Well I’ll be damned! I have been listening to Graveshadow for quite a while now and reviewed them as has BloodRoseRed for our State of the Art: California series. Great minds I suppose. Anyway, MN has worked with Online Metal Promo for some time now and was offered an interview with Sacramento’s own, Helion Prime. After listening to them I grabbed the offer and decided to lead in with this review. Too good a band to interview without an introduction. After listening to them a few more times, it struck me where I had heard that beautiful voice before. That’s right. Heather Michele, lead singer of Graveshadow. I am nothing if not consistent!
Helion Prime began when Jason Ashcraft of Dire Peril asked Heather Michele about working on a Power Metal project with themes based on hard science theories and Sci-Fi tributes. Heather enthusiastically agreed and landed on the name Helion Prime from the alien planet featured in 2004 movie, “Chronicles of Riddick”, a favorite shared by both members. Borrowing members of Dire Peril and Axiom, Helion Prime recorded their first single in June of 2014. By August of the same year, Helion Prime began booking shows and followed their demo up with their EP, The Drake Equation which included “The Drake Equation” and “A Place I Thought I Knew” in early 2015 with a full length release on the horizon. Shortly thereafter Jeremy Steinhouse was added on bass and Axiom’s drummer Justin Herzer joined in the fun on drums. Lead guitarist Chad Anderson completed the lineup of Helion Prime at the point their ten song, self-titled LP was independently released in February of 2016. The track list for this bad-ass album dedicated to the life and memory of Leonard Nimoy include: “Into the Alien Terrain”, “The Drake Equation”, “Life Finds a Way”, “Into the Black Hole” (my favorite), “A Place I thought I Knew”, “You Keep What You Kill”, “Ocean of Time”, “Moon-Watcher”, “Apollo (The Eagle Has Landed)” and “Live and Die On This Day” and include a wide array of guest vocalists, guitarist and keyboardists (listed below). The end result is absolutely incredible. Heather’s beautiful vocal harmonies float on layers of impressive, catchy and memorable guitar riffage, solid bass lines and traditionally heavy, Thrash drums. The addition of so many other talented musicians add a spicy flavor and wide spectrum of sound not often found on a single CD. With Mr. Ashcraft’s musical incantations as good as they are, Ms. Michele is equally adept with lyrics. Very smart, mature and fun, all based on actual scientific concepts, the lunar landing and Science Fiction subject matter. The real genius is that everything comes off as heady fun instead of nerd cheesey. This is a serious album with the heavy hitting sounds that have been compared to Iron Saviour, Star One, Amaranthe and Dream Evil. As good as this album is, it went out of print until Divebomb Records stepped in to grow this unusually intelligent Power Metal band and have since re-released the album for all to enjoy. With the solid backing of Divebomb, Helion Prime should be able to set their own agendas very, very shortly.
Since its inception, Helion Prime has toured California, Oregon, Nevada and played with many, many bands including Michale Graves, Holy Grail, Nekrogoblikon and Dream Evil while its members have formerly worked with notable artists such as Mark Briody (Jag Panzer), Brittney Slayes (Unleash the Archers), Andy LaRocque (King Diamond), Ralph Scheepers (Primal Fear), Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon/Star One), and Niklas Isfeldt (Dream Evil) and many others. Current members remain the same minus a drummer TBA in the future. I have no doubt that, given the unique subject matter, super Power Metal sound and dramatically good musicianship of Helion Prime, we will be hearing much more, on a wider scale from this kick-ass band. Seriously cannot wait to hear more from them.
The Drake Equation EP: February 26th, 2015
Helion Prime debut released Feb. 15, 2016
Niklas Isfeldt: Lead Male Vocals on “Live and Die On This Day”
Bryan Edwards: Lead Male Vocals on “You Keep What You Kill”
Carlos Alvarez: Additional Guitars
Taylor Washington: Guitar Solos on “Life Finds a Way”, “Moon-Watcher”, “Live and Die on This Day”
Jeff Teets: Guitar Solo on “Into the Black Hole”
Steven Soderberg: Second Guitar Solo on “A Place I Thought I Knew”
Brett Windnagle: Solo on “You Keep What You Kill”
Matt Krais: Guitar Solo on “Ocean of Time”
Ryan Patane: Keyboard Solo on “Ocean of Time”
Josh Schwartz: Guitar Solo on “Apollo (The Eagle Has Landed)”
Austin Benelty: Additional Keys and Orchestrations
Travis Sigler: Spoken words on “Into the Alien Terrain”
Produced by Jason Ashcraft, Heather Michele and Carlos Alvarez
Rhythm Guitars recorded at Jason Ashcraft’s home studio Bury the Sun Productions
Lead/Acoustic Guitars and Drums recorded by Jk Northrup at Alien Productions
Bass Recorded by Jeremy Steinhouse at home
Edited and Mixed by Carlos Alvarez at Dirty Viking Audio Productions
Mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima at Tower Studios
Cover Painting by Marc Whisnant at Brilliant Engine
Album Layout by Bo Bradshaw at Brilliant Engine
All music written by Jason Ashcraft
Except: “Into the Black Hole” written by Jason Ashcraft, Heather Michele and Tony Cordisco.
“Into the Alien Terrain” written by Austin Benelty
All lyrics written by Heather Michele