Let the controversy begin. This was the Mark III line up and Kai was already gone because he couldn't play nice with Michael Weikath. Now, Roland Grapow joins the ranks for what would be the first of a couple of duds in many people's and critics eyes. Personally. I have never heard the album until now. I don't even remember this one being released in the U.S., but it was.
Listening to that crappy guitar work on the title track/intro today and it reminds me of the theme song to Spongebob which I absolutely loathe to no end. Now, we enter "Kids Of The Century" and it's not so bad. Sure, it was poppy, but the guitar riffs were heavy and Ingo's drumming was just as solid as ever. The work on this track was just as good as the „Keeper“ discs. The only thing different here is that there are background/harmony vocals that make this song just a bit more sugary, but doesn't kill the overall song. "Back On The Streets" continues to be a solid composition with the low down and dirty guitar work, but Kiske's voice is really getting weak here. You can tell that he doesn't want to do the Metal thing anymore and instead would like to go for the lighter side of music. The chemistry here isn't the same and it shows. The solos on here prove to be effective and strong and quite frankly, if this was an instrumental, I would love it more.
Every song on here takes an interesting turn. "Number One" kind of has a PINK FLOYD feel. The catchy and consistent bass lick running through the track and the interesting atmosphere provided on here. The vocals are lacking, but what can you do about it. Once again the silly side of the band shows up on here with "Heavy Metal Hamsters." A stupid name and all, but I guess we can't have the serious Power Metal band all the time. I think a fire was lit under all the guys' asses as they have injected a ton of energy on "Someone's Crying." This is considered old school material at it's quickest and finest hour. This Power/Speed Metal that I remember the band dishing out in the early days. Overall, this is a varied disc with mixed results and rightfully so making this a controversial album among the faithful. My thoughts on it is that it doesn't hold up to the older or even newer material, but it's not all that bad. It won't get repeat spins, but when I do pop it in, I could enjoy it for what it was.
I think that if Mike was still interested in Metal singing this could have way better results. The bonus tracks are included here as well, but are jammed into one disc as opposed to two discs like some of the other releases. The Carl Perkins cover of "Blue Suede Shoes" made famous by ELVIS is very Rockabilly and ok at best. Some of the extras on here were from Japanese singles and E.P.'s and are now housed once and for all here. Despite the bizarre album title and goofy artwork, you should have it in the collection. (Online May 2, 2006)