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'Bastard Of The Blues'
(Helix Records)

mark taylor


Well this is a surprise. When this album from Canadian veterans Helix first dropped through my letterbox I was astonished that the band were still in exsistance having dropped off the radar during the dark days of grunge and after the untimely passing away of guitarist Paul Hackman in a tragic road accident following a concert in Vancouver in 1992.

Despite soldiering on, little has been heard of Helix, especially here in Europe. Best remembered for their albums 'No Rest For The Wicked' from 1982 which featured the single 'Heavy Metal Love' and the big selling 'Walkin' The Razors Edge' album a year later which had the big chorus of "Rock You" and the fondly remembered video for the cover version of 'Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'.

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Helix celebrate their 40th anniversary this year and with this album they've certainly proved what a relevant band they are with a kick ass album that will startle and amaze. The phrase "All killer and no filler" firmly applies here.

The band still consist of lifelong singer Brian Vollmer plus drummer Greg 'Fritz' Hinz and bassist Daryl Gray who have been in the band since they were MTV regulars.


Before slipping this disc into my player I just assumed that this was a hair Metal band maturing into a blues band with it's decieving title 'Bastard Of The Blues'. Far from it, this album rocks and if Aerosmith made a new album like this every DJ across North America would be creaming in their pants.

The album kicks off with the heavy rocking title track which is a statement in itself with the lyrics of "I'm the bastard of the blues, born with attitude, the black sheep of the family, who never played by the rules, I'm the bastard of the blues."


The rock 'n roll attitude continues with 'Even Jesus (Wasn't Loved In His Own Town)' and the commercial sounding 'Winning Is The Best Revenge'

'Axe To Grind' crushes like a modern day Alice Cooper number and Helix slide and shuffle Lynyrd Skynrd style on the Southern Rock shimmy of 'Sticks And Stones'. Most of the tracks are written by Vollmer and former member Sean Kelly who still collaborates with the band, but the biggest surprise of all is the track written by Daryl Gray with the haunting ballad 'When All The Love Is Gone' that pulls on all the right strings.

Helix have made the most comprehensive album in their career. An album that flies past all too quicly simply because there isn't a single dud on here.

Helix can still most certainly Rock You!

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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