Sunday, June 23, 2019

Helix Goes Old School - Which In Today's Rock Climate Is Good News!

Helix is a rock band you may have never heard of. In Canada they are legendary. In the states they peaked in the mid 1980's. You may or may not have heard songs like Heavy Metal Love or Rock You, but the impact of this music was huge in Canada and in certain U.S. markets. The band has kept itself alive with various lineups and have emerged with a brand new album called Old School. For fans of Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Poison and AC/DC, this music isn't glossy or weighed down with compression or gimmickry. It's full strength rock and roll that hearkens back to both the 70's and 80's. The guitars aren't just in the mix, they are the mix.

The one constant throughout the years has been vocalist and founder Brian Vollmer. Brian has decided to go back to the band's roots with this new album. This is a greasy, sleazy rock album that will appeal to glam rockers and old school heavy metal fans.Produced by longtime Helix bassist Daryl Gray, mixed by Juno award winner Siegfried Meier and mastered by Harry Hess. The lead single "Coming Back With Bigger Guns" might be a metaphor for the quality material and the new partnership with Perris Records. The album is a full plate of rock and roll morsels. "Tie Me Down" is a nice slice of double entendre that will recall some of the classic mid-tempo power ballads of bands like Warrant and Def Leppard. The material on this album was culled from a large store of unused material the band wrote years ago. Harry Hess's meticulous production breathes even more life into these newly unearthed gems.

"Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound" is an absolute classic Helix style rocker with a great guitar break and solo that extends far beyond the formulaic fare that other record labels are mass producing. Helix really never let go of their early 80's hard rock Canadian sound. There is a certain punkishness mixed in with the melodic scales. This is evidenced on "If Tears Could Talk", again with a note bending guitar solo that takes you on a nice little ride. "Your Turn To Cry" is another decent mid-speed rocker with strong choruses and guitars that mingle nicely and then again treat the listener to a big, beefy solo. "Closer" feels like another rock radio hit with punchy riffs, big choruses and another really enjoyable guitar solo. "Games Mother Never Taught You" is a fun, what-rock-used-to-sing-about hard rocking gem with more great choruses and bangin' drums and guitars.

If "Old School" mainstream rock stations still dotted the landscape, this music would fit nicely next to any classic rock band from the 1970's and 80's. Bands like Helix are important to the music scene even today. They are reminders of what rock used to represent. There is grit and excess and an intrinsic sense of melody in this music. It's the kind of album you can crank up loud as you cruise the highway in your Camaro Z-28. Age has not mellowed this fine, underrated band. In all honesty there is a lot of Helix in other bands that have gone on to be more recognizable and famous. But one thing is clear, these guys are still going strong after all these years and this album rocks!

5 comments:

  1. Dave you nailed cwith M Q interview. I am 57 sir I love M Crew Poison We built this city to
    K Wingef. It puts me in a good mood sir. The best term that describes the grubge is forced coercion. Yes I like Greta too

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  2. Great Review, thank you but we have a correction for you. The album was Produced by longtime Helix bassist Daryl Gray, mixed by Juno Award winner Siegfried Meier and mastered by Harry Hess. Thank you. Helix. 🤟😎🤘

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  3. Hello again from the Great White North (Helix's neck of the woods, btw!!) Haven't heard the full album yet, but the few tracks I've
    heard so far are quite promising. My favourite type of album along
    these lines is Def Leppard's awesome 1993 "Retro Active"
    collection from way back in 1993. On an unrelated note, I might be in the minority on this opinion, but I really enjoy all of your videos on new music. I'm not on social media of any kind so I'm unable to participate in that regard, but I just wanted to morally encourage and support your dedication to the various Melodic Rock genres/
    styles you regularly cover. I'm also really digging the sound of that group Departure, so thanks for the unexpected introduction. Cheers!!

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