Perris Records [Release Date – out now]
I got a bit of a surprise when this album popped through my door mainly because I had no idea that Helix were still in existence. I saw Helix back in 1983 in support to Kiss but apart from frontman Brian Vollmer somersaulting on to the stage and screaming ‘We are Helix’ I remember little else of the performance and the fact that I didn’t then follow the band’s career suggests that I wasn’t bowled over with the performance.
Fast forward thirty one years (how long!) and Bastard Of The Blues is the band’s latest release and it also marks the band’s 40th anniversary, that’s quite an achievement in anyone’s book. It is also the band’s 13th studio album and the first in 5 years so are the band any more memorable in 2014?
Probably not is the answer to that one. Don’t get me wrong though, this is a well-played and written rock album with the emphasis on the band’s 80’s heyday but it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. Tracks like the imaginatively titled ‘Even Jesus (Wasn’t Loved In His Home Town)’ are entertaining enough blues rock numbers but they lack any edge and tend to slip from your memory as soon as the last note fades.
The rock ballad of the piece, ‘When All The Love Has Gone’, is as overblown as you would expect but it is highly repetitive and feels longer than its stated five minutes. ‘Axe To Grind’ is probably the best track on the album possibly because it sounds uncannily like an Alice Cooper track. Another track of note is the album closer ‘Sticks and Stones’ which is a fast paced rock ‘n roll number which jogs along nicely with a slower blues passage in the middle for good measure.
Listening to this album it comes as no surprise to me that the Helix name isn’t more well known outside their native Canada. A decent band that had their time in the spotlight back in the day and who are no doubt capable of still putting on a slick live show. This album, whilst it’s a decent listen, isn’t a must have, possibly one for Spotify if you are curious. Still fair play to the guys, not many bands reach 40 years in the business so they must be doing something right. **1/2
Review by David Wilson
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