HELLOWEEN – Pink Bubbles Go Ape (Expanded Edition)


Sanctuary Records
Release Date: April 25, 2006

User Review
10/10 (1 vote)

Welcome to Part IV of a series of eight total reviews that Metal Express Radio will post covering each of the newly released Helloween “Expand Edition” CDs. For the unknowing, the first eight full-length albums 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 IV of this “mini-series” focuses on the Expanded Edition of Pink Bubbles Go Ape. The USA re-release version has glossy packaging, and a heavy-duty cardboard sleeve that engulfs each CD case. The front and back of each sleeve contains artwork from their respective original LP sleeves. Like the others, the back of this sleeve also contains the track listing, including the bonus tracks.

Helloween’s rapid success hit a brick wall when Kai Hansen decided to leave the band at the end of the 1988 world tour. Enter replacement guitarist Roland Grapow who took the “bull by the horns” and wrote two songs for this unjustly criticized release. Perhaps this release was a “victim of circumstance” from the get-go. It certainly had a lot of potential to create instant negativity in the Press and by fans before even being spun for the first time, considering a key writer, in Kai Hansen, was not going to be on it, the strange title (Pink Bubbles Go Ape), and perhaps the bizarre photographic artwork on the cover, which was devoid of pumpkins, mythological figures, skeletons, etc. Perhaps also, once the music was heard for the first time, perhaps humorous (oh, but awfully infectious) tracks like “Heavy Metal Hamsters” were completely misunderstood and kept the fans away?

The quandary here is why didn’t fans truly embrace the melodic power behind “Kids Of The Century,” or the double-bass pumping hook in “Back On The Streets,” or the somewhat (now) popular “The Chance?” These certainly fell in line with past Helloween offerings. Why was the anthemic “Goin’ Home” overlooked along with the hyper-fueled “Someone’s Crying”? How about the mini-opus “Mankind,” which certainly had some merit with its Symphonic opening, eerie keyboards, and massive guitar riff lines, all flowing into a nice up-tempo chorus. Like Mr. Owl said in the old 70’s Tootsie Roll commercial … “The world may never know.” Sure, the release wasn’t as strong as its three predecessors, but it’s by no means as awful as some had made it seem.

This particular re-release edition is a single disc edition that includes four bonus tracks. The first two being B-sides of the totally out of character “Blue Suede Shoes” and decidedly sugar-coated “Shit And Lobster.” Both tracks are from the Kids Of The Century singles (10 and 12 inch), and probably won’t garner much replay even today. Also included are the original B-sides of the balladry “Les Hambourgeois Walkways” track, and the more typical Helloween-sounding “You Run With The Pack” from the Number One single. Certainly three of the four are for diehard Helloween fans only. All remastered tracks sound clean and show no signs of aging!

Once again, highest marks for the liner notes. This one includes 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.
Missing are:
Reprints of any original album reviews (understandable given the lackluster press support for the original release),
Reprinted lyrics for all tracks,
credits for each set of tracks, and
The original LP version’s back cover reprinted on this booklet’s back cover!
Actually, without all the extra, printed articles of “praise,” they were able to enlarge the font (compared to the previous three re-released editions) used to print the Weikath review.

Bottom line, this re-release contains an underwhelming low number of quality bonus tracks. Given the low sales of the original album, it might have been beneficial to include more bonus tracks here to entice hardcore fans into a buy. Perhaps that speaks for the era when the original album was released (low sales support, fewer singles). Even so, it should be considered a “strong buy” for Helloween newcomers. The original LP was the victim of some unjust negative criticism … it really is a worthwhile Helloween release to own, especially on CD!


Michael Kiske – Vocals
Roland Grapow – 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.

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