"Question Everything"

By Dr. Abner Mality

HELION PRIME is a melodic power metal band with a sci-fi bent out of California. My interest is aroused when I see the name of Mary Zimmer as the vocalist. Mary was pretty active in the Wisconsin metal scene in the 90's and early 2000's, being the singer for the band LUNA MORTIS, which was previously known as THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE. I am pretty sure she was in a band in my stomping grounds of Rockford, IL sometime in the 90's but could be wrong. At any rate, it's intriguing to see her name here.

This is fairly typical of American power/prog metal, with tons of melody, lightning speed guitar runs and a lot of influence from the likes of QUEENSRYCHE and SYMPHONY X. The guys are excellent players, but for me, there is some essential spice that this record is lacking. Mary, being a vocal coach, is spot on but I felt there were a couple of spots where she really could have cut loose but didn't. Her voice is lower register than many female vocalists, but she can really soar on melodic choruses, with the best exampled being "Photo 51", "E Pur Si Muove"  and the title track. For all the great playing ability of this band, there is something anonymous to their approach. For one thing, keys seems to be just as big as guitars here even though a keyboardist is not listed. Sometimes the synths smother things.

The album's concept revolves around historical characters who stood up against the power structure. This is a pretty cool approach and I sure agree with the message stated in the album title. Although the band is described as sci-fi, they seem to be more historical on this album. There's a neat and tuneful  cover of Graves-era MISFITS "Kong At The Gates/The Forbidden Zone" which really adapts well to HELION PRIME's style.

This album can be confidently recommended to fans of American prog/power metal, but it lacks an extra fire needed to propel to better heights. Maybe next time...