Released: 2008, Self-released
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Helion, this Finnish progressive and highly melodic heavy metal band keep on pushing forward, recording and putting out new releases, despite a lack of label interest toward them.
It´s been almost 2 years since Helion released an EP, titled MERCURY RISING - and overall getting a heapload of good responses from people all over the world. I don´t know whether this is even funny for the band members any more, but somehow they still have remained an unsigned act. I don´t know how they do it. "Let´s make just 77 hand-numbered copies - and please try to avoid giving your copy to any persons in record companies". Well, cursed seem to be these fine men of Helion anyway...
The band´s latest 5-track opus, titled BAD DREAMS/BROKEN SHADOWS, is yet again a high caliber recording from this (unlucky) Helion camp. In fact, I even couldn´t have expected any less from them, but some great melodic, progressive metal where you can tag the two words ´quality guaranteed´ over each song on their latest EP. "Dreamcatcher", which has got the honor of opening this EP, brings out the best qualities of Helion´s song writing capacities: An ever-flowing catchiness, tons of melody, very good lead work, Jaakko´s strong vocal parts and sort of a ´never-give-up´ attitude are what make Helion such a recommended act for any fans of progressive heavy metal - and why not for everyone else as well who simply dig and enjoy a dose of quality metal.
"Liquid Veil", with its Maiden-tinged guitar parts in the beginning of the song, is where the band´s second guitarist Simo Autio steps in stronger and brings in his death grunts as a new element into Helion´s sound - and why not. His mean death grunts fit in well, but since these death grunts play an increased role in the band´s sound, it takes some time to get them adjusted into their songs as a part of Helion´s sort of ´updated sound´. It´s "Blood of Phoenix" that probably owes a thing or two to Amorphis. It´s again those death grunts which give that special stamp to the song (just listen to the chorus part: "Hear my call..."). Other than that, the song is full of the ear-kissing atmosphere and those other important ingredients that make this song one of the better tracks Helion have ever penned down during their whole career. I personally got thrilled by "Tell No Tales" most out of the 5 songs they have recorded for this EP. Both Jaakko´s clean vocals as well as Simo´s harsh and deep death grunts match together surprisingly well in this tune, lifting up some type of Bodom-ish feeling from somewhere especially when Simo takes command behind the microphone alone, supported by all those kick-ass riffing they have built around this song. The last track of this EP, "Broken Mirror", is a ballad song, which unfortunately didn´t do much for me: I´m not saying it sounds bad or anything, but since I have never been into ballads that much, I have no intention to lie that I got thrilled by "Broken Mirror".
Nonetheless, it´s a real crime against Helion if they don´t get snapped up by some label soon. Now what Helion needs to do, is to make a re-edition of BAD DREAMS... (unlimited to unnumbered, hand-written copies, ha!) and circulate it around for the right people in record companies only... and get signed by the best one out of all candidates. ;o)