Also included is a second copy of the separate, fold-out family tree of the band and its members, which came with the Expanded Edition of Keeper Part I.

Bottom line, a little more value for your Euros, Dollars, etc., here, compared to the Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I: Expanded Edition. With five (or six) bonus tracks (based on your view), this edition should appeal to all Helloween fans. It should be considered a “must buy” for Helloween newcomers or the uninitiated, especially since it rounds out The Keeper series (at least as far as the 80’s were concerned), and is the third of a set that most Helloween fans consider, in horse racing terms, a “box trifecta!”


Michael Kiske – Vocals
Kai Hansen – Guitar
Michael Weikath – Guitar
Markus Grobkopf – Bass
Ingo Schwichtenberg – Drums


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.