HELLOWEEN's MICHAEL KISKE is suffering from acute laryngitis; festival appearances canceled
German power metallers HELLOWEEN have canceled their appearances this weekend at the Hellsinki Metal Festival in Helsinki, Finland and the Bloodstock Open Air festival in Derbyshire, United Kingdom due to “an acute laryngitis” suffered by the band’s singer Michael Kiske. Replacing HELLOWEEN at Hellsinki Metal Festival will be APOCALYPTICA, while KK’S PRIEST, the new band featuring founding JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing, will step in for HELLOWEEN at Bloodstock Open Air.
HELLOWEEN said in a statement: “The heavy storms in Slovenia (our thoughts are with the flood victims) and cloudbursts in Wacken couldn’t harm us – we played all our scheduled shows and celebrated together with our loyal fans. Much more difficult for us is now to inform you that we have to cancel the upcoming festival gigs at the Hellsinki Metal Festival in Finland and Bloodstock Open Air in the UK due to an acute laryngitis our singer Michael Kiske is suffering of. We did make this decision with a lot of consideration and with heavy hearts but Michael‘s condition unfortunately does not leave us any other choice. Thanks for your understanding.”
Last August, Kiske told Chile’s Radio Futuro that the overwhelmingly positive response to HELLOWEEN’s latest album “Helloween” “was pretty unexpected. I was expected it to do good, but it was, like, perfect.
“It is very difficult for you, when you’re involved in an album, to have an objective view at what you’re doing,” he explained. “You just do what you do. You always try to make the best out of every song. And obviously the spirit within the band is very good, which helps, but you never know how people hear it. So the best thing you can do is fade it all out, not think about it, and just try to make every song exciting for yourself; that’s the best thing you can do. The less you think about success or how critics might see it, the better for the album. It’s not easy, but you’ve gotta have that discipline to kind of fade it out and not let it get to you.
“I was surprised how well it was received, but, of course, it was a very welcome motivation, especially (in 2021),” Kiske added. “We released it right in the middle of the whole pandemic crap, and that was a positive lift, doing the interviews and seeing how people reacted to it.”
Regarding how HELLOWEEN had managed to pull off the seemingly impossible by splitting vocals on the album between returning singer Kiske and longtime frontman Deris, with added contributions from Hansen, Michael said: “It was actually great. It was very easy. I was kind of expecting it to be difficult, but it wasn’t, because there was no ego fights going on between me and Andi. We were just there on Tenerife meeting up almost every day.
“Before we started recording, we had Dennis Ward making a rough draft of what he thinks could work in terms of splitting: ‘This sounds like Andi. This sounds a bit like Michael.’ And that was how we approached it. It was some kind of pre-draft of how we could do it, but was nothing written in stone.
“One day I came to the studio and the evening before Andi was recording something, or had recorded something, and he wasn’t feeling so happy with it. He came and said, ‘I was trying this and that. And maybe you should give it a try too.’ And then we figured out what sounds the best for the song.
“There are a whole bunch of songs where you can hear right away, ‘That’s an Andi Deris song. He should sing that.’ Or, ‘That’s a typical Kiske song. That sounds great (with Kiske vocals).’ It’s like ‘Angels’, for instance, it was very clear that that was mostly a Kiske song, and Sascha (Gerstner, guitar) had written it with my voice in his head. But there are other songs, especially when Andi writes his own songs, usually it sounds best when he does it unless he wrote it with my voice in his head, like he did with ‘Fear Of The Fallen’. ‘Fear Of The Fallen’, he was writing it with both singers in his mind, and that works out.
“But it was very easy,” Kiske repeated. “Because you just try it out, and you very quickly hear what works best. And I would say, like, 70 percent of the time we knew before that that would be sounding better with him or that would be sounding better with me. Or even with Kai — there were even spots where we thought he should do it.”
Upon its release in June 2021, “Helloween” landed in the Top 10 in more than 10 countries, including Germany, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria. The cover artwork for the LP was painted by artist Eliran Kantor, who has previously worked with HATEBREED, SOULFLY, TESTAMENT, ICED EARTH and SODOM, among others.
Produced by Charlie Bauerfeind and Dennis Ward, the latest HELLOWEEN LP was recorded in part at the H.O.M.E. Studios in Hamburg (where everything started in 1984). The same recording console used for such HELLOWEEN albums as “Master Of The Rings”, “Time Of The Oath” and “Better Than Raw” was utilized to record the band’s new material. The effort was mixed at the Valhalla Studios of Ronald Prent (IRON MAIDEN, DEF LEPPARD, RAMMSTEIN).