Andi Deris & The Bad Bankers: Million Dollar Haircuts on Ten Cent Heads

Andi Deris made a name for himself as being an extremely powerful vocalist when he fronted power/speed metal pioneers, Helloween. His distinct voice can be recognized a mile away and has become a prominent figure in metal vocals. He has been working on solo projects outside of Helloween since the late 90s and Million Dollar Haircuts on Ten Cent Heads is the third album with his backing band known as the Bad Bankers.

With the exception of perhaps the very first three Helloween records, most of their best material was in the late 90s when Deris was the vocalist. By this point Helloween had made their everlasting mark on metal with their Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1 and 2 albums and Deris brought a new life and energy into the band. However, I felt that after the Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy that the band recorded with Deris in 2005 was the last great thing they’ve done and have since released three very bland, stagnant records that all sounded alike.

This album, apart from being ridiculously titled, sounds like an FM Radio-metal band that is very heavy-blues-rock influenced…but with no good songs whatsoever. The album kicks off with “Cock,” which is just rude for the sake of being rude and doesn’t really mean anything. Then there’s “Will We Ever Change,” a silly attempt at a ballad, along with a few other tracks on here like “I Sing Myself Away.” The there’s “Don’t Listen to the Radio”… which is the single that they specifically released for radio. I just don’t get what they’re trying to do (if anything) and don’t think any of the songs are memorable or catchy in the least.

Deris as a frontman is still solid. He’s singing on the record as if he’s fronting Helloween, which is fine, but since the Bad Bankers don’t really offer me anything else musically, I’d rather just listen to The Time of the Oath or Master of the Rings. The riffs on this record are sometimes heavy, but more often not and the lyrics are just ridiculous.  I mean, the new album has Deris smoking a cigar while holding a burning hundred-dollar bill. What’s up with that?

Overall, I don’t think there’s anything redeemable on this record and to me all it all boils down to the fact that there aren’t any songs on this record that I can sing after the record is over.It’s very disappointing to say this about someone who has been involved with a very influential power metal band. It sounds like someone on his pension; just making half-assed music for a consistent paycheck.

Luke Helker

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