Review Summary: Feel good power metal.
With Helker’s fourth record, chances are that the listener is going to know roughly what to expect. Even without a prior knowledge of the band, one look at the album cover screams melodious power metal filled with ringing chords and falsetto vocal aerobatics. Somewhere In The Circle
does nothing to move away from the preconceptions of the genre. The album fits perfectly within the stereotypes associated with their music, with no attempt at bringing anything new to the table. That’s okay, it is power metal after all. The music sticks to a formula of same sounding vocals, ringing guitar chords, steady albeit predictable drum work and mid-paced tempos. Making Helker’s 2013 release far from anything special but it is able to stand by itself as some moderately enjoyable modern power metal. What’s also interesting about this release is that it’s the first record by the band to be released in English. The group’s other records were released solely recorded in Spanish, whereas, Somewhere In The Circle
was released separately in both English and Spanish allowing for the album to become more accessible on an international level.
The most positive feature of this release comes in the ‘feel good’ mood presented by Helker’s almost infectious lyrical content. Tracks like ‘Just Be Yourself’ have a sense positive reinforcement, for example the chorus:
For better or worse, just be yourself, Do not try to be someone else, what they care about is not what you want… just be yourself.
The context is clear. Feel good about you, make sure what you’re doing fits your interests. These moments pop up every so often through the entire of the record and engage the listener. Thankfully, the result is not (overly) cheesy and benefits the album hugely. It’s important to note that the lyrical ‘goodness’ would have a hard time holding together without a strong instrumental effort. It’s already been mentioned just how steady the music is and despite being incredibly generic, the instrumental work of this five-piece tie everything together. There is a groove present throughout the record that allows Somewhere In The Circle
to maintain interest throughout its forty-six and a half minute play time. Throw in the occasional face melting guitar solo and things become just a little bit more interesting. The highlight of record comes in the form of ‘Wake Up’. Punching driving riffs come to the front of the music and even with the ballad strong structure form; the track showcases the best of the band’s writing abilities. At times however, the almost constant use of hook-lines becomes tedious to sit through. Yes, they do their job in creating a memorable listen but, at the same time the constant switch of hook-line to hook-line actually creates an overbearing listen. This isn’t a huge problem with the record, just something that over time will become more noticeable.
Overall, Helker’s Somewhere In The Circle
, is a steady albeit un-exciting release. It gets everything right, but it’s far from the hugely ground-breaking release that it needs to be. It’s overall good mood atmosphere does the record wonders but unfortunately the rest of the record is generic down to the “t”. Listen if you’re a fan of the genre, it certainly does the stereotypes justice but for the casual listener there is indeed much better out there. This Argentinian power metal group are solid, consistent and at their weakest point, safe. Somewhere In The Circle
, promotes everything a power metal record should be but doesn’t come close to rising above the band’s competitors.