2007, HELLOWEEN released their twelfth studio album which was
entitled ‘Gambling With The Devil’. It received many positive reviews,
with most fans praising the album as one of the best Deris era albums.
After this release, the band
teamed up with Kai Hansen's current band Gamma Ray for their 2007 / 2008
"Hellish Rock" world tour. The tour took them through Europe, Asia,
South America as well as a few dates in the US. The tour is notable for
Kai Hansen stepping on stage with his former band fellows Weikath and
Grosskopf to perform the hits "I Want Out" and "Future World" as a final
In celebration of the band’s 25th anniversary, Helloween
released ‘Unarmed’ in February 2010. The album is a compilation of 10 of
the band's best known songs, re-recorded by the current line up in
musical styles that differ from the original recordings. The release was
not appreciated by all the fans, some of whom became quite anxious about
Helloween’s upcoming album. Helloween released their brand new album,
‘7 Sinners’, on October 31 in Europe and before its physical release,
the band made it available worldwide for streaming via their Myspace
page. The name of the album refers to the seven deadly sins and,
according to Andi Deris, the record goes straight to the point: "after
an acoustic album, we needed definitely something that shows the people
without any question that this is a metal album".
is definitely one of the fastest and hardest albums in the history of
HELLOWEEN, it is bursting with vitality. In part, this is due to the
versatility of the various songwriters within the band, who over time
have become so homogenous, that the 13 songs have formed a unity of
their own in the studio.
It has become a cliche for metal bands to claim that their latest opus
is their "fastest" or "heaviest" album ever made, but in HELLOWEEN's
case, ‘7 Sinners’ is truly a return to form and it is indeed their
fastest and heaviest release in years. HELLOWEEN bass player
Markus Grosskopf stated: "For all those out there who found our
special best-of 'Unarmed' to be too smooth and calm, I have great news:
The new album will hit you right in the face! It's gonna be very heavy
and contain all the classic HELLOWEEN trademarks! Some songs are
very powerful and hymnic, others contain the fastest bass-drum patterns
our drummer Dani ever played, and this means a lot!"
So in order to find out everything there is to know about Helloween’s
latest effort ‘7
we made a telephone call to Germany, to get in touch with
long-time member, Markus Grosskopf (Bass). Here can you read what
he had to say to the readers of Metal-experience.com
In between ‘Gambling with the Devil’ (2007) and your new
you released your 25th anniversary album ‘Unarmed’
(February 2010), a compilation album of 10 of the band's best known
songs, re-recorded in different musical styles.
So let’s start from there. The album wasn’t exactly
well-received by all of your fans, (but I do like it), what was the
reason to record these songs in this manner?
We wanted to do something very different. We love to keep
putting variety into what we do. That’s how we keep things interesting
for ourselves. It is fun for us and we need to satisfy ourselves and
keep us happy with what we do. We love it if fans like what we have
done, but we know there can be people who don’t like it! We can’t help
that because we cannot please everybody. It was really a lot of fun for
us and that’s what keeps the spirit in the band going! It’s also very
interesting to have people working with us who don’t come from the heavy
metal scene. They can give us new ideas and new inspiration.
Did you work differently on ‘Unarmed’
than you did on the previous Helloween albums?
Well the process was almost the same as with the other albums, we do a
lot of songs and music at home and then vote together with the ideas to
see if we can all work with them. We went to Andi’s recording studio in
Tenerife and recorded 6 or 7 tracks with bass and guitar and then
vocals. We could leave our gear there and come came back for the drums
whenever we wanted to. It’s easy to work like this, you don’t need to
check the studio time that’s left and it is way better than when you
have to rent a studio somewhere!
Now let’s talk about the new album. What was the
songwriting process like for ‘7 Sinners’? Did people come in with just a
riff, or complete songs? How much time did you spend on the songs?
Yes we do, we start writing individually and then we come together and
collect all the parts and ideas and riffs and so on. We will sit and
think about how we can put all of these things together as a song. The
directions were already there. It was very easy this time. Every
ingredient was already there. We didn’t need to find any gaps to fill
up. Probably we had enough fresh music in our heads after doing the
Which approach did you choose to create this album, did
you go for a more raw exposition.. or something all together different?
Because it sounds a bit more powerfull and heavier than your previous
As I said we were listening to ‘Are You Metal’ and ‘7
Sinners’ and stuff. We wanted to sound like this and it just came
What were the goals you had in mind when you started to
record ‘7 Sinners’, any elements you definitely wanted to include on the
We didn’t really talk about goals or how it had to sound.
It seemed that everybody had the same view and we could very easily put
the songs together. Our ideas all came together because we all went into
the same direction. We didn’t even have to discuss what to do next. It
all just came out in the flow! Things being so natural and such an easy
process is what I love about this album.
One of the most typical songs on the new album I think is
“Who is Mr. Madman?”, a successor of 1994’s “Perfect Gentleman”. Can you
tell me a little more about this song, who came up whit this idea and
why did you choose to create this successor?
This was the fun part of the cd. It’s good to go back to
the relations and roots of the old songs. These are all little guys who
belong to the Helloween family. We like this.
I hear a lot of keyboards in a couple of songs and even a
flute solo during “Raise The Noise” (which reminds me of Jetro Thull),
who was responsible for these influences and who played these
We had a keyboard player who helped us out on this record. He did a
great job and performed the things we wanted. We like to mix things up
and have a lot of variety. We love to use different sounds and music
types like classic metal music.
Is this an influence you wish to develop more in the
future, or can we expect Helloween maintaining the typical “Helloween”
kind of melodic power metal sound?
We just keep doing what we think sounds right and what
makes us happy.
Could you describe the implications of the title ‘7
It doesn’t have a concept but number 7 has always been
our lucky number. And the seven sinners is also related to Helloween
somehow. We had to put the seven into the title.
About the lyrics, where do you get your inspiration from
and can you tell me something more about them?
If I write lyrics, I just don’t know where it comes from.
I sit there and think of a melody or a line, and if I have something in
my head I just have to make a whole song from it. It pops up. I think
it’s the most complicated part of the writing process because it has to
be catchy and it has to fit to the music. It has to have atmosphere. So
sometimes I can’t think of anything and sometimes I just start writing
down what’s in my head.
How important is it to you that people pay attention to
the lyrics apart from listening to the music?
It has always been very important for Helloween because
we write about freedom and it has been almost a tradition for us. We do
want to sent a message to the listeners. They may like the music because
of the themes we stand for. There is also a kind of emotional feeling
that people might get when listening to the songs/ lyrics. We like to
see everybody free, everybody should be able to say what they want to
say and be who they want to be!
With several albums under your belt, how far has
Helloween surpassed your original dreams and what would you say is the
most rewarding part of being in the band?
Well I like the way I live now. Being part of Helloween
is great, if I said anything else, lightening would strike me right
away. It is a lot of work, we are also a company, so we have to make
decisions at times, and work with time schedules. That is all hard work,
but it’s also the life we love.
Which song is your favorite one to play live? And which
song do you find the most challenging one to play live?
One of my favourite songs live is “Eagle fly free”. It is
always challenging to play all the songs live, as good as they are on
the cd. We do make mistakes like everybody, but it gives you a great
feeling if the songs sound awesome when we play them live.
What have been the highlights and low points throughout
The lowest point was after our original drummer, Ingo
Schwichtenberg committed suicide back in 1995.That was the hardest. We
were young and a thing like this happened, we didn’t know how to react.
Before all of this happened we tried to get him the help he needed, but
that wasn’t enough. We will never forget this.
What is your opinion on the metal scene these days? What
do you think of the overload of bands at the moment and is there
anything missing in the scene?
The scene is getting better, I think. It’s more accepted
than a few years ago. Only time can tell what is going to happen with
Finally: what does the future hold for Helloween, any
touring plans? Where do you see your musical direction going for the
You never know what will happen. We just did this one, so
we don’t talk about the next album yet. I can only tell you it will be
different. We also start touring soon, all over the world. And we will
do some summer festivals in Europe this summer. We will see what happens
Is there anything that has been left unmentioned?
As we come over to your place to play, if it’s possible I
would like to drink a beer with a lot of people who come to our shows.
But that will be a hard thing to do. I will give it a try.
Ok, thanks for your time!
Andi Deris – Vocals
Michael Weikath – Guitar
Sascha Gerstner – Guitar
Markus Grosskopf – Bass
Daniel Löble – Drums
Kai Hansen – Vocals / Guitar
Ingo Schwichtenberg – Drums
Michael "Michi" Kiske – Vocals
Roland Grapow - Guitar
Ulrich "Uli" Kusch - Drums
Mark Cross - Drums
Stefan Schwarzmann - Drums
1985 - Walls of Jericho
1987 - Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt.
1988 - Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt.
1991 - Pink Bubbles Go Ape
1993 - Chameleon
1994 - Master of the Rings
1996 - The Time of the Oath
1998 - Better Than Raw
2000 - The Dark Ride
2003 - Rabbit Don't Come Easy
2005 - Keeper of the Seven Keys: The
2007 - Gambling with the Devil
2010 - 7 Sinners