The German speed metal band Helloween released a super debut album called “Walls of Jericho” in the mid eighties. Kai Hansen experienced that playing the guitar in combination with singing was a difficult combination. He wanted to get rid of the singing part. So for making a sequel to the successful debut album, a replacement was sought. They had seen a band perform, with a fantastic vocalist. Michael Kiske was his name. A young boy of less than 18 years old. But he thought the music of Helloween was too heavy and too fast. It hurt his ears. So he thanked for the honor. But when the second choice of Helloween, Ralph Scheepers, did not want to, Ralph thought he would be very big with his own band Tyran Pace, they came back to Michael Kiske. Helloween promised to write lighter music and reduce the speed. And also little Michael himself could write songs. And that’s how Michael Kiske joined the former speed metal act Helloween.
The first product of this new collaboration was “The Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1”. And indeed, the speed had been reduced, significantly more melody, but also a really good singer. The album became incredibly popular. It seemed that they couldn’t do anything wrong. The second album with Michael Kiske was also a success, “The Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2”. That success was even bigger than the previous album. And the music had become even more melodic. The success grew and the sky was the limit. It was even whispered that Michael Kiske someday might replace Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. The success also had a downside. Obligations, management hassle. Kai Hansen did not feel like it anymore. The guitarist / composer and bandleader left Helloween and founded Gamma Ray.
Michael Kiske saw his chance and bombed himself as the new bandleader. With a new musical course. Finally they could play Pop Rock, which Kiske always had in mind. And that was the beginning of an implosion of the empire. “Pink Bubbles Go Ape” and even worse “Chameleon”, were not really enthusiastically received by Helloween fans. Michael Kiske, an illusion poorer, left Helloween. He tried his luck in some other bands, but without too much success. Helloween tried to pick up the old musical course again after Kiske left, but have never been able to equal the successes of “The Keeper of the Seven Keys.” Today, exactly 30 years ago, on August 1, 1988, “The Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2” saw the light of day. The biggest succes in history of Helloween.