Last month, the reunited expanded classic lineup of German power metallers HELLOWEEN released a new single, "Skyfall". The track is taken from the band's much-anticipated new, self-titled album, which is due on June 18 via Nuclear Blast Records.
A five-minute video in which guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen discusses the songwriting process for "Skyfall" can be seen below.
The cover artwork for "Helloween" 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 Michael Kiske and Hansen alongside current singer Andi Deris, guitarists Michael 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."
"Skyfall" begins with a bang. The epic track describes an alien landing on earth and a dramatic chase, while Kiske, Deris and Hansen duel with each other in a truly breathtaking manner. Produced by Martin Häusler, it is the most elaborate video clip in the history of the band. Portrayed via truly cinematic 3-D animation, this clip is a real high-end experience.
Bauerfeind said: "After 30 years with different lineups of the band, I really thought I was well prepared for another extreme challenge, but I was wrong. My expectations were highly exceeded in every way with this super-sized package of creativity."
Musical dexterity aside, it is also the immense passion of the band that defines HELLOWEEN. Weikath describes 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 reflects: "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 agrees: "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.
01. Out For The Glory
02. Fear Of The Fallen
03. Best Time
04. Mass Pollution
06. Rise Without Chains
08. Robot King
10. Down In The Dumps
"Skyfall" will be available on CD, digitally and in two different vinyl versions.
Single 1: Vinyl, CD, digital:
"Skyfall" (single edit) + "Skyfall" (exclusive alternative vocals mix). Both are exclusive single versions and will not be on the album. Around 20 minutes playing time.
Single 2: Vinyl only
"Skyfall" (single edit) + "Indestructible" (exclusive album track). This is a strictly limited version of the new single with one exclusive album track.
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.
The "Pumpkins United" lineup of HELLOWEEN previously already released one new song — aptly titled "Pumpkins United" — in October 2017.