Wednesday, May 10, 2017


AFM Records

Argentina' heavy metal band Helker, formed in 1998 and (since 2008) lead by the always reliable Diego Valdez (Assignment, Electronomicon, and Iron Mask), make their long-awaited return with full-length album number five, "Firesoul". Produced by veteran musician Mat Sinner (Sinner, Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle, etc.) and mixed and mastered by Achim Köhler (Amon Amarth, Sodom, Primal Fear, Brainstorm), Helker's latest release is a fantastic tribute to all things traditional metal! The album serves as the follow-up to 2013's "Somewhere in the Circle" and much like it's predecessor, "Firesoul" showcases Diego Valdez's powerful voice. For those people who are already familiar with Helker's lead vocalist, "Firesoul" plays to his strength and is perfectly suited to this Argentia' band's style of classic heavy metal. For everyone else (ie; newcomers of all shapes and sizes who would do well to check out this well-crafted metal soundtrack to the gods of hard rock, heavy metal, and timeless power metal!), Diego's vocal delivery could best be described as part Ronnie James Dio and part symphonic metal/epic metal mastermind! In other words, Diego Valdez is the main focal point of this well-honed band . What helps Diego Valdez excel in that role is a tight-knit group of musicians that know how to ROCK! The backing band on this album is second to none and musically, "Firesoul" is a tribute to not only traditional heavy metal, but everything from melodic hard rock to supreme power metal! For founding members Mariano Ríos (guitar) and Christian Abarca (bass) it has been a musical journey to perfect their craft and they have certainly achieved that dream on the fifty minute plus "Firesoul"!! Now in it's 19th year of existence(!) the Argentina-based band has been transformed into an unstopping force of talent and precision. No doubt it hasn't been easy. Helker has seen line-up changes and the group has independently released material in the past. The marriage with AFM Records seems to be working though and based on the strength of "Firesoul", Helker's future seems secure. Let's all hope that it stays that way. In the first place true heavy metal/power metal like this never gets old. And when it's as slick as this album is? Well, heavy metal as a community only grows stronger. We need albums like this to keep everything honest and to make sure that every other band in our scene pushes itself to such perfection. To that end I give mad props to Helker as a whole for it's growth and to the actual members I offer praise for their continued hard work towards the goal of Grade A metal. This fine-tuned album, which (incidentally) will also be released in Spanish, is the realization of said goal and comes with my stamp of approval!

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