ARTIST: Red Helen
ALBUM NAME: Trading Past For Pathways
RELEASE DATE: February 2017
COUNTRY: South Africa
GENRE: Heavy Metal
Vox – Brandon Pratt
Drums – Matt Sletcher
Lead Guitar + vox – Erick Gerber
Bass + backing vox– Greg Van Kerkhof
You can’t accuse Red Helen of rushing things. The Gauteng based, four-piece band formed in 2008, but their first fully fledged album arrived in mid-February 2017 titled 'Trading Past For Pathways'.
The pace of the 10 tracks on 'Trading Past For Pathways' is significant because the furious raw energy on each track makes the album bone shattering. There’s power, there’s weighty aggression and blazing licks to headbang to, as well as impressive singalong choruses.
Standout tracks such as The Collapse and Suicide Notes & Bloodshot Eyes are coherent, have focus and portray a band that have spark. In fact, that spark has been seen time and time again at every live show Red Helen’s performed at. Whether it’s been performing in front of 10 people or 1000 people, the band have always played to their best abilities, and Trading Past For Pathways is no different. The recording quality of the album exceeded most expectations; there are no unholy rackets, tracks flow seamlessly, good thumping percussion and silky vocals make for a winner.
Lyrically, Red Helen are definitely a band with a message. From political corruption to grief, you can be sure that they are using the power of music to relay something important, and that alone warrants some respect.
The meat of the matter are the songs on Trading Past For Pathways, and Red Helen did a good job shaping, moulding and window dressing what may be the first of many albums. It's a promising signpost for the future.
'Trading Past For Pathways' settles on a well deserved 10/10 rating. From production value, musical composition, vocal contrasts between screaming and clean harmonies as well as meaningful lyrical content, it is almost impossible to fault. Yes we had to wait many years for this release, but if that is how long it takes to produce this quality, we will wait! This album can stand proudly among some of the top international metal releases this year. Congratulations Red Helen, it was worth the wait!