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MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
'Bastard Of The Blues'
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.