Try thinking of a Canadian hard rock/heavy metal band. If you are Canadian, then it is likely that you would be able to name a dozen off the top of your head. However, if you are anywhere else on the planet, there is a very small sample that has stayed at the front of your mind for decades. Helix is one such band; known worldwide for their monstrous hit “Rock You” and, more importantly for most bands, known in the USA and still played regularly on any station that plays classic rock, as well as being a regular on SiriusXM’s Hairnation. I highlight this because, as a Canadian, I have witnessed many a great band in our homeland develop, only to see them fizzle out or not even light it up south of the border, while the likes of The Barenaked Ladies, The Tragically Hip (to a degree) and Nickelback make it big there. What is up guys? Why them? As much as I do not care for Rush, I can understand their appeal.
This brings me back to my pride for Helix. Strangely enough, they hardly play live in their hometown area. The London (Ontario) region shows them little to no love (not their fault) and this even prompted them to write a song about this situation. Regardless, they continue to release new material on a fairly regular basis, thanks to the never ending energy of Brian Vollmer. Not only does he keep this planethelix spinning, his voice is as strong as ever.
Rock It Science is a compilation with one new tune, and a clever title. I have to admit that I never heard, or cannot recall hearing, the real early stuff such as “Billy Oxygen” and “You’re a Woman Now”. Thanks to a DJ in Texas, I now understand that both have a neat back-story, similar to that of “Detroit Rock City” / “Beth” from KISS. Hearing them now is very cool.
Songs such as “Heavy Metal Love” make me both miss and appreciate deceased guitarist Paul Hackman. I still recall the day I read that news, as I had fallen in love with Back For Another Taste and it was a regular cassette in my walkman.
I was pleased to see and hear that “Get Up” was included, as this is from the same titled CD in 2007 and is a terrific song that I think should have been more noticed.
“Even Jesus (Wasn’t Loved in His Hometown)” pays homage to the aforementioned lack of interest in Canada (not all parts, but most) for a once beloved band.
New song “(Gene Simmons Says) Rock is Dead” is both a good song and funny video. Co-written with another of my favorite Canadian musicians, Sean Kelly (Crash Kelly, Trapper, Nelly Furtado and more!).
I do wish this release would get the recognition it is due. However, the reality is that it seems only the diehards are these days sticking by the band and listening. That said, I do wonder whether there are some omissions from the compilation. Songs such as “Kids Are All Shakin’”, “That Day is Gonna Come” and my personal favourite “Rockin’ Rollercoaster” should maybe have made the cut.
Sidenote: Love those rockin’ red glasses Brian!