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Helix
Rockin’ In My Outer Space
June 2004
Released: 2004, Dirty Dog Records
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Celtic Bob

The long over-due and highly anticipated release from Helix is finally out. I have been waiting for a new cd from them for sometime so my expectations were quite high for this release. Brian Vollmer is the only original member left in the band but it is his driving force and distinctive vocals that give the band its own easily recognizable sound. On this cd he gets help on one track from former guitarist Brent “The Doctor” Doerner.

With my expectations set high I popped in this disc as soon as it arrived. Much to my satisfaction the album doesn’t disappoint in the least. There is no weak or bad tracks to be heard anywhere on it. Being a fan since I first heard “Rock You” and “Heavy Metal Love” back in the early 80’s I have always liked this band and rank them in my top bands of all-time. With that said I’ll go through this cd pretty well track by track.



Space Junk – An instrumental intro to the title track. Written and performed by Reiner Weichmann from Newfoundland who also plays on the cd and produced it. Sort of a futuristic instrumental with a space-age feel to it. Sets the atmosphere for the title track as well as the rest of the disc.

Rockin’ In My Outer Space – An upbeat rocker that shows that Brian and company have still got what it takes to put out one amazing hard rockin’ album.

It’s Hard To Feel The Sunshine When Your Heart Is Filled With Rain – Starts off with distorted/echoic vocals then cuts into clearer ones and the bass and drum just nail you at that point. It’s a more mid-tempo song but the steady drum and solid bass line give it that heavy feel. Also the harmonica has got to be a first for Helix as I cannot recall them ever using one on a cd before.

Six Feet Underground – The first single that was released to radio stations. A slight bit slower than I expected to be for the first single but still not slow enough to be considered a ballad. Another first for the band here as this one features trumpets. Yes you heard it right. Trumpets. It creates the perfect companion to Brian’s vocals, gives the song a sort of mid to late 60’s Beatles feel.

Lint and Pennies – Total classic Helix feel here. Hard hitting drums and excellent guitar work. The background vocals are nothing short of breathtaking. Cheryl Lescom does a stupendous job on the back-ups. Almost like a blues and gospel singer. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it sounds amazing and had to have sounded phenomenal in the studio. Great overall feel to the song, hard rockin beat and killer guitar.

Everybody’s Got There Cross To Bear – Starts off with a bit of a Soundgarden guitar tone with heavier bass and drum sounds. Add in great whiskey soaked vocals and you got one hell of a song. This is one that is made to be played live in a smoke filled club towards the end of the night.

Stumblin’ Blind – One of the ballad’s on the album with great harmonies and amazing background vocals. A slight departure for the Helix sound as it contains cello and violin. It is not done in an over the top way but adds tremendously to the song taking them to the next level. Top this off with great vocals, lyrics and rhythm section and you have the makings of another great tune.

King Of The Hill – A reworked song from Brian’s solo cd from a couple year’s back. This time it sound’s heavier and more complete. This is probably the heaviest track on the disc and has some great guitar work done by Bill Gadd and Reiner Weichmann.

The Ballad of Sam & Mary – Great tongue in cheek lyrics and story here. Solid drums and crunchy guitar here you’d almost swear you are back in the late 80’s it’s that good. One of the best tracks on the album. A heavy rocker that grabs you at the start and keeps you until the end.

Panic – Straight ahead RnR here with heavy in your face bass. Great lyric’s that give an outlook on life like “don’t get your shit in a knot” and “chill out, there’s always prozac” . Garanteed to put a smile on your face. The song speeds up like a record on 45 at the end and blends perfectly into the next track.

Sunny Summer Daze – The acoustic track on the album which for the most part is Brian singing and Rainer on acoustic except for the solo which is quite bluesy and played by former longtime Helix guitarist Brent “The Doctor” Doerner. An excellent closure to an excellent record.



An all around great cd. Not a disappointing track here. Only 2 minor complaints that have nothing todo with the music is that it is too short a record. I just wish it was longer. The second is more of a question rather than a complaint. That is why is there 2 Helix logo’s on the cover? The main one would’ve sufficed IMO. But that’s just me. Go out and order this album.

And as the liner notes say “TRUE HELIX FANS DO NOT DOWNLOAD”
Track Listing

Space Junk
Rockin’ In My Outer Space
It’s Hard To Feel The Sunshine When Your Heart Is Filled With Rain
Six Feet Underground
Lint and Pennies
Everybody’s Got There Cross To Bear
Stumblin’ Blind
King Of The Hill
The Ballad of Sam & Mary
Panic
Sunny Summer Daze

Lineup

n/a


Next review: » Helix - Rockin’ In My Outer Space
Previous review: » Helix - R.O.C.K.-Best of 1983-2012

Helix
Rockin’ In My Outer Space
June 2004
Released: 2004, Dirty Dog Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Canadian hard rockers, Helix, FINALLY return with a new album. The vocalist, Brian Vollmer, is the only name that most will recognize from the band’s “glory daze”. It’s been years since we’ve heard new material from Helix, and it’s about bloody time! There has been talk of more “best of” albums, another solo album, a solo Xmas album….blah...all a waste when compared to putting Brian’s great voice to good use with a band worthy of carrying the legendary HELIX name and writing new music! Sure the band isn’t in the glaring spotlight these days as they were when they were “walkin the razor’s edge” on their “long way to heaven”….this album isn’t even released on a major label. This is on the band’s own indie label “Dirty Dog Records”. So ya know they are doing this for the love of hard rock / metal.



ROCKIN’ IN MY OUTER SPACE is not as metallic as WALKIN’ THE RAZORS EDGE and that is my only real complaint about this album overall. Some songs are borderline heavy metal tracks but most fall into the hard rock category. Still, it’s good stuff, but personally I prefer something a little heavier and some faster songs. If you are more into hard rock than me, perhaps your own opinion will be even higher.



Onto the music on the CD…..the album opens with a pointless sound-effect laden intro called “Space Junk”. After skipping the intro you get to a great track for opening the album and re-introducing us to the new Helix. The song is the title track “Rockin’ in My Outer Space” which is reminiscent of classic Helix. It is mid-tempo with a heavy groove. The group-chant backing vocals add to the classic 80's metal feel. Next is the wayyyyyy to long title “It’s Hard To Feel The Sunshine When Your Heart Is Filled With Rain”. How’s that for a mouthful? This one is an ok hard rocker but the song’s short harmonica solo has gotta go! Then is “Six Feet Underground” - a ballad with clean guitars. The solo is well played in this one and by the end of the song things pick up saving the song. Getting back to heavier regions is “Lint and Pennies”. This is more like it and has a modern 90's groove-metal feel. “Everybody’s Got There Cross to Bear” is back to mid tempo hard rock. Then it’s on to the filler track with “Stumblin’ Blind”. As filler, it still has some redeeming qualities such as the nice sounding orchestration that comes in at about 1:40. The song has good vocals, but it never gets going enough to grab me. Another strong track on here is up next with “King of the Hill”. This is another groove-metal track whose verses have a bounce along feel like Warrant's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" or like Tesla’s “Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)”. Then we are treated to a further cool track with “The Ballad of Sam & Mary”. Again this sounds like classic Helix, only updated. This one is heavier with great vocals and backing vocals. The lyrics also has an 80’s flavor…”when the whip comes down….she love’s it” etc…great stuff. The guitars here sound noticeably dirty and gritty. Following up this killer track is “Panic”. This is a good song but gets repetitive with the da-da-da...da-da-da…. pumping 3-note bass line all the way through the song. Closing out the album is “Sunny Summer Days”. I’ve only heard this one all the way through a couple times since it’s B A D. Is this meant as a joke song or what? Its vocals are good...the music is all acoustic guitars without bass or drums. The slide lead guitars sound retarded which is a shame because Brian had ex-Helix guitarist Brent Doerner record the leads on this one…baffling!



Older Newfoundland metallers with a good memory will be surprised to learn that the guitarist for the defunct Newfoundland band KAOS, Rainer Weichmann, plays rhythms, leads, and keys on several of the album’s tracks. Rainer is also the producer for this album! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve heard anything about Rainer…in fact it’s been since KAOS broke up and he moved out of the province. I still remember seeing his old band at the summer “concert in the park” events or on their cross-island tour back in the 80’s. It’s good to know he’s back in the hard rock/metal realm; hopefully he will be recording with Helix in the future as well.



In total, ROCKIN’ IN MY OUTER SPACE is 37mins long - remove the intro and filler songs and that’s not long enough for me! I hope there's a new album soon…as in within the next 1 to 1.5 years!! This is a good effort and I’m glad that Helix has returned, I just hope they keep the momentum going for many more years to come!!!!
Track Listing

1. Space Junk
2. Rockin’ In My Outer Space
3. It’s Hard To Feel The Sunshine When Your Heart Is Filled With Rain
4. Six Feet Underground
5. Lint and Pennies
6. Everybody’s Got There Cross To Bear
7. Stumblin’ Blind
8. King Of The Hill
9. The Ballad of Sam & Mary
10. Panic
11. Sunny Summer Daze

Lineup

The Players (not sure of actual “band” line up, so this is a list of all who contributed):

Brian Vollmer – vocals
Jeff Fountain – bass, backing vocals
Stan Fountain – bass
Tony Paleschi - bass
Glen Gamble – drums
Bill Gadd - guitars
Rainer Weichmann – guitars, keys
Brent (the Doctor) Doerner – lead guitar
Samantha Fowler – backing vocals
Cindy Weichmann (ex-KAOS vocalist) – backing vocals
Doug Weir – backing vocals
Gord Prior – backing vocals
Al Packham – backing vocals
Cheryl Lescom – backing vocals
Danny Broadbeck – backing vocals
Dan Burns – backing vocals
Little Bobby Chorney – harmonica
Lynda Vollmer - vocals
Brian Doerner – drums
Craig Robertson – trumpet
Christine Newland – cello
Mel Martin – violin

(For info on who plays on what song, buy the album!)


Next review: » Helix - Rockin’ You For 30 Years
Previous review: » Helix - R.O.C.K.-Best of 1983-2012





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