If anyone was to ask what the Deris era of Helloween album sounded like, this is the album that I would select in reply. After searching for their sound on Master Of The Rings and perfecting it on Time Of The Oath; Better Than Raw sees the band sit down, focus, and deliver an absolutely marvelous, tight and relentlessly catchy selection of melodic, virtuosic, enjoyable Power Metal songs. Every song is dripping with character and charm. The production is flawless. The choruses stick in your head for days.
This is a very strong and consistent record, that balances the bands different styles well and serves as the sort of ultimate middle-ground record of the band’s various styles and directions. The fast songs are great, the mid-paced songs are great and the slower quieter songs are great too. Its musically accomplished, but doesn’t go overboard with experimentation, it simply delivers the core Helloween sound with fresh energy, and it does it masterfully.
Highlights include the interesting ‘Lavdate Dominvm,’ the catchy ‘Hey Lord!’ and the eight-minute “Revelation.”
This is one of the better Helloween albums in the discography, and a very good introduction for Deris-skeptics. The quality of the production, song writing and musicianship are unquestionable, there is an almost gleeful atmosphere throughout and there is absolutely no time wasted on filler. Overall; Highly recommended.
[PS. The album cover is the super off-putting, but don’t let that stop you. the music is great]