HELLOWEEN – The Time Of The Oath [Expanded Edition]

HELLOWEEN - The Time Of The Oath [Expanded Edition]


Sanctuary Records
Release date: May 16, 2006

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Welcome to part seven of a series of eight total reviews that Metal Express Radio will post covering each of the recently released Helloween “Expand Edition” CDs. 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 single B-Sides, remixes, and live renditions.

Part seven of this “mini-series” focuses on the Expanded Edition of 1996’s The Time Of The Oath release. Just like the other USA re-releases in this series, the packaging is a glossy, heavy-duty cardboard sleeve that engulfs the plastic jewel case. The front and back of the sleeve contains artwork from the original LP sleeve. The back of the sleeve also contains the track listing, including the bonus tracks.

The solid offering of 1994’s Master Of The Rings release, with new vocalist Andi Deris and new drummer Uli Kusch, helped rekindle the smoldering fires left behind by Chameleon with Helloween fans old and new. Helloween regained more momentum by following that up two years later with The Time Of The Oath, which turned out to be a great release on its own. The band brought back a familiar face in Tommy Newton, this time as sole producer and mixer. This release turned out to be darker and slightly heavier than its predecessor. Its concept was based on the prophecies of the 16th Century Frenchman, Nostradamus. Nostradamus, as you might recall, is said to have predicted the death of the Popes, rise of tyrants, etc. With Deris showing his talents by contributing musical and lyrical content on Master Of The Rings, The Time Of The Oath sees drummer Kusch putting in his two cents on three tracks, making for a release that was well-represented musically and lyrically.

The Time Of The Oath produced three singles: the title track, “Forever And One (Neverland)” and the fan favorite “Power.” The majority of the tracks had that Helloween intensity and power drumming that early fans had become accustomed to hearing. Right from the start with “We Burn,” it was evident that Helloween were back with a vengeance (even though the bizarre opening with whistling and organ grinding might have worried some). From the Judas Priest inspired “Steel Tormentor,” to the nine-minute opus “Mission Motherland” with it massive riffs, it was all great music. Who cares if “Anything My Mama Don’t Like” didn’t turn out completely as the band had intended? It’s still a catchy, almost Pink Cream 69-ish track that one can bang their head to! Weikath has said that a lot of work went into putting this record together, and in the end it showed!

This particular re-release edition is a two disc set that includes eight bonus tracks stemming from two Japanese bonus tracks, and the remaining six from the B-sides of three singles released for the original album. One track is a commendable cover of Judas Priest’s “Electric Eye.” From end to end, the bonus disc contains some very solid tracks, even though two tracks are ballads and the track “Rain” comes across a bit weak. Nevertheless, the disc should be perceived as definitely a “bonus,” literally worth owning all on its own.

Once again, highest marks for the liner notes. This one is a 12-page booklet that includes the original LP cover on the front page and a reprint of the vinyl album’s original jacket sleeve. Like the previous Expanded Editions, this one contains another 2006 interview with guitarist Weikath, offering insight into the band during this time frame. The liner notes contain reprinted lyrics for all of the original LP tracks (you will probably need a magnifying glass to read them though), and credits for each set of tracks.

Bottom line, this album which is darker and heavier then its predecessor, Master Of The Rings, was a great follow-up with each of the twelve tracks being solid (even the two perceived as “ballads”). The album renewed interest in the band, it put them “back on the map,” and serves as an early look into what the Deris-era Helloween was to become. Along with the solid eight track bonus disc, almost an album in itself, this package becomes a “must buy” for even avid Helloween fans.


Andi Deris – Vocals
Roland Grapow – Guitar
Michael Weikath – Guitar
Markus Grosskopf – Bass
Uli Kusch – 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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