Great Metal Albums of 1985: Helix- Long Way to Heaven


Helix’s “Long Way to Heaven” album was another one I happened to discover by chance in 1985. One day in the summer of said year, I happened to be in my local record store and happened to spy a copy the Canadian metal magazine “Metallion” on the shelf. Seeing it was not Motley Crue magazine, erm “Hit Parader,” I bought it. On the cover was the band Helix and that’s how I discovered they had a new album out.


This was the actual magazine I bought in 1985. I can’t believe I found it online! 

Today, most people would consider “Long Way to Heaven” to be more hard rock than metal but back in 1985, I never worried over these things. In an era taken over by synth pop on the radio, it was good to hear some power chords and this album has plenty of it. On the other hand, I can understand why some wouldn’t call this a metal album. The opening song, “The Kids are All Shakin,'” is very heavy on the Foreigner influence. The song reminds me of “Hot Blooded,” to a small extent. Not that I’m complaining. The second song, “Deep Cuts the Knife” is my vote for best song on the album. It starts out with a cool acoustic intro and lures you into thinking it’s going to be a ballad before it goes nuts with the power chords. Listening to it more carefully, there is some fine musicianship on the song.

It’s with the next two tracks where the mythical border between hard rock and metal gets somewhat blurred in regards to “Long Way to Heaven.” These are both straight forward metal tracks and they definitely pick up the pace of the album, the title cut especially. Don’t be fooled by the following track, “House on Fire,” either. Yes, it may have a progressive sounding intro but it the song simply cooks and by the time it’s over, one is assured that Helix are still playing some cool metal. It has a cool guitar solo on it as well.

“Christine” starts the second half of the album out with the same heavy metal determination in which the first side ended. Then the track, “Without You  (Jasmine’s Song), changes things up a little. It starts out with a blinding guitar solo but then mellows a bit as if it’s going to be a power ballad, then goes heavy again. One must be on their toes for the change ups in the tempo but Helix pull it off very well. It gets my ‘runner up’ vote for best track on the album. The clunking bass followed by some power guitar lets you know that “School of Hard Knocks” is going to be nothing but a metal tune. The big stamp is put on by the way the guitar solos its way out of the song at the end. The last two tracks are simply power rockers and the closer “Bangin’ Off-A_The Bricks,” does its part ending closing the album an a high, especially with the guitar solo and Brian Vollmer’s little rap after it.

Track Listing:

  1. The Kids Are All Shakin’
  2. Deep Cuts the Knife
  3. Ride the Rocket
  4. Long Way to Heaven
  5. House On Fire
  6. Christine
  7. Without You (Jasmine’s Song)
  8. School of Hard Knocks
  9. Don’t Touch the Merchandise
  10. Bangin’ Off-A-The Bricks

Helix and their friends

Brian Vollmer- vocals

Paul Hackman- guitar, vocals

Brent ‘The Doctor’ Doerner- guitar, vocals

Daryl Gray- bass, vocals

George ‘Fritz’ Hinz- drums

I am forever grateful to the Gods of metal for not letting this album pass me by in 1985. They do work in mysterious ways. Helix could be one of the most underrated Canadian bands of all time, which “Long Way to Heaven” gives witness of. As for “Metallion” Magazine, that would be the only copy I would ever buy but that issue has stuck with me for thirty-four years. More will be explained in a post in the near future.

Next post: Overkill- Feel the Fire

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:






2 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1985: Helix- Long Way to Heaven”

  1. Great review. I made a note of Helix cause our mutual pal Mr. Ladano was praising one of their albums a good while back, but I still need to listen to them properly.

    Liked by 1 person

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