Published on June 22nd, 2017 | by Justin G.
Helker: Firesoul (AFM)
Argentinian heavy/power metal band Helker returned earlier this year with a new album, titled Firesoul. It’s their fifth studio album to date, and comes four years after their previous album (the excellent 2013 offering Somewhere in the Circle). That album was something of a breakout album for Helker. The band has been around since the late ‘90s, but only recently started singing in English, which helped the rest of the world take notice. A jaw-dropping performance at ProgPower USA a few years back didn’t hurt either. The result of that attention was a lot more people anticipating this new album, and Firesoul does not disappoint.
Helker’s identity, or at least a large part of it, comes from their towering frontman Diego Valdez, who is more or less the Argentinian Ronnie James Dio. So it’s impossible to listen to Firesoul and not think of the heavier Dio albums. There’s also a very strong Primal Fear sound here that hits the classic metal influences and power metal melodies. In fact, Primal Fear bassist Mat Sinner produced the album, and guested on one track. Opening anthem “Fight” and “Stay Away” have the strongest Dio sound, and “The One” could have come from Primal Fear’s last album. “Empty Room,” “Break Your Chains” and the title track are also highlights. The album closes with a very well executed cover of Black Sabbath’s “Neon Knights” that hammers home just who this band’s primary influence is.
Helker fans, both new and old, ought to be more than satisfied with Firesoul. It hits hard and has the melodies to stick with you, and it’s just a really strong heavy/power metal album overall. Fans of Dio, Judas Priest, Primal Fear, Accept, Herman Frank, Brainstorm and Benedictum will love Helker’s sound. Unfortunately Diego Valdez announced he is leaving Helker, so Firesoul is his final outing with the band. He leaves some (very) large shoes to fill.
Summary: I hate to see Diego go, but he's going out on a high note.