Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 2

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Having established an immensely influential blueprint with Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1, Helloween released the obviously titled follow-up, Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 2, a year later. But it seemed that Helloween's heretofore leader, guitarist Kai Hansen, had lost interest in his own band, and the result was a terribly inconsistent album. Except for the excellent "I Want Out," his few song contributions reek of indifference, leaving vocalist Michael Kiske and second guitarist Michael Weikath to try and pick up the slack -- with mixed results. Weikath gets it right on the catchy and humorous "Dr. Stein," but his attempt to replicate Hansen's epic songwriting on the 13-plus-minute title track collapses from early promise into a complete mess of embarrassing proportions. Still, the album sold well, delaying the problems looming on the horizon. Hansen would confirm his apathy by quitting soon after to form Gamma Ray, and though Helloween continue to record, they have never recovered from his departure.

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