Helloween Live in Sao Paulo

Confirming itself as the heavy metal capital of the world, Sao Paulo has become the hotspot for live albums. From Iron Maiden to Rush and now Euro metal stalwarts Helloween, metal bands have tapped into the endless sea of crowds — arguably the largest any of them have performed for in their historical careers — to propel the energy, dynamics and overall impressiveness of their live efforts. There’s no denying that hearing a few thousand people hoot and holler along to (and occasionally overpower) a song is more commanding than something recorded down at the local watering hole. And yet again, the end result is startlingly phenomenal, as the energy and passion of the audience comes across, pushing the band to virtual perfection. While it’s no secret that Helloween have been mining the operatic power metal vein for far too long, it’s still quite relevant, on a purely technical level, and Live in Sao Paulo appears to be the jewel in their metal crown. Spotless, seamless and soaring, songs such as the epic "The King For 1000 Years,” "Mr. Torture” and "I Want Out” are spread over two discs and successfully capture the spirit of the ravenous fans. The production values are better than that of some of the band’s previous studio albums, with all the instruments and vocals sounding clear, full and punchy. Were it not for the fact that these guys seem almost cartoon-ish with their galloping and pre-Dream Theatre vocal callisthenics, Live in Sao Paulo could very well be one of the best live metal recordings in decades. (SPV)