With their third full length Question Everything - released about a year ago - Helion Prime proved in full they are one of America’s finest power metal outfits, paying homage to the European forebears while still carrying their own flag into the future. Hardly ones to sit idle as the world - and the live metal scene - still recovers from this pesky little pandemic, the guys are releasing a special edition of the album, with some new treats. Physically there is a second CD to the package, which contains the main portion of what is reviewed here (I already gave the original release 4,5/5 remember?). It consists of a few re-recordings of older songs and a couple of cover songs. The main album itself remains largely unchanged; they’ve removed the unnecessary Misfits cover that originally closed and added a new song to open it. This new song - Wash Away - is of course the main attraction on this special release.
The re-recordings happen to be of a few of my own personal favorites from the first two full lengths, as well as a version guest vocalist-less version of Question Everything. These include show stopper Moon-Watcher from the self titled debut (2016) and eight minute progpower behemoth The Human Condition from Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster (2018). While the new versions of these songs definitely capture the sound and feeling of Question Everything, they do somewhat lack the oomph and charisma of their respective originals. While Mary Zimmer is definitely a phenomenal fit for the group, Sozos Michael hit that sweet spot in The Human Condition on his original - and that one was even a duet, which added to its staying power. Wash Away is (obviously) the most interesting part of the newly presented stuff. The riffing is heavy as all fuck, but the melodic flair is there all along, Zimmer once again showcasing her amazing vocal work especially in the big sounding chorus - and it’s got that emotional pull as well. All in all, the song is a great addition to the Question Everything album, summarizing all the elements that made the album great to begin with.
This special edition of Question Everything is really (and quite obviously) aimed mostly at the hardcore fans. While the original album remains as strong as it was - heck, even a tad or two stronger, what with the removal of Kong at the Gates / Forbidden Zone and the addition of Wash Away - the re-recordings and covers are definitely not as interesting - §though to their credit they branch out a bit with Children of Bodom cover Angels Don’t Kill, a tribute to the late great Alexi Laiho. While it’s understandable that the guys wanted their latest full length released in a bunch of new formats, the new stuff presented could very well have been released as a Wash Away EP to make it that little bit more digestible to the average listener. If you are one of those hardcore fans however, there’s really no doubt this special edition will give you all the Helion Prime you want. It’s shock full of all the great musicianship, intriguing songwriting and powerful anthems for which they’re quickly turning more and more heads.