Released: 2002, Self-financed
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
A newest addition to the ever-growing line of Finnish progressive metal bands comes under a moniker Helion (NOT Hellion!), containing of Kim Högberg on vocals, Lauri Heikkinen on keyboards, Jaakko Kunnas on guitars and violin, Leo Kunnas on drums and Ville Kankaanpää on bass. The band is pretty damn exceptional as far as these young musicians´ musical background is concerned: all the band members have studied classical and pop/jazz music in the past and been playing and writing music together for some 5 years by now. And all of that really shines from their self-financed, 4-song debut CD ´coz everything – and I really meant EVERYTHING -- sounds very mature, highly professional and 100% ready for a record deal with some ideal label that understands progressive metal, which is what these young fellows already churn out so effortlessly and convincingly.
What I found clever on this disc is the way the guys have chosen the songs for THE SHORES OF EVERMORE. They are quite different compared to each other. The opening song titled "Dungeon" is basically the heaviest tune out of the 4 songs here; the main riffing in the song bring Finland´s Heavy Metal gods Tarot to mind more often than just occasionally. As a separate mention, Kim shows some strong vocalism in this particular song, too. The next song, “Sands of Time,” starts off with some acoustic guitars, some beautiful violin parts supporting them nicely – also this track is rather heavy as a song until the middle part reaches its more mellow, but nicely catchy chorus part. Some great Amorphis-like guitar work here and there gets my applause, too – and Kim almost reaches Bruce Dickinson type of strong vocalism in the end of the song which naturally warms up my heart more than one could expect at first.
The 3rd song, called “Shadows of the Night,” is the true epic song of the disc, lasting almost 8 minutes. It starts off with a dominating yet immensely beautiful and catchy keyboard part; then it grows to new heights as a single song, changing its shape and color all the time and becoming more and more progressive towards the end with many different instrumental sections. A great chorus part should be credited separately – what do you say yourselves about the chorus part that goes: “Hide me in the shadows of the night… Sky falls red and bleeding from inside… Take me to the shores of evermore… and let me hide from the twisted light”. Maybe a bit ´cheesy´, but so damn beautiful and heart-tearing, ain´t it?!
The final tune of this disc is called “Hope” and is probably meant to prove only that ´ballads´ are a piece of cake for them to come up with. I´m not too thrilled about the song itself, but I still admire their mature and professional use of skills to give a birth to this type of song. I believe many owners of some radio stations that are specialized for Hard Rock, Soft Rock, Rock, etc. would undoubtedly provide some airplay for “Hope” in their channels without any hesitation. A very good attempt from the guys to gain more listeners for their progressive and experimental world of metal if nothing else…
As THE SHORES OF EVERMORE is a self-produced print of 300 copies only, be sure to act fast if you still want your own copy of it and progressive Heavy Metal is what you love and adore most. I bet this will be a wanted collector´s item sooner than any of us can expect ´coz as I believe with all the musical skills and talent these dudes possess in the band, they may have been noticed by some labels already and are fully in action for working with them debut full-length album – you just never know…