Archive for Helix

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Hellion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2018 by 80smetalman

Upon further reflection back to 1984, I have come to the conclusion that I seemed to be in the right place at the right time when a particular metal band’s song got played on MTV or their album just happened to be on display when I walked past the record store. In the case of this six song EP from American metal artists, Hellion, I don’t exactly remember which one of those scenarios apply. For some reason, however, their name has stuck in my mind for over thirty-three years. In fact, I went through a period wondering if I was confusing Hellion with Helix but thankfully, I wasn’t.

The debut album from Hellion is another cool stereotypical 80s metal album, plain and simple. Things open with the high energy “Break the Spell” and does its job in getting the metal juices flowing. There is a cool opening riff to the song which helps grab your attention before the fast paced action begins. Lead singer Ann Boleyn stamps her vocal authority on things and it all points to a good time had by all. Any doubts otherwise are cast quickly aside by my vote for best track, “Don’t Take No.” This is a slightly less faced paced ditty but the power behind the melody is attention grabbing. So is the little drum solo at the beginning. Again, Boleyn’s vocals shine and there’s also of course, the obligatory killer guitar solo and that’s why this song gets my vote.

“Backstabber” takes things up a notch with its speedier riffs. On this song, Ann proves she has a very good voice provided she doesn’t try to scream so much. On this track, her voice fits the music very well and a decent guitar solo is heard. Furthermore, the band do a good job in the backing vocals department on it. Another cool intro gets, “Looking for a Good Time” going in the right direction and that leads to a good steady metal tune with all the fore-mentioned elements present. That, in turn, leads to the next track, “Driving Hard,” where the change of tempo does wonders for the song and if the guitar solo was a little longer, it would have been the best one on the album. “Up From the Depths” closes the party with it’s theatrical intro/cool guitar solo intro before it belts out mayhem. Definitely the best song to close the album, the guitar solo makes that clear. If I’ve discovered anything about this album, the songs are definitely arranged in the correct order.

Track Listing:

  1. Break the Spell
  2. Don’t Take No
  3. Backstabber
  4. Looking for a Good Time
  5. Driving Hard
  6. Up From the Depths

Hellion

Ann Boleyn- throat

Alan Barlem- guitar

Ray Schenk- guitar

Sean Kelly- drums

Bill Sweet- bass

After this debut EP, Hellion would disappear for a few years. Wendy Dio would eventually take the band under her wing but that’s for another time. So is the mistake to fire Ann Boleyn and bring in a male vocalist. So, there won’t be any more Hellion posts until I get to 1987 so have a listen to this debut and enjoy.

Next post: Saxon- Crusader

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Helix- Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2018 by 80smetalman

It’s amazing the things that get stored in one’s mind and come out when the mind needs them. Back in the 1980’s, Helix were one of those bands I always wanted to explore more of but never got around to it. They first came to my attention in the summer of 1984 when I saw the video for the single from the “Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” album, “Rock You.” I made a mental note to buy this album but never did. I did try to look for it but it never made it to my part of South Jersey.

Like with some other metal bands in 1984, while many of them got played on MTV, you had to be in the right place at the right time to catch it. It was the same with White Wolf. Hell, I didn’t even remember which song from this album I had seen the video for until I did a bit of research thanks to Wikipedia and Youtube. Seeing the video for “Rock You” jogged my memory and yes, I remember it now. Looking at it again, it was such a very 80s video but who cares, it’s a good song.

But what about the rest of the album? Some of you might ask. Well, rest assured, let me say once and for all that “Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” kicks total ass. True, there is a definite 80s vibe to the album and to Helix but no one can ever say that heavy metal is dated. However, I do find it difficult to pick a favourite on here, although I will take the first five songs over the final five, but not by much. “Young and Wreckless,” “Animal House” and “When the Hammer Falls” are definitely the stand out tracks for me. “Feel the Fire” is also a good track that sounds like a Dokken tune. Again, I might prefer the first half of the album, I won’t denounce the second half. “Give Me Good Lovin'” could have been a second single here. So record management, why wasn’t it released as one? The ballad, “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want” was released as a single in Canada and it’s a decent ballad. While the remaining songs don’t totally grab me by the throat, they are good songs and do their job in making the album enjoyable.

What makes the album so good is the band themselves. Brian Vollmer might be trying to act like every other metal singer from the decade in the video but he has a good set of pipes. Brent Doerner and Paul Hackman wield their axes very well all throughout the album, fair dues to them. Doerner is the one who emerges from the water to play his guitar solo in the video but whichever guitarist lays down the solo on “When the Hammer Falls” gets the gong for best solo here. Daryl Gray and Greg Hinz provide a competent rhythm section rock for the rest to build on. As usual, a good band makes a good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Rock You
  2. Young and Restless
  3. Animal House
  4. Feel the Fire
  5. When the Hammer Falls
  6. Give Me Good Lovin’
  7. My Kind of Rock
  8. (Make Me Do) Anything You Want
  9. Six Strings Nine Lives
  10. You Keep Me Rockin’

Helix and their friends

Brian Vollmer- lead vocals

Brent ‘The Doctor’ Doerner- guitars, backing vocals

Paul Hackman- guitars, backing vocals

Daryl Gray- bass, backing vocals

George ‘Fritz’ Hinz- drums

Was Helix Canada’s best kept secret in the 1980s? Possibly but then Canadian bands seemed to get ignored more than their American and British counterparts. Hearing “Walkin’ On the Razor’s Edge” makes me wish I had Youtube back then. I would not have missed this cool album and waited over thirty years to finally get to listen to it.

Next post: Hellion

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html