Archive for For Those About to Rock

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Helix- Wild in the Streets

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2022 by 80smetalman

In 1987, Helix came out with “Wild in the Streets,” which, judging from what I’ve read, didn’t do too well for the band. It did go Gold in Canada but barely charted in the US. Being in England, I didn’t know this album even existed until recently and only heard of it thanks to my Canadian readers. Still, whatever the history or so-called critics say, I think the album was pretty good.

An AC/DC vibe opens the album with the title cut. The guitars remind me of “For Those About to Rock, We Salute” and the opening vocal salvo from Brian Volmer does sound a little like Brian Johnson. Still the track gives the album a promising start. This is quickly followed by the boogie woogie sounding “Never Gonna Stop the Rock.” The song has an unmissable swagger to it which makes you want to bob along to it and some good guitar solos as well.

Oh what a great power ballad “Dream On” could have been! Not to be confused with the Aerosmith classic, this song was originally recorded by 1970s Scottish legends, Nazareth. Being a sucker for a great power ballad, Helix’s “Dream On” had great potential but unfortunately, the production doesn’t seem to be up to scratch as compared to the rest of the album. Shame, because everything needed to be a great power ballad is there. Acoustic guitars backed up by piano chops before the power chords kick in. Brian’s vocals sound extremely passionate and there’s a killer guitar solo. It’s just too bad the production is off putting.

Don’t worry, Helix get back to rocking out with “What Ya Bringing to the Party.” My answer is a couple of six packs and a bottle of Jack but this is a great party tune. One for sticking into the car stereo and going for a cruise on a Saturday night. But the party doesn’t end because right after comes my favourite track on the album, “High Voltage Kicks.” I’m not quite sure what high voltage kicks are but what I do know is that this track totally kicks ass. It starts out as a Southern blues number with some cool intricate guitar licks before the song goes total rock out. Even with the faster pace of the song, the backing vocals stay melodic. It’s the fastest song on the album.

Things continue to rock on “Give ‘Em Hell,” another great rocking song with some cool guitar riffs and brilliant solo. It’s proof of how good Helix are when they just let loose and go for it. “Shot Full of Love” is also a fast paced song and though it sounds like it’s all over the place at times, it comes together and makes a good song. It definitely has the best guitar solo on the album.

Now you would think a song called “Love Hungry Eyes” would be another power ballad but comes nowhere close to that! It’s a mid-paced song while not spectacular, keeps the album ticking over nicely. Then we come to the penultimate track, “She’s Too Tough.” This song was written by Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot and was meant to be on their “Hysteria” album but instead, it went to Helix and they do a good job on it. I do love the guitar riffs on the intro. However, with the benefit of historical hindsight, if Def Leppard’s intended version of the song was anything like what Helix do here, then it would have been too hard rock for “Hysteria.” Helix close out the album with a song which seems to incorporate everything they’ve done on the rest of the album. It has a progressive intro and there’s that blues party swagger to it and some great guitar work and drum fills. It’s a great way to end the album, even without the cheesy explosion at the very end.

Track Listing:

  1. Wild in the Streets
  2. Never Gonna Stop the Rock
  3. Dream On
  4. What Ya Bringing to the Party
  5. High Voltage Kicks
  6. Give ‘Em Hell
  7. Shot Full of Love
  8. Love Hungry Eyes
  9. She’s Too Tough
  10. Kiss It Goodbye
Helix and their friends

Brian Volmer- lead vocals

Brent ‘Doctor’ Doener- guitar, backing vocals

Paul Hackman- guitar, backing vocal

Daryl Gray- bass, keyboards, piano, backing vocals

Greg ‘Fritz’ Hinz- drums, backing vocals

Additional musicians:

Don Airey, Sam Reid- additional keyboards

Mickey Curry, Brian Doener, Matthew Fernette- additional drums

My theory is that on “Wild in the Streets,” Helix tried to be all things to all people and while the album sounds great, it didn’t work out for them commercially. Capitol Records would drop them from the label after this, which was a shame but the sign of the times of how one commercially unsuccessful album could be the death knell for a band.

Next post: Great White- Once Bitten

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: AC/DC- Flick of the Switch

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2016 by 80smetalman

ACDC_FOTS

Once again, I’m mixed things up here and throwing in a metal album. Usually I don’t visit metal album until the second half of my journey through any given year but there are exceptional circumstances. Those of you who have been following for a while have probably guessed why I’m writing about an AC/DC album. That’s right, AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Bells are coming to town this weekend. Unfortunately, they picked the same weekend as my step-granddaughter’s christening so I won’t be able to see them this time. Therefore, as my consolation prize, I thought I’d visit their 1983 album, “Flick of the Switch.”

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

What kind of drugs was I on in 1983? I remember listening to some of this album and not being very impressed with it. In fact, and this is going to confirm I must have been on drugs, I rated this album below their 1985 “Fly On the Wall” album. An album most AC/DC stalwarts say was their worst. Recently, I listened to the entire album after so many years and hell, this album is pretty good. Okay, it’s not near the same level as “Back in Black” or “Highway to Hell” or even “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You,” but this is in no way, shape or form a bad album.

From the very first note, “Flick of the Switch” has everything that has made AC/DC legends for forty odd years. It has all the trademark riffs that they had been known for, the tight rhythm section of Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd. Brian Johnson’s voice hadn’t begun to suffer and he still hits some pretty good high notes on the album. The closer, “Brain Shake” is the perfect example of that. Most importantly, Angus Young still blows people away with his solos. When I hear them on the songs on this album, I don’t get that ‘it’s all been done before’ feeling. There may have been a desire to go back to rawness and their might have been in fighting between Rudd and Malcolm but AC/DC come together to put out a fine album.

You know, I can’t  find a song that I don’t like on “Flick of the Switch.” On the other hand, I find it difficult to pick ones that stand out. When I hear one track and think, “That’s pretty good,” the next one comes on and is just as good. If there is one standout track, it would have to be “Guns for Hire” and that’s only because I heard it before on the “Iron Man 2” soundtrack. Then again, “Badlands” is also a really cool song.

Track Listing:

  1. Rising Power
  2. The House is On Fire
  3. Flick of the Switch
  4. Nervous Shakedown
  5. Landslide
  6. Guns for Hire
  7. Deep in the Hole
  8. Bedlam in Belgium
  9. Badlands
  10. Brain Shake

AC/DC

AC/DC

Brian Johnson- lead vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar

Cliff Williams- bass

Phil Rudd- drums

Now that the drugs have totally cleared my system, I can say that “Flick of the Switch” isn’t the worst album by AC/DC. It’s a good, solid album that may have come too soon after their classics. On the down side, it would be during this tour that Phil Rudd would leave the band and be replaced by Englishman Simon Wright. The result would be that this band from Australia wouldn’t have any members who were actually born there.

Next post: Berlin- Pleasure Victim

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1981: AC/DC- For Those About to Rock, We Salute You

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-ForThoseAboutToRock_ACDCalbum

For some of you, this is going to be a bit of a shock. The fact that I am writing about an AC/DC album without first going to see AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Bells. The ironic part is that they are coming to town next Saturday, unfortunately, I am heading off to the States for two weeks on Thursday. I am a little miffed at not going to see them but this time I have a legitimate excuse. So, you’ll have to settle for a picture of Hell’s Bells from the last time I saw them.

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

Hells Bells at their usual greatness

Most everyone on the planet knows that “For Those About to Rock” was the follow up to the most highly successful “Back in Black” album. Many of the same people say that the follow up isn’t as good but I say “Come on!” It would have been a monumental feat indeed if AC/DC or any band to think of it, was able to put out an album that measured up to “Back in Black.” Credit where due though, “For Those About to Rock” comes fairly close.

I have heard many a person say that the only thing good about the title track is the cannons. True, they are brilliant and it’s even more mind blowing to see it live. Hell’s Bells do try to copy it using a computer but while it’s a commendable effort, it’s just not the same. I do try to describe this wonderful phenomenon in “Rock And Roll Children,” but I probably fail. Even without the cannon, this song would probably have been my favourite on the album. The rest of the album also has the typically great tracks you expect from an AC/DC album. I remember hearing “Let’s Get It Up” blasting out of many a juke box in the cafes of Toulon, France and “Evil Walks” is definitely a worthy choice for the “Iron Man 2” soundtrack. Angus Young works his guitar magic throughout the entire album but the most noteworthy from me is on “Night of the Long Knives.” What “For Those About to Rock” proves is that AC/DC weren’t about to rest on the laurels of just one great album.

Track Listing:

1. For Those About to Rock, We Salute You

2. Put The Finger  On You

3. Let’s Get It Up

4. Inject the Venom

5. Snowballed

6. Evil Walks

7. C.O.D.

8. Breaking the Rules

9. Night of the Long Knives

10. Spellbound

AC/DC

AC/DC

Brian Johnson- vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Cliff Williams- bass, backing vocals

Phil Rudd- drums

The best thing about it not being 1981 anymore is that you can listen to “For Those About to Rock” without the specter of “Back in Black” hanging over it. This follow up is truly a fantastic album on its own and definitely one that reminds you why AC/DC have continued to rule for more than three decades.

I don’t know when I’ll be posting again but when I do, it will be: Black Sabbath- The Mob Rules

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London