The Helion Prime idea was conceived by Jason Ashcraft and Heather Michele during 2014, combining their two loves of science and heavy metal music. With Ashcraft on guitar and Michele on lead vocals, they were joined by Jeremy Steinhouse on bass and Justin Herzer (of Axiom) on drums to complete the line-up.
The band actually released their self-titled debut in early 2016 but has recently been re-released under the AFM Records label.
The music Helion Prime delivers is definitely power metal but they have brought it right up to date. The thing is, that date is around the year 2354.
With driving melodious riffs supporting Heather Michele’s soaring vocals we definitely have a recipe for success on our hands here. Michele’s vocals are often layered for maximum effect and it certainly does the trick.
For those of you who like your sci-fi films, you will remember that Helion Prime was an alien planet from the film Chronicles of Riddick and it is from there that you’ll see where the band’s inspiration comes from.
We open with the obligatory scene-setting 1’30” of atmospheric keyboards and spoken word of “Into The Alien Terrain” questioning if there is life on other planets, which is handy as we move straight into “The Drake Equation”, which, as we all know, is an equation used to figure out the probability of finding intelligent life in the universe. It is a great start of power, precision and harmony which is maintained throughout the album.
More space-themed action follows with “Life Will Find A Way” which basically states that earth will still exist no matter what is thrown at it, such as asteroids for example. It’s another fast-paced affair and with a great guitar solo topping it all off.
We have a singalong treat up next called “Into The Black Hole” and I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining this one to you.
Helion Prime takes a bit of a breather with “A Place I Thought I Knew” where Heather Michele shows her lighter and more emotional side and Jason Ashcraft pulls out another great solo.
We take a turn for the worst with “You Keep What You Kill”, where a certain Bryan Edwards shares vocals with Michele. It doesn’t quite work as Edwards’ vocal style is more akin to that of classic Power Rangers baddie Goldar, so it’s a case of chalk and cheese I’m afraid. Still, it’s only a minor blip and we move on to better things with “Oceans of Time”, reverting to more suitable power metal taking us through the space-time continuum. Nope, me neither. An enjoyable track all the same.
Another slower song follows, about something I understand for a change, “Moon Watcher”. It still packs a punch, just at a slightly more considered pace.
“Apollo (The Eagle Has Landed)” opens with a brilliantly melodic riff that you could definitely sing along to. The melody keeps on coming and Heather Michele is on top form. Jeremy Steinhouse ramps up the bass speed to warp factor 6, which is a sound to behold, great stuff.
The final song on Helion Prime, “Live And Die On This Day” begins with an almost folky note, but don’t let that put you off, it soon picks up into a solid rock song, although with less of a metal feel than we’re used to. A more suitable guest vocalist in the shape of Niklas Isfeldt (Dream Evil) adds his weight and the two songsters work perfectly together.
The final few seconds of this disc consist of strange noises which at first I thought were a barking dog but I now suspect are noises from “out there” in an Alien scary way. Or something.
I really rate this album and whilst I don’t usually take too much notice of lyrics this really opened my eyes (ears?) and I found the stories very interesting. The subject matter certainly added to my enjoyment of the album.
Having bigged up the album and it’s participants there were a lot of subsequent changes after the initial release of Helion Prime. Heather Michele has departed to be replaced by Kayla Dixon and Alex Bosson is now on drums. Jason Ashcraft is still there as the captain of the starship but is joined on guitar by Chad Anderson with Steinhouse still incumbent.
Helion Prime are currently writing their sophomore effort and hope to release it during late 2017/early 2018. If their debut is anything to go by then I’ll be at the front of the queue.