Search - Helloween :: Chameleon

Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

2 CD set. From the cover artwork to the keyboards and saxophone which were heard high in the mix, Chameleon took everyone by surprise. Helloween's final album with Michael Kiske was also their most adventurous, with previo...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Helloween
Title: Chameleon
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 11/6/2001
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Metal, Thrash & Speed Metal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 060768522626


Album Description
2 CD set. From the cover artwork to the keyboards and saxophone which were heard high in the mix, Chameleon took everyone by surprise. Helloween's final album with Michael Kiske was also their most adventurous, with previously ignored goth and folk influences coming to the fore. The track 'Windmiil' is also notable for containing what must surely be the daftest lyric to date by a foreign band writing in English. Castle Music. 2006.

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CD Reviews

A Dare to be Different...
alaskan glam-metal-head | Fairbanks, Alaska | 02/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Many people don't know what to think of this album. Like Pink Bubbles Go Ape, Chameleon is an album that further alienated Helloween's original fan base of metalheads, drawing on a variety of influences and musical textures that are hard to describe in words. Despite the fact that most critics, and even the members of Helloween themselves, seem to view the album as somewhat of an awkward failure, I personally find it to be an incredibly emotional and dynamic album unlike any other record I've heard. I've been letting it sink in for nearly a year now, and if anyting, I like it even more now than I did when I first bought it.

To provide some context, Chameleon was released in 1993, at a time when the "grunge" bands ruled the airwaves, and when the tensions amongst the members of Helloween were at their height. Singer Michael Kiske was largely responsible for the band's change in direction, which most of his band mates weren't too keen on. Things didn't look very promising, as the experimental Pink Bubbles Go Ape wasn't very much of a success, and Chameleon was to be an even further step in the experimental direction. You might say Helloween was having a bit of an identity crisis, but if you ask me, it yielded a great album. EVERY track is BRILLIANT in my opinion.

There isn't a song on this album I don't enjoy. Even though I am a metalhead who largely prefers very traditional rock and metal (mostly from the 80s and earlier), I neverthless found this album to be an incredibly unique and passionate work of art. I love this album just as much as I do Helloween's earlier masterpieces. There is still a strong foundation of electric guitars (and the rhythm section, of course) throughout Chameleon, but on several tracks you'll also hear synthesizers, horn sections, and even a soprano saxophone in "When the Sinner." I can hear touches of jazz in several tracks, and outright swing in "Crazy Cat." However, these influences are secondary to the characteristic Helloween sound which is still in tact here as on the earlier Helloween albums. The melodies in the harmonized guitars and Michael Kiske's singing (which is also nicely harmonized) are powerful and sublime, albeit a bit softer and more subtle than on, say, the Keepers albums. However, these songs really aren't THAT far away from earlier Helloween. I could see songs like "First Time," "Giants," and "Step Out of Hell" fitting in on one of the Keepers albums. These songs aren't as fast and furious as Helloween's earlier music, but they have that same unmistakable, rich melodic impact. Guitarists (like me) and guitar fans can also be reassured that there is some fantastic lead work here courtesy of Michael Weikath and Roland Grapow. Helloween also explores their sensitivity more than before here, with beautiful ballads, including "I Don't Wanna Cry No More," "Windmill," and "Longing." The range of emotions that this album conveys is wide, expressing hope, pure joy, melancholy sadness and desperation, wistfulness, as well as empowering boldness. But as I said earlier, this album is hard to describe, and so is the way it makes me feel as a listener.

Unfortunately, Helloween would lose two of it's great members after the recording of Chameleon - the phenominal young singer Michael Kiske, whose creative vison clashed a bit with the rest of the band, and the very talented drummer Ingo Schwichtenburg, who, suffering from depression, would tragically committ suicide soon after. Despite their hardships, both of them perform excellently on this album. Ingo is just as good as he's been since the Walls of Jericho days, and Kiske's singing is simply out of this world as always. He has one of the purest, most profoundly powerful voices I've ever heard, and also has incredible range. Kiske perfectly delivers the wide range of feeling and atmosphere that this album calls for.

Truthfully, Chameleon is a fitting title for this album. It takes you many places, and is a real journey to listen to, possibly reflecting the difficult journey that some of the members of Helloween were going through at the time this record was cut. It's a strikingly deep album, and one that doesn't really fit in with any musical movement or stereotype before, during, or after the time it was recorded. For that, I think Helloween deserves a lot of credit. This album doesn't try to fit in with "grunge," or any other superficial "scene." It's simply a timeless, stunningly touching expression of a troubled band that was struggling to find it's voice."