Master of the Rings is the sixth studio album by German power metal band Helloween, released in 1994. It is the first to feature new members Andi Deris and Uli Kusch.
The album is known as a turning point in Helloween's career, as it marks the band's return to their power metal roots after a commercial failure in their previous album, the progressive rock and pop-influenced Chameleon.
The album contains four singles, which are "Where The Rain Grows", "Mr. Ego (Take Me Down)", "Perfect Gentleman", and "Sole Survivor", with corresponding videos for the first three. "Mr. Ego" was dedicated to the band's former singer, Michael Kiske, and was released as an EP in Europe.
Helloween and vocalist Michael Kiske had reached the end of the road during the touring of 1993's "Chameleon". The dismissal shocked the heavy metal community. Michael Kiske's replacement was Andi Deris, formerly with Pink Cream 69.
After an alcohol and drug-related incident in Japan, drummer and co-founder of the band Ingo Schwichtenberg was deputized first by the session-drummer Richie Abdel-Nabi, then on a more permanent basis by former Gamma Ray drummer Uli Kusch. Although a mostly cheerful and social individual, Schwichtenberg suffered from schizophrenia that would sometimes leave him sobbing for no apparent reason. Forgetting to take his medication resulted in outbursts, and the drummer was frustrated by the band's musical direction ("He used to refer to song "Windmill" from "Chameleon" as "Shitmill"" laughs Weikath). In March 1995, Shwichtenberg regrettably ended his own life by jumping under a subway train.
After two highly controversial studios projects and a live album, Helloween parted company with EMI records, aligning themselves with the more modestly sized Raw Power (an imprint of Castle Communications). Nevertheless, the effect of Deris and Kusch was to re-energize their collective fortunes. In Japan, "Master Of The Rings" debuted at the top international album chart selling 120.000 copies in two weeks.
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