The pumpkins are back! Now also signed by Nuclear Blast, the expectations were quite high on how "The Dark Ride" would sound (no, not because they are under contract there).
Well, what should I say, they sound more varied than ever, what might stem from the fact that the song-writing never had been better divided among the members. "Mr.Torture" starts out with surprisingly heavy guitars, a HELLOWEEN-typical catchy chorus and at some points senseless lyrics, just the way we want them to be. Also typical Pumpkin Metal are "All Over The Nations", "Mirror, Mirror..." and "Salvation", but there also are songs that you are not used to by the North Germans, like the quite dark "Escalation 666", the very mature sounding, slow-paced "The Departed (Sun Is Going Down)" or the lengthy title-track, which is somewhere between mid- and up-tempo, with a good choirs far beyond any nursery-rhyme-melodies. And the strange thing is that I like those songs even better than the traditional ones, but please don't ask me why...
But I've spared the highlight until the end: "If I Could Fly". Positioned in the slower mid-tempo, it excels with its nice melody-line and the wonderfully implemented piano-part, great song!
Varied as rarely before, at parts mature as never before, HELLOWEEN anno 2000 are raising the standard for themselves quite a bit, because the mixture and the quality are as high as they should be!