It's A Pleasure Rocking With Helix
Sampson Simpson | Canada | 06/06/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Original Helix guitar player Paul Hackman was killed in a tragic bus accident prior to the recording of this album. The sole remaining original member, Brian Vollmer, was left to write the next album with new collaborators, and as a result this album turns out a little darker and softer than you'd expect. Vollmer and mainstay partner/bass player Daryl Gray moved forward and recruited former Brighton Rock guitar maestro Greg Fraser to replace Hackman. Original member Dr. Doerner also returned on guitar for this record.Starting off, it's instantly noticable that Vollmer's been listening to a lot of Nashville records. Almost every song has that terrific country Fender guitar sound, but with a rock n' roll edge--a little like Mark Knopfler. The first single "That Day Is Gonna Come" is upbeat, a tribute to the life of Paul Hackman. Possibly the best song they'd ever done. For the most part, the rest of the album is made up of slower songs: "Tug Of War", "Love's A Loaded Gun" (almost entirely acoustic with little else for backing tracks) and a duet with Canadian metal queen, Lee Aaron on "Look Me Straight In The Heart".Another guest appearance: the amazing Kim Mitchell plays lead guitar on one track, a real treat! We get some witty, clever lyrics on "Can't Even Afford To Die" and "Mad Mad World", along with some awesome vocal melodies. It's important to note that Vollmer's singing and songwriting grew tremendously with this album. The only thing dissapointing about this album is that it is quite a bit softer than what we'd come to expect from Helix. Not to fear, they heavied-up again for the next record Half-Alive, but unfortunately don't play these songs live much anymore. A good guideline: If you like Helix songs like "Deep Cuts The Knife", "Dream On", and "Good To The Last Drop", then buy this album. If you're looking for another "Rock You", look elsewhere."