Helion Prime – Question Everything – Album Review

Artist: Helion Prime

Album Title: Question Everything

Label: Saibot Reigns

Date of Release: 5 October 2020

Everyone’s favourite science-obsessed power metal band returns with album number three, entitled ‘Question Everything’. In that case, my first question is: how can a band remain as a going concern when they have had more artists behind the microphone than they’ve had full-length releases? ‘Question Everything’ features Helion Prime’s fourth singer in their six-year history. That’s one every 18 months. Impressive, I think you’ll agree.

This album sees the introduction of Mary Zimmer behind the mic, standing in the footsteps of Heather Michele Smith, Kayla Dixon and, most recently, Sozos Michael. She joins original members Jeremy Steinhouse (bass) and Jason Ashcraft (guitars), alongside 2016 additions, drummer Alex Bosson and lead guitarist Chad Anderson.

I grew to quite like the sophomore release, the ridiculously-titled ‘Terror Of The Cybernetic Space Monster’. It wasn’t perfect, thanks to an abundance of cheese and inconsistent quality, but there was a certain charm about it that, by and large, won me over. Two years later and it’s like a strange case of déjà vu, because I feel pretty much the exact same way about ‘Question Everything’. Again, it proves that when they are hot, Helion Prime are on fire. But when they’re not, they’re pretty bang average. And that’s a shame, because the raw talent is there, and those gems of songs prove that the band have what it takes to write quality power metal.

The exhibits that help to prove this point, are as follows:

Exhibit A: ‘The Final Theory’. The opening track of this album is a real barnstormer, and it gets things off to an electric start. It kicks off with a classic, up-tempo power metal riff that I immediately like, before reducing to tinkling keys, allowing new vocalist Zimmer to make an early impression. Her voice is perfectly acceptable, probably even better than that. It’s just that she lacks a real touch of originality, and a spark if I’m honest. Nevertheless she has a good range and this is demonstrated as the bridge and chorus emerge, a huge, hook-laden affair that is instantly hummable. There’s also a great solo in the latter stages, that starts off slowly and pensively before accelerating to warp speed. Plus you get the standard, epic key change and repeat of the killer chorus.

Exhibit B: ‘Photo 51’ is the kind of power metal track that you love from the very first second. It begins with a lovely guitar lick before galloping off in a manner that Maiden would be proud of. The tempo is irresistible and there’s an energy to it that I really like. But it’s the full-throttle chorus, with more hook-laden goodness, delicious dual guitar harmonies, and one of Zimmer’s most arresting performances behind the mic that make it such a huge hit with me. But in addition, the keys are bold, and there’s a cool quiet section that allows the bass of Jeremy Steinhouse to come to the fore, and makes the final reprise of the chorus even stronger.

Exhibit C: ‘Reawakening’. A moodier track, with a vague ballad-like feel thanks to the quieter nature of certain sections, this is a really top-draw song. It may be slower in tempo, but the musicianship is of a very high standard, particularly the extended lead guitar work from Chad Anderson, backed up by some flamboyant drumming by Alex Bosson. It’s no secret that one other element to this song’s success is the melodies, especially the chorus. When Helion Prime are at their best, it is because they deliver a strong melody within their power metal framework.

It is something of a disappointment then, to have to report that far too many of the remaining eight tracks don’t quite meet the same quality threshold. They plunder a decent power metal sound, full of energy and verve, and aren’t massively different to the aforementioned clutch of songs. But too often, the music just tends to pass me by, with songs blending into one another without much to demarcate each of them.  There’s essentially not enough ‘wow’ factor to the material, and the album is just a little too long overall.

‘E Pur Si Muove’ does try to inject some aggression with the addition of a few gruff growls within the chorus, but I find the lyrics just a little on the cringeworthy side – ‘the motion of the ocean…’ anyone? ‘Forbidden Zone’ is bolstered by a little more cinematic orchestration and a keyboard solo for good measure, calling to mind Nightwish at their most robust, but again, it’s only decent, despite a more memorable chorus.

If you’re looking for some harmless melodic power metal fun, then it is hard to vote against ‘Question Everything’ by Helion Prime. It does feature some excellent moments, with a few cracking songs. However, it isn’t and never will be a genre world-beater simply because the bulk of the material doesn’t raise itself to the same level. It’s a shame because the band clearly have the talent and ability to create something special. Maybe next time – I’ll be keeping my fingers firmly crossed.

The Score of Much Metal: 80%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Soul Secret – Blue Light Cage

Enslaved – Utgard

Dynfari – Myrkurs er þörf

Amaranthe – Manifest

Kataklysm – Unconquered

Structural Disorder – Kingdom Crossing

Skeletal Remains – The Entombment Of Chaos

Prehistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter One)

Ihsahn – Pharos

Hinayana – Death Of The Cosmic
Oceans Of Slumber – Oceans Of Slumber
Okyr – Premorbid Intelligence
Manticora – To Live To Kill To Live
Pain Of Salvation – Panther
Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium
Unleash The Archers – Abyss
Veonity – Sorrows
Nyktophobia – What Lasts Forever
Ages – Uncrown
Awake By Design – Awake By Design
Black Crown Initiate – Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape
Gaerea – Limbo
Buried Realm – Embodiment Of The Divine
Navian – Reset
Selenseas – The Outer Limits
Quantum – The Next Breath Of Air
Ensiferum – Thalassic
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?
Airbag – A Day At The Beach
Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum
Atavist – III: Absolution
Frost* – Others EP
Darker Half – If You Only Knew
Atavistia – The Winter Way
Astralborne – Eternity’s End
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Haken – Virus
Pile Of Priests – Pile Of Priests
Sorcerer – Lamenting Of The Innocent
Lesoir – Mosaic
Temnein – Tales: Of Humanity And Greed
Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
…And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother
Vader – Solitude In Madness
Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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