"Their trademark layers of double kick bass drums, thundering bass, technical guitar gymnastics and operatic vocals were spot on."
Power metal came thundering into Perth on Tuesday night in the form of genre legends, Helloween. Taking the opening spot was local Perth outfit Silent Knight. What initially seemed like a sound problem with lead singer Jesse Onur Oz's microphone was in fact a case of shredded vocal cords, but it didn't stop the band from powering through their set. Not an ideal way to open for one of your biggest influences, but full credit to the band for their never-say-die attitude. A strong set of original songs, including a cover of Europe's The Final Countdown, didn't hurt their chances of increasing their fan base.
But the night, as it should be, belonged to a band that defined the power metal/speed metal genre. Opening with the classic Eagle Fly Free and quickly following up with the wickedly funny Dr Stein, Helloween set the tone for the night. Their trademark layers of double kick bass drums, thundering bass, technical guitar gymnastics and operatic vocals were spot on. The title track from latest album My God-Given Right gave the faithful their first chance to join in as vocalist Andi Deris encouraged everyone to have a voice, with few if any in the audience able to match Deris' range.
The 500 or so in attendance in Perth's Capitol is a world way from the 70,000+ European and South American stadiums Helloween are used to playing but it didn't stop the five Germans from putting on a show deserving of it. Guitarist Michael Weikath's signature theatrical flourishes and bass player Markus Grosskopf's antics delighted the crowd.
At 6'4", with jet black hair, very pale skin, and all black attire, Sascha Gerstner may look like a vampire but promises "he won't bite". With his flying V and goofy smile he disproved those who say that Germans don't have a sense of humour.
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The band played songs from each of the three decades they've been in existence, with fan favourites Mr. Torture, Straight Out Of Hell and new song Heroes garnering some of the biggest reactions of the night. However, the moment of the night had to go to Daniel Loble's drum solo — yes drum solos are still a thing — especially when you are a German power metal band with tongue firmly in cheek. Loble is an absolute showman and didn't give up until everyone voiced in the venue their approval.
The set continued, punctuated by new songs Lost In America and Russian Roule. But with a back catalogue like Helloween's it's impossible to play everything so a medley of Halloween, Sole Survivor, I Can, Are You Metal? and Keeper Of The Seven Keys went some way to appeasing the punters, although it did feel like a bit of a tease. Teasing aside, the encores of Future World and I Want Out sent the local metal heads back out into the night on a very high note indeed.