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Released: 2009, Helix Records/Universal
Reviewer: Celtic Bob
VAGABOND BONES is the anticipated follow-up to 2007’s THE POWER OF ROCK AND ROLL. In Helix’s 35 year history lead singer Brian Vollmer has remained the only constant in the group. Each album he surrounds himself with amazing musicians and with this release it is no exception. For this album Brian has enlisted long-time friend and drummer Rob MacEachern to handle the majority of drum duties (as on previous discs). The remainder features Fritz and former Helix drummer Ned. Yes, you read that right, Fritz is back in the band along with Brent “The Doctor” Doerner and Daryl Gray. Rounding out the current line-up is new comer Kaleb “Duckman” Duck on guitar. The album also features another former Helix alumni; Sean Kelly (Crash Kelly) handling some guitar, bass. Background vocals… With a cast of musicians like this how could the album be anything but spectacular?
“The Animal Inside” – One of the many collaborations between Vollmer, Kelly and Moe Berg (The Pursuit Of Happiness). This fast pace rocker has an 80’s vibe going on especially within the chorus. You can visualize Doerner holding his guitar up and taking aim like a shotgun while singing the harmonies just like in the old days.
“Go Hard Or Go Home” – This song features a first for the band with the sounds of hand claps…and it works well with metal.
“Vagabond Bones” – A tinge of “Wild In The Streets” guitar styling’s in places.
“Monday Morning Meltdown” – Riff-tastic. Just when you expect to hear a killer solo it takes a hard turn then back again. Brilliant!
“When The Bitter’s Got The Better Of You” – One of the catchiest songs on the album. It has a nice heavy swing groove going on.
“Hung Over But Still Hangin’ In” – We’ve all been there many a time and will continue to be. Features guest vocals by Russ Dwarf who sounds very much like Vollmer so they compliment one another perfectly.
“Best Mistake I Never Made” – One of the biggest surprises on the album. A little different but not too far removed from something that could have been on IT’S A BUISNESS DOING PLEASURE.
“Make ‘Em Dance” – THE biggest surprise on the album and the one that really stands out amongst the pack. Upbeat, hook laden, riff heavy and even danceable. WTF? Danceable metal? You betcha. Killer backbeat that will have you on your feet.
“Jack It Up” – Following “Make ‘Em Dance” is a tough place to fall in sequence. A bit more kicked back but nowhere close to ballad status.
A bit too short of an album. Another track or two would have been welcomed. It’s good to have the classic line-up back to kick your ass.
1. The Animal Inside (won’t be denied)
2. Go Hard Or Go Home
3. Vagabond Bones
4. Monday Morning Meltdown
5. Bitter’s Got The Better Of You
6. Hung Over But Still angin’ In
7. Best Mistake I Never Made
8. Make ‘Em Dance
9. Jack It Up.
* Brian Vollmer - lead vocals (1974-present)
* Brent "The Doctor" Doerner - guitars, backing vocals (1975-1989, 1993, February 2009-present)
* Greg "Fritz" Hinz - drums, percussion (1982-1996, August 2009-present)
* Daryl Gray - bass, keyboards, backing vocals (1984-2002, August 2009-present)
* Kaleb "Duckman" Duck - guitar (touring member September 2009-present)
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