Mercury Rising

It always leaves me scratching my head when I get a record from an unsigned band that’s better than about 80 percent of the stuff I get from the labels. That’s the case with this EP from Finnish melodic metal outfit Helion.

According to their Web site, Helion has been around in one form or another since 1995 and have recorded various demos and one full-length album. They’ve shuffled members a few times and made some slight shifts in musical direction over the years. With Mercury Rising, they’ve obviously found a formula that works.

The bashing opening riffing of “Devil’s Tattoo” from guitarists Jaako Kunnas and Kimmo Korhonen should grab the attention of any melodic metal fan right off. The style blends traditional metal with a strong progressive influence. There is just a touch of Dream Theater worship here and there through the four songs, but Helion also works to maintain a slightly more aggressive edge that a lot of prog/power bands lose. That’s largely thanks to the riffs of Kunnas and Korhonen, but the vocals of relative newcomer to the band Jukka Salo are also a big part of it. He can do the standard prog vocals, but he also displays a nice snarl here and there, as on the chorus of “King of Fools” or the verse of “Pay Day.”

For a self-released album, this one is exceptionally well done. The record is clean and crisp, and in short, it looks and sounds like a top-notch professional production.

It’s strange to me that no one has snapped these guys up. The melodic metal labels should check them out. I’d love to hear a full-length release from these guys.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
January 6th, 2007


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