The new, self-titled album from the reunited expanded classic lineup of German power metallers HELLOWEEN has entered the official album chart in the band's home country at position No. 1.
"For us, this is the highest form of honor and we are very proud, thank you very much," says guitarist and founding member Michael Weikath.
"In my eyes, artists shouldn't primarily be looking at charts and sales figures, but, of course, you're really happy to get such a response for such a special album," adds vocalist Michael Kiske.
Singer Andi Deris states: "I have been traveling around the world with our music for 30 years, but a number 1 album in my own home country is probably THE dream par excellence for all musicians ... WOW ... we actually achieved it. Unity makes us strong — Pumpkins United we are!"
"This album is more than a masterpiece — this album is heavy metal history", says Markus Staiger, CEO of Nuclear Blast Tonträger Produktions- und Vertriebs GmbH: "The number 1 in Germany is well deserved and was our goal. I am proud of our team, they did a great job, of the fruitful cooperation with Bottom Row, the management of HELLOWEEN, as well as all freelancers and once again the band for this fantastic album!"
The cover artwork for "Helloween", which can be seen below, was painted by artist Eliran Kantor, who has previously worked with HATEBREED, SOULFLY, TESTAMENT, ICED EARTH and SODOM, among others.
The "Pumpkins United" lineup features returning singer Kiske and guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen alongside frontman Deris, guitarists Weikath and Sascha Gerstner, bassist Markus Grosskopf and drummer Daniel Löble.
Produced by Charlie Bauerfeind and Dennis Ward, the new HELLOWEEN LP was recorded in part at the H.O.M.E. Studios in Hamburg (where everything started in 1984). The same recording console used for such HELLOWEEN albums as "Master Of The Rings", "Time Of The Oath" and "Better Than Raw" was utilized to record the band's new material. The effort was mixed at the Valhalla Studios of Ronald Prent (IRON MAIDEN, DEF LEPPARD, RAMMSTEIN).
Said Löble: "This record is the coronation of the 'Pumpkins United' journey. I have always been fascinated by the different character traits and facets of HELLOWEEN's history. For example, the legendary voices of Michi, Andi and Kai. To enjoy them now together on one record, under one flag, is the ultimate HELLOWEEN experience."
Musical dexterity aside, it is also the immense passion of the band that defines HELLOWEEN. Weikath described it thusly: "It is the incomprehensible encounter of seven musicians who are working as friends and even family who have created something that no one would have thought could be possible. It is like awaking from a sleep but still being in an incredible dream."
Hansen reflected: "Being in the studio with my old companions after 30 years away was very emotional for me. But at the same time, it was a completely different experience with the 'new' boys. The collaboration of different songwriters, each of them strong characters in their own right, has made the album very special. A unique mix which draws from all chapters of the band's history.
"HELLOWEEN is a big part of my life and I am looking forward to celebrating the songs live for and with our fans!"
Grosskopf agreed: "For me, being one of the last 'survivors' who played every note from the beginning, it was a fantastic experience and a very emotional process. I think everyone can hear it on this album. I love it."
HELLOWEEN's new album saw the legendary German power metallers going "back to the roots," with the band recording fully analogue and Löble playing the drum kit previously used by HELLOWEEN's original drummer, the late Ingo Schwichtenberg, on the legendary "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" recordings.
The "Pumpkins United" tour marked the first time Kiske had played live with HELLOWEEN since 1993. Hansen, who departed HELLOWEEN in 1988, had been joining the band onstage on various tours and festival appearances throughout the years. The set featured several duets with Kiske and his replacement, Deris, along with many rarely played songs, including "Kids Of The Century", "Rise And Fall" and "Livin' Ain't No Crime". Hansen — who fronted HELLOWEEN until late 1986 — sang a medley of several early HELLOWEEN classics, including "Ride The Sky", "Judas", "Starlight" and "Heavy Metal (Is The Law)".
HELLOWEEN's European "United Alive World Tour Part II", which was originally scheduled to take place in September and October will now take place next year.