Helloween - Walls Of Jericho (Expanded Edition) - 2006 - Sanctuary Records
DISC ONE 1. Starlight 2. Murderer 3. Warrior 4. Victim Of Fate 5. Cry For Freedom 6. Walls Of Jericho 7. Ride The Sky 8. Reptile 9. Guardians 10. Phantoms Of Death 11. Metal Invaders 12. Gorgar 13. Heavy Metal (Is The Law) 14. How Many Tears 15. Judas
DISC TWO 1. Murderer 2. Ride The Sky 3. Intro/Ride The Sky 4. Guardians 5. Oernst Of Life 6. Metal Invaders 7. Suprise Track
We begin our coverage of the new Helloween remasters with what is arguably the first real speed metal album to come out of Germany. The verdict is still out on which German band you could pinpoint as being the founder of the speed metal sound. Most will say Helloween, some will say Kreator, Destruction, or even Accept. I will simply say that "Walls Of Jericho" was a sonic affair that held listeners in check with a swashbuckling guitar sound that seemed out of this world at the time. Lightning quick rompers like "Murderer" and "Ride The Sky" just skyrocket to hyperspace, leaving other bands at the time seemingly standing still. Led by the guitar blasts and vocals from one Kai Hansen, "Walls Of Jericho" is a classic album that is held in high regards by both metal fans and scholars.
Castle Music begins their "Expanded Edition" re-issue series of the Helloween back catalogue with the band's debut from 1985. This special re-mastered issue of the record also includes the "Judas" EP that is normally packaged with this release. I will say that I believe this release has been re-issued twice thus far, however, this is the first time that we have new liner notes, additional photos from that era of the band's history, as well as special "remixes" that are simply reworkings of some of the album's tracks. I find the photo history of the group very revealing, showing off the original Helloween EP cover as well as some zine articles and reviews from that era. Like the other re-issues of this series, this one features a print interview between Dave Ling of Metal Hammer/Classic Rock and Michael Weikath. Here are some of my favorite parts of that interview:
In regards to being tagged as speed metal Weikath says, "Yeah. Were the people who said that deaf? That's like saying Jesus was a woman. Real speed metal bands Agent Steel and Savage Grace were good and they were fast, but they lacked melody. We were very career-oriented and knew that mixing us up with those bands worked against us."
Ling: Is "Walls Of Jericho" a record you're still proud of?
Weikath: "Yes, I think so. When we made it, we tried to copy the production of the Malice album "In The Beginning". That was our fantasy. I admit that we failed. Harris Johns said what we got to listen to compare the sound we wanted to achieve was a tape recording of the production that Malice had achieved, and one can sure not rely on that."
It was after this record that the band broke big globally. From here the sails were set with the "Keepers" albums one and two, eventually leading the band to some strange ground with "Pink Bubbles Go Ape" and "Chameleon". I will still stick to my guns and continue to say that this album, "Master Of The Rings", and "Better Than Raw" are the best three Helloween records to date.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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