Archive for Wild in the Streets

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.

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