1988 - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II
Information Keeper Of The Seven Keys II
- Recorded and mixed in Horus Sound Studio, Hannover, May/June 1988.
- Engineered by Tommy Hansen and Tommy Newton.
- Mixed by Tommy Newton for "I Got Confused" productions except 'Invitation' mixed by Tommy Hansen.
- All songs arranged by Helloween.
- Cover design by Edda & Uwe Karczewski, Hamburg.
- Front cover concept by Michael Weikath.
- The album was released on August 29th by Noise Records.
Different editions Helloween Keeper Part II
There are thousand of different editions in some formats CD, Vinyl, Cassette so in this case I did not add a list, but I will do in the future.
Promotional stuff about Keeper 2
Videoclip 'I Want Out':
The videoclip was filmed in different places, the desert images in the video are from at Las Bardenas Reales de Navarra, 80 km of Pamplona city. Another place was an old factory and it was filmed in a small town called Marcilla, 60 km of Pamplona. Another shot was done at the Cafe Iruña bar of Pamplona where Michael is seated and opening the mouth. Videoclip also includes images of Helloween show at Masters of Rock festival in Pamplona.
Metal Hammer magazine 1988 (October issue): "Helloween were exposed to crude work in Spain. Two days shooting the video clip 'I Want Out' in the environment of Pamplona for their second single of succesful "Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II" LP. And everything done before their six gig of twelve for this Monsters of Rock festival tour with Iron Maiden, Metallica and Anthrax.
In the second day Michi, Kai, Ingo, Markus and Weiki were for eight hours at impresive bullring "Plaza de Toros" to play in front 20000 fans. The video cameras were ready and disciplined to the show. Earlier scenes were filmed on the terrein near and inside of a factory in Marcilla (Pamplona). The band locked up Michi into a dirty box meanwhile he was singing 'I Want Out' and Markus was submerged in a bath full of soap in their hotel, everything was filmed for the videoclip. The rest of the band was behind the camera and amusing themselves."
'Dr. Stein' videoclip:
Helloween wanted to film another videoclip for promoting the Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II and they chose the song 'Dr. Stein' but the recording never was done and they did a playback appearance in a German TV show in the same vein that Iron Maiden did in 1986 playing 'Wasted Years'. Kai Hansen commented about that on Metalforces magazine number 8 of 1988: "We were planning to do a video of 'Dr. Stein, but right now there are discussions with RCA in America who apparently want another song, so I'm not sure what video will be."
Comments about Keeper 2
Kerrang! magazine, issue July 1988:
Why were the albums split into two? Tommy Hansen (producer): "The band originally wanted to record a double album, but Noise Records were opposed to the idea of having to put out a double album - the cost of the sleeve and so on put them off. But I don't think Noise understood the whole original concept behind the Seven Keys. The Part I dealt with the Black Power and the Part II with the White Power - real god versus evil stuff - and that's what made the blance up, and that's why the band wanted to release the album as a double."
Tommy Hansen continues: "I'm glad we recorded the albums separately, because the band really have come on 100 per cent musically. The guitars of Weikath and Hansen sound a lot fresher, brighter and heavier on Part II. And the real surprise for me on the new album have been the bass player Markus and drummer Ingo. They're both totally different on Part II, it's as if Part I never been existed! There's so much power and energy in the rhythm section now. Also singer Michael Kiske is getting a lot closer to his own personality now, his voice has sharpened up a lot on Part II, he's fitted very well into Helloween."
Michael Weikath: "The sound is a lot better on Keys II, everything sounds more up front in the mix. There's so much orchestration on it, especially on a song like 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys'. I think we've all improved as a band 200 per cent on this album, the playing's better and so are the songs."
Kerrang! magazine, issue July 1988:
Kai Hansen: "'You Always Walk Alone', 'Rise And Fall', 'We Got The Right' and 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys' are all tracks that we originally wrote for Part I. We completely redid those tracks last year though."
MetalHammer magazine, issue February 1988:
Michael Kiske: "We've included a lot more choruses - real choruses, that we worked on for days. The album sounds more creative, embraces a wider spectrum and is just harder. Each song sounds completely different. Also the rythym section is much better. Markus and Ingo have really improved, and are bound to surprise lot of people. I used to sing in just one particual way, but I developed new techniques while touring. I'm a lot more self-confident, and trust myself more trying out new things. I think my voice is a lot fuller now." I've also noticed that you use less vibrato than on the last LP. That must make things more difficult for you, because it's easier to hold a note using a vibrato. Michael Kiske: "You're right, it's easier to hit a note with vibrato. If you try to hit a straight note, you can hear every little mistake. This time I tried to apply both techniques more carefully - depending what sounded best. Vibrato can get on your nerves really easily, so you have to be careful."
Kiske about Keepers in 2013 to RockMetal4you:
"I even like the second one better, it sold even more. A few million we sold with this record and it's still selling these days. It's funny enough that the younger generation, teenagers still discover those records and love them. It's just pretty amazing. It was one of the things I was really astonished about and I was really surprised about it after this long break for almost 17 years going on tour again and meeting fans all over the world. I thought I would be long forgotten, but I wasn't at all. It's just such a beautiful response. I mean, just imagine you go on a stage together after 17 years and you play like in South America and the whole venue sings your name – it's unbelivable and it's only possible in Hard Rock and Metal music."
Song by song by the musicians
'Eagle Fly Free':
Michael Weikath: "When my songs were refused during the first session (for Keeper Part I), I knew I had to work on their structures to improve them. I remember writing the track 'Eagle Fly Free' on the train to Cologne at the time of Part One." At MetalHammer magazine 1988 Weikath also commented: "... I also wrote 'Eagle Fly Free', where I really tried to get the speed and the melody together. I'm not going to write anything else like that, because I've written everything I can think of in the way of fast tracks, and I don't want to repeat myself. We do what we wanna do, andif we feel like a bit of speed, then we'll write a fast number but I've had enough of speed for the time being."
'You Always Walk Alone':
Kai Hansen: "The second track is 'You Always Walk Alone', which has got more of the attitude of rock n'roll song because it's very rough, and it also has some very interesting part in it."
'Rise And Fall':
Michael Weikath: "...Other tracks like 'Rise And Fall' had existed as demos during the Keeper Part I, but were too loosely arranged to join Part One. Our demos weren't too accurate back in those days." Kai Hansen: "Its a really funny song. It's all about that rise and fall of people seen in a very humourous way. I like it very much."
Michael Weikath: "Doctor Frankenstein was the one that created the monster, and it's strange because people always refer to him as the creation. It's about Doctor Frankenstein making better, improved monsters because his first one was just too stupid. The ones he makes this time go into things like politics and sport."
'We Got The Right':
Michael Kiske: "That song its very old, I wrote it with 16 or 17 years old before I joined in Helloween. Also in the lyrics, of course are more simples and my English was not good because I was too young but the basic message is very positive." Kai Hansen: "It's a kind of ballad but nothing like 'A Tale That Wasn't Right' from Part 1. This song is more hymnical and more guitar oriented."
'March Of Time':
Kai Hansen: "Its another fast song but totally different to 'Eagle Fly Free' - I'd say that this is the old side of Helloween, a little like 'Twilight Of The Gods', but with a new concept."
'I Want Out':
Kai Hansen: "It's still very heavy but at the same time is probably the most commercial song on the album. It has a great hook line and a great chorus, and is the same direction as 'Future World' from the previous record."
'Keeper Of The Seven Keys':
Michael Weikath: "It was very necessary for me to have that song on the album. I'd been suffering from a bad mental state and had been through a nervous breakdown after Walls Of Jericho. 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys' was a song that I wrote to cure myself. Yes, I know that sounds like metal spoof comedy Bad news. You know that? I watched those videos again recently and they weren't as funny as I remembered them, because they are so Real. But it's true, 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys' helped to keep me alive because it made me get on with doing something positive."
Michael Kiske: "I have to mention that 'Savage' and 'Livin' Ain't Not Crime' are the most extreme tracks that we recorded. When I wrote 'Savage', I was into Anthrax, and you can hear that. It was more a kind of joke-song. 'Savage' is a really thrashy number, that developed from a mood..." Kai Hansen: "It was written by Michael Kiske and is the most thrashy song that Helloween have ever done. There's a funny story about this song. We done this gig in France where only about 100 people turned up, and we were kinda in a funny mood that day, so we were fooling around throughout the show. At some point Michael went up to the microphone and said, "now we're gonna play a thrash song". So Ingo started hammering out this fast beat and we all just started making a lot of noise on our instruments with Michael shouting "Savage!!" for about two minutes and we said that one day we would have to write a song like that, this is it. We just done this song for fun and to prove to ourselves that if we wanted to play thrash we could."
'Livin' Ain't Not Crime':
Michael Kiske: "... the record company didn't force us to write a commercial song - in fact, our label boss doesn't even like that track that much..."
Michael Weikath commented: "Its a little revolutionary thing like Robin Hood for instance... come hither to the slaves... so imagine they are in the woods and they are having all of the guys together and just go about certain things like killing the Sheriff of Nottingham or whatever. It has a revolutionary feel like the old eastern block. It was a party song that was a party song during our shows back in the Keeper 2 days. I wanted to do it as a single and that's why it ended up being a b-side... because its like this... every time I want to do a B-side... it ends up on the A-side like 'Dr. Stein' which was intended to be a b-side. So each time I write a single it ends up being a b-side it seems."
'Don't Run For Cover':
Michael Kiske: "I've tried nearly everything now; 'Savage' was very fast, and then I also wrote 'Don't Run For Cover' that was written at about the same speed as Hansen tracks."
Curiosities about Helloween Keeper II
- Did you know Helloween pretend to throw up 7.777 balloons carrying cassettes with extracts from the LP over the Berlin Wall into the East Germany?
Raw magazine, issue #8 1988:
On August 23th, Helloween planned floating of 7777 ballons over the Berlin Wall into the East German sector, all of them carrying cassettes with extracts from the Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II LP. Is this a political statement? Kai Hansen: "No, it's being done purely for the publicity. Noise Records came up with the idea and we liked it because it was exactly the sort of thing that will get us national press and TV exposure in Germany, something we'd otherwise never have. Publicity like this can only help sell our record." But finally Helloween didn't get permission from the East German government.
- Who is the Keeper Of The Seven Keys?
Raw magazine issue#611 (1988):
Kai Hansen: "Well, to me, there's a little of him in all of us. That's why on the Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I LP we represented him on the cover as having a face composed of the stars from the cosmos."
HeavyRock magazine issue February 1988:
Michael Weikath: "The Keeper Of The Seven Keys can be any person of this world who has to choose between the good and the evil. At the beginning we thought could be easily Jesus Christ, because as time goes by he still being the center of good and the oposition of evil in the natural and supernatural."
- Did you know the producer Tommy Hansen was fired in the middle of Keeper 2 sessions?
Michael Weikath commented about that episode: "Tommy Newton worked during the daytime and Tommy Hansen take over at night. That went on for three and half months, until Tommy Hansen got fired from the project by Karl Walterbach (Noise Records boss). Tommy Newton wanted to continue on his own, so after Tommy Hansen's preview mix of 'Eagle Fly Free' he was sent home. He was pissed off and angry; just put his stuff in his car and drove off to Denmark saying, 'Fuck you all'. Tommy Newton had claimed that if he mixed it on his own he could make it sound far more modern."
- Which songs were on the table for being bonus tracks.
A part of 'Savage', 'Don't Run For Cover', 'Victim Of Fate - Kiske Version' there were other options. Michael Weikath commented about that on Metal Hammer magazine 1988: "We might also be rerecording 'How Many Tears', I also wrote an instrumental track a bit like Kai's 'Follow The Sign', that's a few years old though now. Maybe we'll also record a Uriah Heep-cover: 'Return to Fantasy' or 'Look At Yourself'. We've got aloads of ideas and possibilities."