1987 - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I
Information Helloween Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I
Recorded and mixed in Horus Sound Studio, Hannover, Nov/Dic 1986/Jan 1987
* Certain versions of the album have 'Judas' as an unlisted track.
Artwork Keeper Part I
Kai Hansen did front cover concept. The cover art was done by Edda & Uwe Karczewski. Limb did the Sleeve and the back cover concept.
Kerrang! Magazine issue #140 (1987):
Look, Before we go any further, let me admit that when Xavier Russell returned recently from Hannover raving about Helloween recording an album on a par with Metallica's Master Of Puppet's LP I was sceptical. Because nothing Helloween had previously carved out on plastic really convinced me that they were capable of such a leap into the major league. But the proof has now arrived... and I'm prepared to admit my fallibility on this very spot and hail Helloween as true messiahs. Kings of a new epoch, fresh, vital and almost without peer. In my opinion this is the most remarkable opus since Def Leppard's 'Pyromania' half-a-decade ago!
Firstly, it's as well to point out that there are elements drawn from many areas: the Scorpions' ear for an intense, brocaded melody line, Iron Maiden's hirsute use of twin guitar fury, the halcyon rhythm races of Slayer... yeah, they're all marked out on the Helloween map. But if I had to choose one band that they have emulated over-above-and-beyond even this illustrious trio then it has to be Queen. There is an air of deja vu about the pin sharp, astronomical vocal harmonies, the classical influences (Brahms, Chopin, Wagner), the absolute delectation of genuinely hummable tunes all encased in dynamic rock chord changes and amplified, acceptable violence that brings home the early days of Mercury's Magnificents. And then the name Queensryche pops into my mind.
The astonishing vocals of new boy Michael Kiske, cast very much in the Bruce Dickinson mould but possessed of far more control, range and power than the Maiden `Air Raid Siren.' And Marcus Grosskopf (bass)/Ingo Schwichtenberg (drums) play their part in fashioned, polished style.
Scoff if you must, but at least give `The Keeper...' a serious listen. I maintain it's on of Heavy Metal's all-time masterpieces.
MetalHammer Magazine issue #2 February 1987:
Rarely, if ever, does an album, and especially an indie, get so much attention before the end product is released. With the amount of attention that Helloween were getting as they laboured with producer Tommy Hansen and co-producer Tommy Newton, it's surprising that the reception that the album's release got was even greater than expected. Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I is an excellent album.
Kai Hansen and Michael Weikath are both technically superb guitarist and work well together, in fact they swop solos back and forth so well that they could easily become the late Eighties version of the Gorham/Robertson partnership. The best example of their temwork is probably the opener on side two, 'Future World'. Michael Kiske's voice is remniscent of Geoff Tate's, but whose isn't nowadays? This is an album of pure lighthearted fun with more than a dash of nasty guitar licks.
Already the album has reached fifteen in the German charts and looks set to go further. No doubt, we'll be seeing the album in the UK charts. I certainly hope. I think a lot of people are going to enjoy this.
Comments of musicians
Kerrang! Magazine issue #11 1988:
Kai Hansen: "We became more melodic, even more 'operatic'. We fill everything with choirs, we do lots of harmony stuff on guitar - up to 16 layers, or whatever - we use keyboards. But many real heavy thrash fans, if they hear a keyboard, will immediately say "That's shit!". And of course we slowed down. I became open to listening to more music, now I listen to Prince and Michael Jackson."
Michael Kiske about prodution:
"When you’re young, you think you know better anyway. You’re scared someone might do something you love in a way you don’t like as much. I was a teenager when we did the Keeper records. I wasn’t really bad – I wasn’t trying to control things. I worried too much and I probably said too much, but [Keeper I producer] Tommy Hansen was not an idiot. He knew we were young guys and knew how to handle us."
Michael Kiske about Keeper 1:
"In those days we thought we was the best band in the world. We just thought that this music was perfect. When we did the first record [Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1], I still remember that I played the record for a friend of mine and I was so sure that this was gonna sell millions, because I thought it was so great. The guy couldn't believe it and I told him "Can't you hear it, listen!". I was so convinced and I think that's the beauty of it. It's like young people totally in love with what they are doing there, being totally convinced about it and creates a certain energy that you cannot fake. It's something you just can't build, it's just there and I think that that's the secret why they are so successful."
About the new member Michael Kiske
Kerrang! Magazine issue #11 1988:
Talk gets around to 'new' singer Michael Kiske - how his addition to the band was an important contribution to their development. Michael Weikath: "We have heard that people compare Kiske to Bruce. But it's just that feel and character and the way of singing. It's just that he's singing very properly and there aren't many singers who sing properly. But Michael has a unique voice, and eventually people will recognise that." Kai points: "In fact the whole band is sometimes compared to Maiden but I can't see it".
Sacrifice Magazine issue#5 1987:
How did Michael settle in Helloween? Michael Weikath: "I would say he is still alive. No to be serious he started a psychological treatment because he feared to end in the nuthouse. We can deal with him very good and he is really a benefit for us. Except that he is always stealing our girls and we would like to throw him into the Elbe river for this. Everything else is fine." Has he ever played in other famous bands before? Weikath: "Yes, he was in Venom but they kicked him out, because he looked too good and his singing was too good as well. Ill Prophecy was the name of the band he was in before he joined us."