Unsigned / Self-released
Words: Craig Hartranft
As the story goes Helion Prime was formed when Jason Ashcraft (Dire Peril) asked Heather Michele (Graveshadow) create a new project together. Taking their name from Riddick movie universe, the band combines classic heavy/power metal with themes from real science and science fiction. It's hardly a novel concept, heavy metal band have an affinity for all sci-fi and fantasy. Actually, it's the same thing that Dire Peril does.
Not surprisingly, I gave everything away in that first paragraph. Well, maybe not everything, some comments are required. If you didn't catch it, the band has a female lead vocalist. Heather Michele sings clean, but is difficult to understand for some reason. Exceptions come when the music is gentler as at the start of A Place I Thought I Knew or Live And Die On This Day, where you hear the sweetness in her voice. Otherwise, have the lyrics handy. So basically what this makes Helion Prime is Dire Peril without the shrieking screamo vocals (of Norman Skinner), which is definitely an improvement and kudos to Ashcraft.
As for his take on the Helion Prime sound, Ashcraft seems content to compose and play traditional power metal. Tempos vary at times, but generally there's some speed here. Also some impressive riffage, good guitar harmony also, from Ashcraft. Having not read the PR details, so as to begin with preconceptions, upon listening the first time, I was almost convinced there were two guitarist. But no. As for his solos, they're impressive throughout, large and soaring. Which makes this Helion Prime definitely a guitar lovers album. One final note: there are some death vocals in one song, You Keep What You Kill, but for what reason, I'm clueless. They're quite ugly. Otherwise, Helion Prime's eponymous debut is engaging and entertaining, strongly guitar driven, American power metal. (Frankly, in my humble opinion, this project is far better than Ashcraft's Dire Peril.) Recommended if you like A Sound Of Thunder, for instance (with less screamo female vocals).
Helion Prime's eponymous debut is engaging and entertaining, strongly guitar driven, American power metal. Recommended if you like A Sound Of Thunder, for instance (with less screamo female vocals).
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