This is an album I haven’t heard in a while. As a Canadian teen, I loved me some Helix. Not to mention they were from close to home (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada). I probably listened to this hundreds of times back in the day. Newer albums and life seemed to take over though. When Mike from the excellent site mikeladano.com mentioned he was doing a week of Canadian music, and asked if I wanted to do a collaboration, I thought this album would be one I would like to review. Also, I got to listen to it for the first time in years, so win/win. Mike also did a review of this album. Here is the link.
Wild In The Streets – Wait. Did I put the turntable on 45 by accident. Nope. That is the speed it is supposed to be on. Either Brent ‘Doctor’ Doerner is playing his guitar real fast, or the sound engineer is doing his magic and speeding up the tape just a bit. The drums kick in and they seem at normal speed. Maybe it is just my old ears. This song was c0-written by Ray Lyell, years before his band The Storm had a hit with Another Man’s Gun. This really is a great, kick ass, hair metal anthem. Now that I look back to my youth, I wish I would have cranked this every time I played ball hockey. Wild in the streets indeed.
Never Gonna Stop The Rock – Writing credit for this goes to members of the band FM. Sorry, Nash The Slash fans, this is the British band. I know nothing about them, but they wrote a decent song. Nothing spectacular, but not bad. Nice drum and guitar work. Lead vocals are good, but the background vocals sound kind of weird. Almost like there are 25 people in the band.
Dream On – Time for the obligatory 80’s power ballad. This one is far and away miles better than most out there. It is a cover of a Nazareth song, but just like they did with the A Foot in Coldwater song (Make Me Do) Anything You Want, Helix does a better job than the original. Not very often can a band sing a song better than the artist that first recorded it, but they do it twice. Bonus points for the Doctor playing a double neck guitar with surgical precision.
What Ya Bringin’ To The Party – Answer=Helix. Some great shredding start this song off, and Daryl Gray turns his bass amp up so we don`t forget he`s back there. This is a good rocker, with some normal background sounding vocals. More shredding in the middle help this song out a lot. Just a shade from being great. It`s really good.
High Voltage Kicks – Fuzzy, bluesy guitar set the start of this song apart from most hair metal songs. If I close my eyes I have visions of SRV or Jimi. As well Brian Vollmer’s vocals have a bit of CCR’s Midnight Special. I would actually have liked to have heard a full song with this style, but the pace picks up and we are back to hair metal. Not that this is a bad thing. It is right up Helix`s alley. I actually like both parts of this song. They do blend well together.
Give `Em Hell – Another decent rocker that has exceptional guitar work to help its cred out.
Shot Full Of Love – Really good shredding sounds emit from my speakers. `The gun was loaded and in her hand`, `She was squeezing the trigger, when it went bang`, and `shot full of love.` As Austin Powers would say, Oh Behave.
Love Hungry Eyes – More great guitar work start this song off. This is becoming a theme. The song itself is kind of a hair slower than I would like. The slower speed drags the song down. It seems a little sleepy. The background vocals sound good though, and of course there are more sweet guitar noises.
She`s Too Tough – This song was written by Joe Elliott of Def Leppard. It is nothing like the Foreigner song of the same name. No synthesizers here people. Just straight ahead rocking 80`s metal. Kicking ass and taking names. Awesome guitar work, and a scream that has kind of a Rob Halford flavour (Oh behave). Drums pound, bass booming. This song does sound like the style of early Def Leppard. Perhaps DL had already gone a little more radio friendly and this song did not fit in. It finally got released as a b side in 1992, but sounds more like 1982 to me.
Kiss It Goodbye – I find it very disconcerting that when I put this title into youtube it shows me Nickelback, Miley Cyrus and Chipmunks versions. However, no Helix. What is this world coming to. Then if I add Helix to the search, it shows some dude spinning his butterfly knife. Again, wtf. Anyway, this song begins with some spacey effects that blend into pounding drums and shredding guitar. Brian Vollmer`s voice almost has a Bon Scott quality to it here. He has that raw, pissed off attitude that Bon had in spades. Telling us to `just bend over, kiss your ass goodbye` furthers that attitude. The guitar work here is awesome, the drumming top notch, and the background vocals blend in nicely. Great song to end the album.
I really enjoyed listening to this album again. Thank you Mike for forcing me to focus and pick out details I might have otherwise missed. I think I enjoy this album as much, or more than I did back in the day.
One thing I am actually upset with Helix about is the piss poor job they did on the liner notes. There were a ton of very talented people involved with the making of this album, but I have no way of knowing just where they helped out. Don Airey, Sam Reid, Darryl Gray play keyboards. Mickey Curry, Brian Doerner, Mathew Frennette, Greg “Fritz“ Hinz play drums. Brent Doerner and Paul Hackman (RIP) play guitar. Brian Vollmer-vocals. I just wish I could tell who played what, on which song. I always like to research the players and listen for their parts. Guys like Don Airey, for example, have played with the best. They deserve more respect than that, and so do we.
Other than the credits I’m pretty happy about this record. I think it deserves more respect. It never made it big outside of Canada, and the band was subsequently dropped from the label. But who cares. It is a really good record that should have done better than it did.