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Helix - 'Half Alive' (D-Rock)
Mike Reed | USA | 01/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Greatly under appreciated meat-and-potato Canadian rock and roll band.I've always totally dug this band.'Half Alive' is about a half-a-dozen new/er studio cuts along with mostly live tracks.Believe me,Helix is a great band to experience in concert.Most of the live songs come from the group's 1983's 'No Rest For The Wicked' and 1984's 'Walkin' The Razor's Edge' lp's.Just about every tune here rocks out,but the most memorable ones are "Shock City Psycho Rock","Dirty Dog","Running Wild In The 21st Century"(still see this video on Headbanger's Ball sometimes),"Heavy Metal Love",their cover of Steppenwolf's "The Pusher" and their metal anthem "Rock You".Line-up:Brian Vollmer-vocals,Dr.Doener-guitar,Daryl Gray-bass and Greg Hinz-drums.A must-have for all Helix fans."
This cd rocked. Whether your a helix fan or not
Sampson Simpson | 05/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When i first heard the new songs i did not like them to much. I went to the live songs next. They rocked. but I went back to the cd and i just love the whole thing. the new songs grew one me. Helix is back and Iam glad. they rule!!! I would recomend this tape to others."
Half-ALIVE, but fully excellent!
Sampson Simpson | Canada | 06/07/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 90's weren't a kind time for Helix. Longtime guitarist Paul Hackman was killed in a 1992 auto accident. Without any Helix tracks written for a new album, Brian Vollmer chose to release his solo album, It's a Business Doing Pleasure, as a Helix album. The largely acoustic leanings of that excellent album didn't fit with the Helix sound, and the album was tragically ignored. It would be five years before half-ALIVE followed it.
With their original heavy rock sound intact, Helix came roaring back with this mostly live, partly studio recording. With some live gigs recorded, as well as a handful of unreleased and unfinished new songs, half-ALIVE maybe should have been called one-third-ALIVE. Either way, it rocks. If you've seen this band live, then you know how much they kick it on stage.
After the death of Paul Hackman, Helix became more a "project" than a band, with rotating members around the nucleus of Brian Vollmer (vocals) and Drayl Gray (bass). On half-ALIVE, you will hear appearances from past members such as Hackman, Greg "Fritz" Hinz (drums), Paul Hackman and Dr. Doerner (guitars), and even a song written by Mike Uzelac, their second bass player from the 70's (who was actually a missing person at the time). In addition, newer members like drummer Glen "Archie" Gamble and guitarists Denny Balicki, Gary Borden, Rick Mead and Mark Chichkan all contribute. These guys helped keep Helix going as a touring entity in the 90's.
Could the Helix of the 90's cut it as much as the classic 80's band? The five studio tracks roar "yes"! A far cry from the acoustic rock of It's A Business Doing Pleasure, this is a return to the hard rock/metal sounds of Walking The Razor's Edge. Best tracks among the studio crop are "Wrecking Ball", Steppenwolf's "The Pusher" and a ballad called "The Same Room". Of course, Vollmer's voice is in fine form.
From there we go to the live material. Virtually all the hits are present ("Rock You", "Running Wild In The 21st Century", "Good To The Last Drop", "Heavy Metal Love", "Wild In The Streets", etc.) There's also a new acoustic composition called "Smile", written and performed by Gary Borden. What really sets this live stuff apart from their studio albums is Vollmer's friendly on-stage banter. As he relates a tale of staying in a hotel in Seaforth Ontario (population at the time: less than 2000), you'll laugh along, especially if you've been there!
This live material was taken from various tours, 1992-1997, so there is a variety of material and band members (as noted above). Yet there's a cohesiveness that similar live albums lack. The songs are mixed together and flow seamessly, and you really can't hear the five years passing. The sound is hard, clear, and rocking, and begs the question: "What took them five years to release this stuff?" I guess it was necessity.
My only complaint about this otherwise excellent album is the cheesey cover art. Up close, it kind of looks cheap and silly. And Brian's haircut...I'm sorry man! I've met Brian and he was so cool and kind, so I hate to say bad things, but yeah...I'm glad you grew your hair back man!