"Up From The Ashes"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The last release I heard prior to this was the ungodly cacophony of Imperial Triumphant. Soulhealer is just what the doctor ordered to recover from that sonic trauma. This Finnish band specializes in pure European power metal in the tradition of Helloween and Hammerfall and it is so comforting to hear that it is almost like playing with a cuddly pup. Some might disagree, but there's sure a place for metal that has no surprises but which provides something smooth and melodic.

That's Soulhealer. If you dig the faster side of Helloween and like the vocal melodies of Hammerfall and even Stratovarius, you cannot go wrong here. The title track rises to greet you like a long lost friend, cranking out fast but non-abrasive metal. The vocals of Jori Karki do take some getting used to. They reminded me of Blaze Bayley, but like with Blaze, you eventually get used to them. Just don't expect any high pitched screaming here. The record has a solid crunchy production that captures everything well. Most of the tunes are short and fast, like "Fly Away", "Final Judgement" and "Am I in Hell", but they do toy with a longer mid-paced epic in "Sins of My Father" and an almost AOR-sounding semi-ballad "Behind Closed Doors". But this mixture has been the key to Helloween's success for decades and Soulhealer do not rock the boat in any way here.

The world will not be knocked off its axis by "Up From The Ashes", but  if you like what I've had to say about it so far, grab it for a solid slice of European power metal.