Heavens Gate: Hell For Sale!-1992.

Heavens Gate:Heavy Power Metal from Germany.

Discography:

In Control / TyrantsSingle1989 
No Remorse Records – Label CompilationSplit1989 
In ControlFull-length1989
Open the Gate and Watch!EP1990
1991 PromoSingle1991 
Livin’ in HysteriaFull-length1991
More HysteriaEP1991 
Don’t Bring Me DownEP1992 
Hell for Sale!Full-length1992
Live for Sale!Live album1993 
Planet E.Full-length1996
In the MoodEP1997
BoxedBoxed set1998 
MenergyFull-length1999
2 Originals of Heavens GateBoxed set2005 
Best for Sale!Compilation2015

Members:

Thorsten MüllerDrums (1987-1999)
See also: ex-Carrion, ex-Steeltower, ex-The Gents
Sascha PaethGuitars (1987-1999)
See also: AvantasiaSascha Paeth’s Masters of Ceremony, ex-Aina, ex-Luca Turilli, ex-Luca Turilli’s Dreamquest, ex-Redkey, ex-Trillium, ex-Sharona, ex-The Wirepushers, ex-Virgo (Matos/Paeth)
Bonny BilskiGuitars (1987-1999)
See also: ex-Carrion
Thomas RettkeVocals (1987-1999)
See also: ex-Redkey, ex-Carrion, ex-Steeltower, ex-Avantasia (live), ex-String Eyes
Robert Hunecke-RizzoBass (1996-1999)
See also: ex-Aina, ex-Luca Turilli, ex-Luca Turilli’s Dreamquest, ex-Trillium, ex-Avantasia (live), ex-The Wirepushers, ex-Virgo (Matos/Paeth)

Past Members:

Manni JordanBass (1987-1995)
See also: ex-Carrion, ex-Steeltower
Ingo MillekGuitars (1987)
See also: ex-Carrion, ex-Steeltower, ex-String Eyes

One thought on “Heavens Gate: Hell For Sale!-1992.

  1. Acrobat, December 1st, 2014
    Written based on this version: 1992, CD, Steamhammer

    Heavens Gate – oh, how I hate the fact that they don’t use a possessive apostrophe there – are a band who I like quite a lot. I’m a big fan of their second album, Livin’ in Hysteria, which is sort of the missing link between Helloween, Riot and Defenders of the Faith era Judas Priest. Basically, it’s 1980s style power metal with the right mix of polish and fire; slick, sure, but never greasy. Unfortunately, on this album they took a little too much influence from Gamma Ray and Helloween resulting in an album that’s varied yet totally unsatisfying and with only a few hints at their former glory.

    Simply put, where Livin’ in Hysteria succeeded Hell for Sale generally fails. A fair analogy would be with Queensryche as this is a case of an obviously talented band disappearing up their arses and squandering what made them so good. Here Heavens Gate get carried away with goofiness and humour (not exactly a strong point for Germans anyway, let’s face it) and try for that Monty Python meets Helloween style of power metal. That’s right, on this album you’ll be subjected to every sort of silliness that the band could muster; fake English accents (more convincing than most American attempts but still really grating) and even a cover of ‘Always Look on the Brightside of Life’. You’ll cringe, you’ll skip songs, you’ll wish they had never tried to tickle your funny bone. Simply, Hell for Sale is a thoroughly inconsistent album, which is frustrating considering how much promise the band had previously shown.

    Of course, like most painfully inconsistent albums, it actually starts off quite well. ‘Under Fire’, whilst not on the same level as the highlights from their previous album, is a nice speedy burner. Certainly, this is what I’d expect from a Heavens Gate album. But on the second track we can already see some problem areas; the title track is awfully goofy. Never mind the ho-hum power metal fare, it’s that middle section that’s painful to listen through. A mock auction for the purpose of selling hell (whatever that might mean), complete with Kai Hansen on “guest English accent impersonation” and it’s really fucking bad. Together with Thomas Rettke, he hams in up with a mock English accent and then they try and sound like the cast of The Young Ones or various Monty Python characters. Their appreciation of English comedy is all fine and well, but please keep it off the bloody album. After this we have the more well-meaning-but-dull ‘He’s the Man’, which is a sort of medieval styled epic like ‘The Never-ending Fire’. Unfortunately, the band decided to put use a really bad keyboard trumpet sound, which will remind you of Christmas 1993 when mum and dad got you that £15 Casio. I don’t know about you, but tacky keyboards don’t really conjure that atmosphere of the middle ages.

    Similarly the album continues in an annoying fashion. ‘America’ sounds like a Hagar era Van Halen outtake; really uneventful and plodding. ‘Atomic’ fails to spark much interest from me, but at least it’s not overtly silly (given the previous tracks one might fear that it was a Blondie cover). ‘Rising Sun’ is a totally upbeat, happy-happy-Helloween-styled ode to Japan (they’re big there, don’t you know). It’s silly and if you’re not into Helloween’s Keeper albums you won’t like it much, but still I rather like it. There’s some cool riffs and the mid-section where all the guitarists from Heavens Gate and Gamma Ray get a solo is cool. And who knows, maybe they got another Japanese tour out of it?

    ‘Up and Down’, however, proves to be a real highlight and it’s certainly in league with what the band did on Livin’ in Hysteria. It’s a pretty unusual number; jazz meets Van Halen meets power metal. And surprisingly, it works! Lyrically, too, the drunk/hungover subject matter shows that the band’s more light-hearted tendencies could work well if only they exercised a little restraint every once in a while. After this bright spot they go into a crap ballad, just like the one on Livin’ in Hysteria. To play Hell for Sale from start to finish is certainly to test one’s patience.

    As already stated this is a really frustrating album from a talented band. Thomas Rettke is a fantastic vocalist (outshining many of the more well-known German power metal vocalists) and the guitarists are playful and interesting. But, sadly, they got in with the wrong crowd. Those Gamma Ray boys led them astray, tempting them into mediocre waters with promises of Japanese tours and the latest Bottom VHS. Consider this review not only as a warning of the inconsistency within but also as a recommendation of the band’s previous album, which really is an outstanding piece.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s