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You can often rely on AFM to dish out the goods, and the latest release from Argentina’s Helker is a particularly tasty treat that will likely have the blood pumping throughout the coming winter. Whilst I can’t really compare this with the band’s earlier releases, Somewhere In The Circle speaks for itself with a collection of really enjoyable, catchy tracks of killing heavy/power metal.
This is definitely by the book, but sometimes innovation isn’t all that necessary, especially when the music is played with as much heart and style as Helker manages to. The vocals are an immediate standout, coming across as a blend of Dio and Tim Owens (who also happens to drop in for a guest slot). Diego Valdez’s pipes are impressive to say the least, and he totally owns the album.
On the instrumental side of things, this is powerful, riff-oriented material. Guaranteed head-banging for all, I assure you. The guitars are somewhat downtuned, and coupled with a crunchy tone, sound really appealing. There is certainly a good balance between thumping riffs and more restrained chord arrangements, which allows Diego to command all attention. Standout tracks would include the wonderfully catchy “Wake Up”, which displays the aforementioned qualities well. “Inside Of Me” is an empowering metal anthem which begs for a fist raised to the sky, although my personal favorite would have to be the excellent “Begging For Forgiveness”, featuring Tim Owens and one of the finest guest slots I’ve heard from Ralf Scheepers ,who completely nails his part (although I am a slight fan boy)!
On the whole I'd say this is a definite must-buy, and a highlight of the first quarter of 2013. Particularly recommended for fans of no nonsense, kick ass heavy metal. At times this plays like an eighties Dio album for the modern age, which is just fine in my book. Those who crave something hyperactive and over the top won’t find that here, but anyone who can appreciate a good metal song should at the very least give this one a listen. Recommended!
Originally written for http://blackwindmetal.com (albeit ever-so-slightly edited)