ALBUM REVIEW: Helion Prime – Question Everything – Saibot Reigns

Helion Prime’s third album features yet another lead singer shuffle as live vocalist Mary Zimmer (ex-Luna Mortis/White Empress) makes her studio debut, but their sci-fi Power Metal vision remains undeterred. Following the underwhelmed reception to 2018’s Terror Of The Cybernetic Monster, the band seems to aim for a vibe similar to their 2016 self-titled debut. The song structures are similarly streamlined, and the vocals have a consistently poppy character prone to anthemic layering and the occasional Melodeath scream. Guitarists Jason Ashcraft and Chad Anderson’s polished chugs and sweeping leads serve as the grand equalizer.

In the absence of a long-running epic track, Question Everything (Saibot Reigns) finds other ways to broaden its scope. The keyboards and lead guitars have a more domineering presence this time around, reinforcing the band’s scientific aesthetic while also channeling Symphonic Metal with the extra patches and bombastic layers. It can be a little too dense at times with the drums and rhythms getting buried in the mix, but it comes together without too much trouble.

There are still plenty of strong songs to work with, especially during the second half. The title track is among the best songs under the Helion Prime banner with blazing tempos and a life-affirming set of hooks that see former vocalists Heather Michele Smith and Sozos Michael making some fun cameos. ‘E Pur Si Muove’ is a halfway highlight thanks to its muscular mid-tempo pacing and ‘Reawakening’ makes for a particularly introspective climax. The latter would’ve been a pretty great closer but the cover of the Misfits’ ‘Kong At The Gates/Forbidden Zone’ is an entertaining final burst.

While Helion Prime’s debut album is still my definitive go-to, it’s nice to see Question Everything is delivered with such conviction. The denser production takes a couple of listens to get used to compared to their past efforts, but the musicianship remains at the band’s usual standard with plenty of memorable hooks made apparent from the get-go. Anybody with a taste for Unleash The Archers’ most recent efforts can consider this a fitting companion and the extra symphonics could make it worth checking out for fans of Nightwish and Epica.

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8 / 10