[Review] Helion Prime – Question Everything

Helion Prime is a Sacramento, California based Power Metal band active since 2014, named after an alien planet featured in the film The Chronicles of Riddick. They have published one EP and three full-lenght, the last of which “Question Everything” released on October 5, 2020 in North America and Europe via their own label Saibot Reigns. The Japanese CD version will be available via Ward Records on October 28, 2020 and will contain two exclusive bonus tracks “Prof (Demo)” and “Rain (Trivium Cover).” In this third chapter of their discography the band has again changed lead singer, with the entry of Mary Zimmer, who offers a good vocal proof, without adding that something extra that is expected. This is a concept album, with each track revolving around different figures throughout the human history who had the courage to question the status quo of their respective societies, in some cases even dealing with harsh persecution as a result. The opener “The Final Theory” starts with bombastic riffs and a support of orchestrations that makes the sound pompous, the rhythmic session is solid and alternates accelerated with less tight moments. The voice adapts well to the various situations of the piece, while a short guitar solo characterizes the second part which closes with the return of the singing. “Madame Mercury” continues along the lines of the previous track, massive guitar riffs, pompous orchestral inserts and the addition of backing vocals that add power and airiness. The solo plots that characterize the second part are interesting, and then close with power with the last verse sung, sung which offers a more solid proof than the previous one. “Prof” is closer to classic Metal in sonority with a massive bouncy guitar and tight rhythm session. The structure of the piece is more elaborate, with the changes that are well developed and a strong vocal test that takes the right place on the stage. “The Gadfly” who is the one who challenges people in power, is an elaborate and developed track on several different rhythms that intertwine perfectly. The solid riffs to which we have become accustomed are present and alternate with more melodic openings and with interesting solo cues. The vocal is incisive and at times choral, leaving the right space for the instrumental parts, the true added value of the piece. Until now one of the highest moments in terms of technique, development and execution. “Photo 51” presents the usual engaging riffs and the sounds are easy to grasp here, a compact and engaging sound ensemble, with classic accelerations and orchestrations in the background. The melodic vocal that counterbalances the pompous sound of the instruments, easy-to-grasp riffs and a good solo between guitar and keyboard, nothing new but very well executed, rewarding simplicity. “E Pur Si Muove” was the famous phrase of Galileo Galilei, pronounced when his theory according to which the earth revolves around the sun was questioned. It is a track with a full sound, compact, solid as a rock and with an enthralling power, all the instruments are pulled and at the same time create engaging melodies. Another of the highlights of the disc in my opinion, with a keyboard insert in the second part with almost Prog traits, which closes with a virtuoso and valuable solo. “Words of The Abbot” features guest vocal John Yelland, who nicely intertwines with Mary’s female voice. The rhythm is tight and alternates more elaborate moments with quality tempo changes, while the melodies are a pleasant intertwining between powerful riffs and orchestrations, which are never limited to banal accompaniment. “The Forbidden Zone” is powerful and tight, with the structure very similar to the previous one, with a more commercial touch in the sounds of the sung lines. An easy-to-take impact track, not by chance it was chosen as the first single of which the official video was also produced. There are all the ingredients that a listener expects, the intense and melodic vocals, a powerful structure and the solo intertwining of keyboard and guitar, perhaps the track that best sums up the sound of the band. “Question Everything” maintains the powerful structure that has accompanied us in the last songs, resulting more in the Symphonic Metal of the late 90s. In fact, the choral refrain fully centers that type of sound, while the rhythmic session is bursting and accelerated, with the guitar adding power with the riffs and technique in the solo. The vocal is a pleasant encounter between melodic and aggressive, resulting in a strong point. “Reawakening” is a cross between a ballad and a Power song, with strong melancholic connotations, alternating acoustic and soft moments with outbursts with the double pedal. The result is an emotional piece of exquisite workmanship with a technical solo, while the ever-changing structure makes it an original piece. The intensity increases with the passing of the minutes, as the song transforms itself becoming more and more elaborate and the vocal gives life to one of the best tests on the album. The album “Kong at the Gates / Forbidden Zone” closes with a cover by Misfist, with tones halfway between Horror and Sci-Fi adapted in their own way with a Power Metal touch. An unexpected closure, a successful experiment, sometimes playing a little and taking risks gives its positive results, as in this case. In the Japponese CD version we find two bonus tracks, one is the demo version of “Prof,” while the other is the cover of “Rain” by Trivium, always re-adapted with the unmistakable Power touch we have become accustomed to on the record. An album that flows pleasantly throughout its duration, managing to maintain a good quality and intensity throughout the course of its 11 tracks. The guitar is predominant, even if the keyboards, often orchestral, play a fundamental role by adding that pompous touch that completes the melodic part. The rhythmic session is solid and flawless, managing to accurately mark all the steps of the album, sometimes added value with elaborate tempo changes. The vocal is not always incisive, however it offers a proof without smudging, and in some passages it is more decisive. Overall, a recommended listening to all lovers of classic Power Metal sounds, nothing new or innovative, but a well-arranged and performed standard sound, with the theme of lyrics that is an added value.


Tracklist

1. The Final Theory
2. Madame Mercury
3. Prof
4. The Gadfly
5. Photo 51
6. E Pur Si Muove
7. Words of The Abbot ft. guest vocals John Yelland (Judicator, Dire Peril)
8. The Forbidden Zone
9. Question Everything ft. Heather Michele (ex-Graveshadow, ex-Helion Prime) and Sozos Michele (ex-Helion Prime, Planeswalker)
10. Reawakening
11. Kong at the Gates / Forbidden Zone (Misfits cover)
– Japanese Edition Limited Bonus Tracks –
12. Prof (Demo)
13. Rain (Trivium Cover)

Lineup

Mary Zimmer / Vocals
Jason Ashcraft / Rhythm Guitars
Chad Anderson / Lead Guitars
Jeremy Steinhouse / Bass
Alex Bosson / Drums

Helion Prime |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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