Keepers Of The Seven Keys Part 2 (Expanded Edition) [2 CD]
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
When you hear the term "power metal", or more specifically "European Power Metal", Helloween has to be one of the first bands that come to mind, largely due to the impact of this particular album (and its companion piece Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1). Both albums completely reestablished both the band's sound as well as the whole idea of what power metal was all about. This is due largely to Kai Hansen adopting a more epic approach to his songwriting (as opposed to the Judas Priest style thrashers on Walls of Jericho) as well as the addition of vocalist Michael Kiske, who brought a powerful yet melodic aspect to Helloween's sound.

I don't think the impact of the Keeper albums can be overstated. In the years since they were originally released, their sound has been adopted, adapted, and flat out imitated by countless bands. Without Helloween, there would be no Blind Guardian, no Rhapsody, no Edguy, at least not as we now know them. Listen to songs like Eagle Fly Free, I Want Out, Save Us, and the epic title track, and you hear the foundations for the next two decades of power metal. Heck, just about every song on this album has been covered countless times by a whole host of artists.

That said; why on earth has it taken 20 freaking years to get remastered versions of the Keeper albums? In an age where even the most recent bands keep reissuing their albums, we had to go way to long without a sonically improved Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II. Well, Sanctuary finally got around to the job in 2006, and they certainly did it right. In addition to digitally remastered sound, you get a second CD containing five bonus tracks. The Treasure Chest remixes of "Dr. Stein" and "Keeper of the Seven Keys" don't add much, but adding the b-sides "Savage," "Livin' Ain't No Crime" and "Don't Run For Cover" are great additions. You also get expanded liner notes by Metal Hammer's Dave Ling, photos, etc. plus a nifty slipcase for the disc.

This is what a remastered version of a classic album is supposed to look and sound like. If you're already a Helloween fan, it's time to replace your old version. If you're a power metal fan and for whatever reason haven't heard Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II, you need to order this album now. It truly belongs in every power metal fan's collection.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2005
Helloween's Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2 is one of my favorite albums ever. This album just really flows my boat, combining a fierce duel-guitar attack, some great bass and drum work, and Michael Kiske's vocals, which are some of the best that I've ever heard.

Today, Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II is considered a model for power metal albums, and for a good reason. Simply put, the music in here is exellent. There are so many classic tunes in Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II.

Some of my favorites are Eagly Fly Free with it's nice uplifting feeling, Save Us, which is a fast tune with a nice chorus and great guitar solos, and March of Time, which has great lyrics and a very, very catchy chorus.

Then there is I Want Out, which has entered my pantheon of favorite songs ever. I Want Out is just such an awesome song. It starts out with very catchy riffs, has some very good and interesting lyrics, and has an anthemic chorus with great vocals. It's hard not to get the chills when you hear Michael Kiske screaming "live my life and to be FREEEEE!!" while the catchy riff is being played towards the end of the song. I hadn't been blown away as much by a song since the first time I heard Iron Maiden's The Trooper.

The other tracks are also great, which include You Always Walk Alone, Rise and Fall, Dr. Stein, We Got the Right, and especially the epic Keeper of the Seven Keys.

Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II is a great album. I'm a fan of understandable metal (metal without all the growling and screaming). Keepers Part II is a great album that will obviously appeal to power metal fans, but also fans of metal period. Keepers Part II is to power metal such as what Master of Puppets is to trash metal, it's just that good and important to the metal genre.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 1999
This album is even better than KOTSK Pt. I and it features more of Michael Weikath's songwriting than on previous releases. The album couldn't have started better than with "Invitation\Eagle Fly Free". "Eagle Fly Free" is my second favourite Helloween song after "Gorgar". "Eagle Fly Free" is an absolute classic song, it really doesn't get much better. Other highlights on this album include "I Want Out", the zany "Dr. Stein", Michael Kiske's "We got the Right" and of course the epic 13 minute "Keeper of the Seven Keys". These are the highlights, but the rest of the album is not filler. There are no bad tracks on this one. The musicianship is incredible. Check out "Eagle Fly Free" which features a drum solo and a bass solo in addition to guitar solos. Michale Kiske's vocals are flawless and it never ceases to amaze me how he soars from note to note so effortlessly and accurately. In summary, this album is an absolute classic and anyone who is into power metal should get their hands on this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2008
I still find myself thrashing out to Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2 (and Part 1, natch). The Seven Keys albums are two of the all-time progressive metal greats. Bands are still trying to recreate the genius of this era, but I can't seem to find anything that lives up to it. Just goes to show that you have to keep moving forward, not back.

There isn't a single weak track on either of these albums. I should probably point out some highlights, though. Dr. Stein is silly, but classic Helloween. Much as I enjoy the song, I tend toward the songs that peel paint off your walls. I find myself continually looping Eagle Fly Free, with it's soaring chorus and driving, relentless drumming. I Want Out is equally inspiring and anthemic. Though the track ordering is different than the original release (the version I have--yes, I want to check out the remaster), Save Us is a great way to finish the album. Just as you think things are winding to a close, the intro quickly builds into a galloping rhythm that leads to one of the most enduring guitar solos I've ever heard. The song (and album) end leaving you breathless and wanting more.

Disc 2 here includes Savage, which is another one of my favorite go-to Helloween songs when I am in the mood to thrash hard. I have my version off of The Best - The Rest - The Rare, which isn't a bad disc for those new to Helloween to get a feel for what they are in for.

Side note: Um, Amazon, would it be too much to correctly title albums and tracks in your music department?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 1999
I have had this tape for years and my tape finally played its last song. I had to replace it with a CD. Music isn't done like this anymore. It is great driving music, great resting music, great music for anything. It is all so well done and even stimulates the most intellectual of minds
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2006
Michael Kiske is the lead throat on this album, really in some ways the start of a new era for Helloween after The Walls of Jericho and Keys Pt I. The music writing team is firing on all cylinders with Kiske, Kai Hansen and band leader Michael Weikath all coming up with a number of gems for the listener.

Wrapped in cool cover art and very much steeped in a genre they helped define, this album sees the band stretching out musically, while staying true to their formula of 'high speed megagoth', to quote another reviewer.

Songs span the aspirational in Eagle Fly Free, the bemusing metal of Rise and Fall and the quirkiness of Dr Stein. Bolstered by the histrionic Save Us and the Kai Hansen soul baring tune of I Want Out, this is an album with much to offer the fan of this style of metal. And that style is balls to the wall, fast paced metal, sort of a prototype for all later power metal and also with one foot in the speed metal genre. The songs are at times fairly simple, despite everything happening at a million miles per hour but in this case that speed works well. The songs for the most part stretch out to five minutes or so, except for the last track which is a 13+ minute opus. Very well placed at the end of the disc, as putting it earlier may well of sapped the energy from the album as a whole.

Helloween were on a creative and commercial high point here as this album garnered the band many many fans around the traps. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2001
Who can rightfully debate this is one of the finest power metal albums ever made? A fantastic and underrated offering from Germany's Helloween. I agree with (most) of the others that this album bests part I. Whether or not you buy into Helloween's over-the-top histrionics depends on how much your tolerance for more progressive Iron Maiden (think _7th Son of a 7th Son_). Helloween is very similar to Maiden in many ways, including the magnificent high pipes of Michael Kiske and the dual guitar attack of Kai Hansen and Michael Weikath. They are more thrash-y than Maiden (thank god they don't try to constantly ape the infamous Maiden gallop beat most of the time). And as the other reviewer stated, there is cheese. Cheese GALORE. Thats part of the point though, I think, especially when you look at songs like the satirical "Dr. Stein" (which has a LOT more going on lyrically than meets the eye) and "Rise and Fall" with its madcap accordion swatches, are both absolutely hilarious. EMBRACE THE CHEESE. You have to keep that in mind with the more ridiculous and deliberately anthemic songs, like "We Got The Right" or "Eagle Fly Free", which will either make you want to stand on top of a mountain with an American flag and shout to heaven, or cringe horribly at the sheer magnitude of their pomposity. On a whole its a lot more fun and entertaining than most of the bands they are compared to. For more serious fantasy-oriented headbanging, check out the fantastic "I Want Out" (IMHO their finest moment). The epic "Keeper of the Seven Keys" drags a little, I think, but its interesting compositionally and ends with a nice touch of acoustics to fade out the album.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2002
I just have no words to describe this album. It's power metal at it's best. All songs are very strong, with an awesome guitar work, powerful drums and one of the best singers of all times : Michael Kiske.
The title track is an epic theme of 14 minutes. I garantee you that you will find no power metal song like this one never. A real classic that every headbanger should love and worship.
I strongly recomend this album. If you have a chance buy it. Then buy also "High Live" and compare the version of "Eagle Fly Free" (with Andi Deris on vocals) with the one in this album. It makes you think on why is Helloween doing with such a bad singer in today's lineup...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2010
I have always loved this CD. Every track is strong, but the while the mastering on the original CD is not great, this is even worse. I initially thought this was a much better, fuller sounding version. I even initially posted a favorable review. All of the Helloween remasters seemed to sound great and better than the originals, until I realized something is missing. The sound is very compressed. See below.

(Note that the black-bordered slipcase pictured here no longer comes with this title).

When I first listened to the CD, it seemed fuller with more low end. It seemed great...at first. I started to wonder why I began listening to the remaster less and less. Then I dug out the original CD. I realized how instruments that jumped out on the original now just all blend together on the remaster. Drum hits that popped out before are softened and now in the background along with every other peak, making for a very generic modernized sound. The definition and clarity are gone.

Feel can be hard to describe or pinpoint, but the feel and excitement of great albums like this are destroyed by this kind of mastering that has become the norm for new albums and reissues alike. That feeling that made you pump your fist to the original will eventually (or instantly) disappear with this version.

It makes no difference how loud or full the CD sounds compared to the original. When they eliminate all of the peaks, the music overall loses its power. All of the accents are gone. There's no attack. This album was all about attack.

Unfortunately, the record companies (and sometimes the artists) simply want their discs to be as loud as possible. The only way to do that is to compress the music by lowering the peaks and bringing up the valleys.

It's easy to think initially "it's bigger, fuller and louder" but over time you'll wonder why you just don't enjoy it quite as much anymore. The punch is taken out and gone. Parts of songs that used to be loud compared to other parts are relatively reduced in volume and there's no longer those big contrasts.

If you don't believe it can be that bad, for a great example and side by side comparison, search YouTube for two videos titled "Loudness War is killing music" and "The Loudness War: Iron Maiden (Part 2)". (Neither are my videos). You'll see and hear what I'm talking about. One compares Dire Straits' Money for Nothing from the original CD vs. the remastered CD and the other compares Iron Maiden's Wasted Years from the original CD vs. the remaster. It is the exact same effect as on this remaster.

Here's some other compressed remasters I've wasted money on that should be avoided. I listened to these for a long time before I realized what was missing from the music. This is by no means a complete list. More remasters these days are overly compressed than not. Simply, these are some of the ones that I own and am really glad I never ditched the original CD's. These are albums that I love and do not just casually listen to:

AC/DC:
All Atlantic and Sony remasters

Anthrax:
Among the Living Deluxe Edition 2009 remaster CD/DVD

Black Sabbath:
Ozzy years Black Box

Def Leppard:
Pyromania Deluxe Edition
Hysteria Deluxe Edition
((I haven't bought the Adrenalize Deluxe, but given the compression of the other 2 above, I won't).

Helloween:
All Sanctuary deluxe remasters with bonus tracks

Iron Maiden:
All 1998 remasters

Journey:
All 1996 and 2006 remasters

Metallica:
All the early CD's that were secretly remastered (they are not labeled as remasters; any with "EMI Ventues" on the back tray insert are the recent pressings that are remastered)

Ozzy Osbourne:
Every remaster including:

Blizzard of Ozz 2010 remaster

Diary of a Madman 2010 remaster and 2010 Legacy edition

30th Anniversary box set remasters (are the same as above)

All 2002 remasters:
Blizzard, Diary, Bark, Tribute, No Rest, No More Tears, Ozzmosis, Ozzman Cometh

All 1995 remasters (not the worst, but still compressed):
Blizzard, Diary, Speak, Bark, Ultimate, Tribute, No Rest, No More Tears, Live and Loud

(All that's left for Ozzy are the original CD issues, which are the ones to get)

REO Speedwagon:
Hi Infidelity Anniversary remaster

Supertramp:
Breakfast in America 2002 and 2010 remasters (can't comment on the other titles).
However, the Japan-only 2013 Platinum CD is simply stunning. It sounds three-dimensional and incredible. That is how a CD should sound and it has received accolades along with other Platinum releases that Universal has done in Japan. (Note: if your CD player cannot play CD-R's, according to Universal, it won't play a Platinum disc).

Van Halen:
All 2000 remasters

Whitesnake:
1987 (self-titled) Deluxe Edition 2010 remaster CD/DVD

1987 (self-titled)/Slip of the Tongue Axe Killer label 2000 remaster 2CD

Here I Go Again The Whitesnake Collection 2CD of Slide/1987/Slip

Hope all of that helps. You have been warned. Don't waste your money on this remaster. Get the originals if you really want to enjoy this music the way it should sound.

If you think this remaster, or the other remasters listed above are great, like I used to, seriously just check out those eye (and ear) opening videos mentioned above.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2008
Helloween may have started the power metal thing with "Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt1" after they began including more melody and "epicness" after "Walls of Jericho" but they perfected it with "Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt 2" - this thing is flawless power metal from start to finish. Many bands would follow in Helloween's footsteps following this album and this is where the power metal really began. "Eagle Fly Free" is a speed metal track with a very catchy chorus, trade-off shred guitar solos, a bass solo (!), and even a little drum solo as well! Michael Kiske's vocals soar here like an eagle, but then again there's not a moment on this album that doesn't happen. "March of Time" is a personal favorite in the power metal genre - the song is simply about "time" but they make it so epic and that chorus just gives me chills up and down my spine listening to it - it's just that powerful melody that Helloween is so good at creating, it's just epic from start to finish. I think Kiske's voice shines the best here, and it's probably one of the fastest tracks on the album. "I Want Out" is Helloween's well known song, not really a power metal track, but it has Helloween's traits of dual lead guitar lines and guitar solos, along with Kiske's vocals. "Keeper of the Seven Keys" is a gem in the power metal genre as well - the 13 minute epic track starts off slow before gradually speeding up with it's progressive-like song structure. The chorus is very melodic, heroic, slow but still powerful. The best part is the guitar solos - they are everywhere in the middle of the song, and the speed metal part of the song is where the climax is! After that, the song finishes with a final chorus that brings the heart pounding action to a close. "Save Us" is a typical Helloween speed metal track with the well known band-"chorus" that raises hands and pumps fists.
Helloween's "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" brought the band into new heights and notice, and brought out power metal to the masses. If you are a fan of power metal, you're incomplete without this album as it is essential.
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