Published on May 6th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Helloise: Anthology Box Set (Pseudonym)
Dutch heavy metal band Helloise didn’t exactly have a huge profile outside of the Netherlands in the 1980s. They were one of those names I’d see from time to time in the metal magazines, but for whatever reason I never checked them out. The band, which was formed by a pair of ex-Highway Chile members, played melodic hard rock that edged into power metal territory. Obviously they had a Highway Chile vibe, but there are also comparisons to early Europe, Fifth Angel and Pretty Maids. They had a really solid sound, and one that should have made them a bigger name.
The Pseudonym label delivered the ultimate Helloise box set last year. The appropriately-titled Anthology collects every Helloise album as well as a host of bonus material in one extensive yet compact 6-disc set. Here’s what we get:
Disc 1: Cosmogony (1985) – The Helloise debut, newly remastered, plus five bonus singles and b-sides from the various singles they released at the time. This is a really fantastic album with driving rhythms, galloping leads and fist-pumping rock anthems.
Disc 2: Polarity (1987) – The band’s second album, newly remastered, plus the bonus b-side “Mystery Eyes.” This is another epic melodic album in the Cosmogony vein, though more polished. There are times where it feels like a precursor to Stratovarius.
Disc 3: A Time and Place for Everything (1998) – This one came after a 10-year hiatus, and just as the European power metal scene was exploding. It’s a more polished and mature album, but still has a great power metal energy. This version is newly remastered and includes four bonus tracks. Ayreon mainman Arjen Lucassen lends a pair of solos to this album.
Disc 4: Fata Morgana (2001) – The Sascha Paeth-produced Fata Morgana was Helloise’s fourth (and to date, final) album. It has a very similar sound to A Time and Place for Everything, and fits nicely alongside the more melodic power metal bands like Stratovarius and Royal Hunt. Lana Lane provides guest vocals on one song. This new version of Fata Morgana includes the Japanese-only bonus track “The Water” and the previously unreleased “Love on the Rooftop.”
Disc 5-6: Eternity – The set ends with two discs worth of really cool extras. The first Eternity disc is loaded with early Helloise demos, many of which have never been released previously. The second disc has the remixed Polarity album plus several previously unreleased tracks recorded after Fata Morgana was released. It’s a lot to take in, but even the most die-hard Helloise fan has to find the Eternity discs worth the price of the whole Anthology set.
Anthology, like a lot of recent box sets, is a basic clamshell box with each disc inside in its own cardboard sleeve. It does have a very thick, very informative booklet that details the band’s history and every part of their discography. Individual jewel cases would have been better, but this approach kept the price down.
Packaging aside, Anthology offers the most complete Helloise collection available, and with fantastic audio quality and a wealth of new and rare tracks. It’s a real gem, especially for fans of the classic European melodic hard rock and heavy/power metal sounds. Fans of bands like Highway Chile, Vengeance, Europe, Fifth Angel, Stratovarius, Royal Hunt and Pretty Maids will find this set more than worthwhile. It’s limited to 1000 units though, so don’t wait too long to get it.
Summary: Get it while you can; it's a whole lot of vintage metal in one affordable set.