Crafting fast-paced power metal since their inception in the early '80s, Helloween has followed a very curious and unique path throughout their career. Releasing heady concept albums (the Keeper of the Seven Keys series) and complicated metal anthems while keeping their tongue firmly in cheek, the band managed to stay relevant in a stagnant genre by not being afraid to be different. This two-CD set showcases their career by mixing the tracks together from every point of their existence. This works because the sheer variety is complementary to their accomplishments, even if that variety is questionable when compared to less narrow genres. Still, they were always very catchy and memorable, and every important Helloween song imaginable to a casual fan makes an appearance here. Most importantly, the full 14-minute version of "Halloween" is included, and that song more than any other is a cult classic that has gained notoriety through MTV's insistence on playing the track on October 31st for years after the single's release. Their American debut, Walls of Jericho, is well represented through several excellent tracks, and their aforementioned Seven Keys albums also contribute a large amount of material. Those unfamiliar with the band may find it unusual that they obsess over weird things like proper names ("Dr. Stein," "Mr. Torture," "Mr. Ego") and have albums with titles like Pink Bubbles Go Ape. But that's the charm of Helloween: they don't have the overblown pomposity of Iron Maiden or oddball gimmicks like Running Wild, they just make solid power metal. This isn't for everybody, but one listen to "I Want Out" should remind fans old and new exactly why Helloween is good: they rocked.
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2