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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!)


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