CD Reviews

Helker - 'Firesoul' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 20, 2017    
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A great piece of work.

Remember the excellent Woody Allen film 'Zelig'? In it, Leonard Zelig has such a wish to blend in that he becomes the person he's next to. And there is the story from 2014 of an American man who allegedly claimed to be both Alex Lifeson and Dave Gilmour, in an attempt to avoid medical bills. Impersonation can be a sincere form of flattery but it can be downright annoying too. Helker's main-man Diego Valdez is not impersonating, let us get that straight. However, he doesn't half sound like the ineffable Ronnie James Dio; the tone, the timbre and the talent. Yes, to get by RJD's side, you have to be good – Valdez is, and Argentina's Helker are too.

Their music also sounds like Dio. 'Leaving Out The Ashes' has one of those dropped out, important as hell verses and one of those soaring, catchy as hell refrains. 'Where You Belong' pulls off the same incredible trick. Not content with that, 'You Are In My Heart' tries a sunnier approach, whilst 'Playing With Fire' is Melodic Hard Rock redolent of late eighties Black Sabbath and 'Fight' calls you out, snarling and recruiting a gang to push you around in the chorus.

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The sound, handled by Achim Köhler (Primal Fear, Brainstorm, Amon Amarth) and overseen by Mat Sinner, is clean and unfussy without being sterile, alongside performances that are pristine. Check out Mariano Ríos' and Leo Aristu's work on the stately bonus 'Rise Or Fall' and the doubled drama in a keening offer for 'Break Your Chains'. This is a band who can be as tough as PF and as groovy as Gotthard; that's quite a leap.

A great piece of work, bringing Dio the band and Dio the man to mind, but never becoming a tribute, despite a superb bonus track version of 'Neon Nights'. 'Firesoul' will really warm the cockles.

Steve Swift

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