2016 Helion Prime and Dire Peril interview
In a galaxy far, far away–okay, Sacramento, California–resides a rebel rocker obsessed with science and science fiction. He is driven by a force to create his own brand of power metal in celebration of all things otherworldly. His name is Jason Ashcraft and his mission has taken the form of two equal factions; Helion Prime and Dire Peril. As guitarist for both bands, Ashcraft has brought like-minded obsessives into his sphere to bring the music of both factions to life. This month, Metalholic chatted with Jason about the upcoming debut full-length albums for both bands. He also shared his thoughts on the latest Star Wars film, and talks about the three albums that served as guideposts on his metal journey.
Dire Peril had its initial inception, or conception as far back as Ashcraft’s early teens, but it was not until 2009 that he began to do something with his love of sci-fi and metal. Over the last half decade, Dire Peril has recorded a trilogy of EPs; Astronomical Minds (2012), Queen of the Galaxy (2014), and Through Time and Space (2015). Ashcraft has recorded the projects with a combination of local musicians and specials guests. In 2015, he accepted an offer from John Yelland (Judicator, Disforia) to join Dire Peril as the band’s full-time vocalist. Fed up with making EPs the duo set forth to create the band’s first full-length album, The Extraterrestrial Compendium. The new record will feature songs based on some of the duo’s favorite sci-fi films spanning the last half century, including the likes of The Day the Earth Stood Still, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Predator, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers. Dire Peril utilized an Indiegogo campaign to help finance the recording of the record. The band recently hit its minimum goal, and expects to release the album by late spring or early summer.
If you have yet to discover Dire Peril, you can listen to the entire first three EPs on the band’s Bandcamp page, and you can even purchase the entire compilation, The Astronomical Queen of Time and Space for a paltry $3.
Helion Prime came together as a project between Ashcraft and Graveshadow vocalist Heather Michele when he asked her to form a project with him. The concept; power metal with themes based on actual scientific theories with the occasional sci-fi tribute. The name Helion Prime was borrowed from an alien planet featured in the film Chronicles of Riddick, a movie the two were great fans of. She accepted the exciting proposition without hesitation.
The duo released a 2-song EP, The Drake Equation in February 2015. Over the course of 2015, the project formed into a full band with the additions of bassist Jeremy Steinhouse and drummer Justin Herzer (Axiom). The band’s eponymous debut will release on February 15, 2016. Ashcraft views himself as a rhythm guitarist, so to infuse the debut album with mindbending solos he reached out to the US Power Metal Connection group via Facebook soliciting potential soloists for the album’s 10 tracks. According to Jason, the response was overwhelming, leaving him with more offers than songs. He tapped the fret wizardry of Jeff Teets (MindMaze), Josh Schwartz (A Sound of Thunder), Taylor Washington (Paladin, The Fury), and Steven Soderberg (Tanagra), among an impressive list of talents.
Helion Prime is currently accepting pre-sales for the debut album through their bandcamp page. This includes an immediate download of the track, “Into the Black Hole” which can be heard below. You can also check out our full interview with Jason as he discusses both bands and both albums.