I know this is not a popular opinion, but I really like old Helloween. I like them a lot, but that's not what this post is about. Nor is it about whether or not the Germans play power metal (as some American fans define them) or heavy metal. It's not about how their upcoming show in Jakarta got moved to an outdoor venue. It's also not about the tragic suicide of Ingo Schwichtenberg, who jumped in front of a subway after being ejected from the band. Yeah, he was wearing a Helloween shirt. It's pathetically sad. But, I digress. This post is about a band's cover art gone wrong, but then returning to grace. Alleluia! To illustrate the journey, I picked a few key (no pun intended) covers and divided them as the band's history has been divided by their official Russian fan-club.
PART 1 - "The Iron Age (Heavy Metal Marches On!)": 1984 - 1986
1985 - Helloween
This is were we start our journey. Helloween still thought they were a tough metal band. This cover is pretty metal, I guess. We have Eddie's retarded brother tearing out of a pumpkin hovering over a burning soccer ball. There's also some lighting and shit like that. No one could have predicted in '85 that Helloween would stray so far from this type of artwork.
1985 - Walls Of Jericho
This is still pretty metal. Eddie's retarded brother has escaped the pumpkin and he's tearing shit up! You can see where he came from. Just follow the footsteps in the sand. Didn't these idiots see him coming? I can see the footsteps a good mile back! Oh, never mind the horrible attempt at foreshortening on his left arm, check out the dude flying up. Good thing he wore clean underwear that day. It's nice that Jesus made a cameo on the cover (bottom right).
PART 2 - "The Golden Age (Dumbeldore's Army)": 1987 - 1988
1987 - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1
In the liner notes and and in covers of EPs and singles, they were starting to use the pumpkin cartoons, but on the LP covers Helloween remained pretty fucking metal. Wizards with magical powers in magical lands holding magical glowing balls. Obviously, this is where J. K. Rowling got the inspiration for Harry Potter. You see, Voldemort IS the keeper the seven keys.
1988 - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 2
So, Voldemort apparently wants 8 keys. This cover is a little gay, I concede, but it's WAY more metal than what's yet to come!
PART 3 - "The New Age (Surreal LP covers haven't been cool since the 70's)": 1989 - 1993
1991 - Pink Bubbles Go Ape
OK! Thank you very much for playing and good night! I think this artwork was supposed to be a Rush cover, but Helloween stole it in the last minute. Let's see; a lady kissing dead tuna, a flamingo just chillin', a teen in a tiny bed playing with foam and a drunken Chewbacca leaning against a wall? I think the band thought: "In 17 years there's gonna be this thing called the Metal Inquisition Blog and they will make fun of metal record covers. Let's give them a doozy!"
1991 - Kids Of The Century
By now, every ounce of metal has been drained from Helloween covers. WTF is this? Well, it's a gay couple and their pony-tailed Filipino sex-slave. They adopted a baby. Oh, yeah and they all wear plastic fried-egg novelty sunglasses for the family portrait.
1993 - Chameleon
By 1993 no one in their right mind took Helloween very seriously. Only people in Greece, Portugal, Spain and a few places in South America, but those people still wear Guns'n'Roses back-patches on their denim jackets, so we'll ignore their opinions... as we always do. Anyway, in my expert opinion this is THE most un-metal cover a metal band has EVER had. The record is shit, of course, but the cover broke new ground in suckiness and lameness and shitiness and all-around non-metalness. When I first saw it, I thought it was the logo for the 1994 Gay Olympics in Berlin.
PART 4 - "The Modern Age (What goes up, most come down)": 1994 - 1997
1994 - Master Of The Rings
Well, it's still a pretty pussy-looking cover, BUT they did go back to cool airbrushy type art. I guess that's a step in the right direction, no? Also, the Lord of the Rings rip-off thing is pretty metal. In a Blind Guardian kinda way.
1996 - The Time Of The Oath
See? Never give up on a band's artwork, because you never know! Just like in The Goblet of Fire, Voldemort is back! And with him, is metal artwork! I guess Voldemort is an Italian mobster (golden pinky ring) and an LA gang-banger throwing gang signs. The best of both coasts. He better watch out, tho, there's some horribly rendered overweight demons behind the shitty fire. I think they are coming to ask him what he did with the seven keys.
1998 - Better Than Raw
Now we are talking! A HOT witch-girl in garter belts, leather bikini and chains in a castle? Can we say: METAL!? Now, this may not be a Dan Seagrave, nor a Frank Frazetta ManOwar cover, but considering where Helloween were 5 years before this, it might as well be "To Mega Therion", which is arguably the most metal record cover ever.
2000 - The Dark Ride
Metal is back in Helloween World! There's some evil pissed-off fucking pumpkin looking down on earth as our home-planet gets slammed by some rock asteroid or some shit. I think this evil pumpkin is playing an evil game of evil interplanetary pool and earth is going into the corner pocket! Whatever it is, it looks dark, evil and metal. Even if it is a pumpkin, which is pretty lame... Oh, yeah, they also used a House Industries font on the album title, for the design nerds in M.I. land. Some House Industries fonts are pretty metal.
PART 5 - "Back To The Roots (Male pattern baldness)": 2003 - 2007
2003 - Rabbit Don't Come Easy
I know what you are thinking: "What happened dudes? You were doing so good?" I guess they fell off the metal wagon, again. This robotic magician is pretty fucking lame and not very metal at all.
2005- Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy
What do you do if you are an aging metal band and have turned completely irrelevant to everyone except the losers stuck in 1987 in the countries mentioned above? Well, you "go back to your roots", of course! for 'Ween it meant coming out with Keeper Part 3, basically. And you know who's back? Volde-fucking-mort! Hell yeah. He's got his magical glowing ball again, too. To top it off, a hot robotic-devil-girl in super hot hooker boots is giving him the seven the keys back. I love it when robotic-devil-hookers come to visit me in Mordor and bring me gifts.
2007 - Gambling With The Devil
Last year's CD brings us back to the present. A present where I'm the only Helloween fan I know. Anyway, this cover is sweet. It's got an evil dude with a skull belt-buckle and a top-hat pointing at some evil wheel with bad-ass evil shit on it. There's a pentagram burning on the ground and that's pretty fucking metal. There's also a HOT broad outside a bar or something. Man, if I was there I'd totally hit on her! She's SO hot! To top it all off, there's a rat checking out the scene. I think the rat's got a boner for the hot chick. I know I do!
And there you have it. Was this post too long? I need some sort of feedback on the length and content of my posts. That way I can completely ignore it and write whatever I fucking please. Thank you for reading, kiss my ass.