Helion - Fools Paradise
Self Financed
Progressive Heavy Metal
10 songs (48.06)
Release year: 2004
Reviewed by Aleksie
Hailing from Finland, Helion has been working the demo scene here for some time now. And without the support of a distributing record label, in the beginning of 2004 the guys decided to gather their assets together and release the bugger of an album themselves. A bold move, that should pay off in the near future judging by the overall quality of Fools Paradise.

Take the Awake-era, heavier Dream Theater, just tone down the most over-the-top noodlings a bit and add a hefty dose of the classic metal elements of Priest and Maiden, and you’ve got Helions sound to a pretty close degree. Singer Kim Högberg has a strong, roughed-up-and-a-bit-higher-Coverdale like voice. You would have to make your own comparisons, though. It doesn’t remind me at least of any particular singer right away, which is always a plus. Some of the very highest notes can sound a bit strained but you would have to focus on it to really notice it. Some death growl-like additions of aggression would beef up some of the songs like God Of Fire. Just an afterthought:) The emphasis on the heaviness of the guitars on the album brings a nice touch to the music. Many of the aggressive riffs would pass easily on Testament or Exodus albums. The keyboards are one element that Id like to hear more of here. Or “more” is not the word, as there are plenty of the keys here, but used in a grander scale. A more blown-up, grandiose atmosphere would make the sound more hard-hitting in my ears. Im a sucker for Queen-like pomp, I know.

As the songs go, the best stuff is located right at the beginning, and ending, coincidentally. After the short intro, a nice riff reminiscent of Judas´ Painkiller kicks off Technology, a nice speedy, straight-forward metal song. God Of Fire and Forsaken Religion show some more of the progressive sides of the band, with the tempo changes, wicked solos and the great but brief drum solo in the latter song. God Of Fire is without a doubt my choice “hit single” of the album with a killer chorus and some nice Pantera-like grooves here and there. Nice double-bass bashing spices up the experience. A shame that the drum sounds on the album could use some beefing up, they tend to get buried up every here and there among the guitars, but not too badly. Of course it could also be my ears, which aren’t what they were at birth, who knows. The mid-portion of the album doesn’t stick to my senses as well as the beginning, even though there are good parts every here and there, especially on the very Dream Theater-like, multi-sectioned Stay Human. The groove again nicely picks up on the straight-ahead rocker, The Point Of No Return and flows into another more prog-inflicted “epic” of a song, Frail Vision, which has some nasty soloing again, that just teeters on the line of masturbatory widdling but manages to avoid that dreaded pit. The closing “ballad” The Sun Is Burning Down is also one of my favorites here, as I always give credit to ballads that are fast and heavy:) Well, its not that fast, but heavy, and praise must also always be given when a ballad doesn’t have too sugary lyrics. A well chosen album closer.

A very strong debut offering after highly reviewed demos through years. With this kind of a release, I would be damned if no label had the attention to grab onto this band while right out in the open. A highly recommended release for every fan of a bit more complex, mature metal that still doesn’t mainly feature a guitarist breaking the sonic wall on half the album. Even though self-released albums from Finland aren’t the easiest things to find at the local store, visit their site, check out the clips or buy the disc vie the site, and let the metal flow.

Killing Songs :
Technology, God Of Fire, Forsaken Religion, The Point Of No Return, Frail Vision & The Sun Is Burning Down
Aleksie quoted 80 / 100
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