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A Heavy Mental Christmas
Released: 2008, GBS Records
Reviewer: Celtic Bob
Its that time of year again when the stores get flooded with seasonal items and you get to hear the same dozen songs over and over and over again piped through the speakers. It is also a time of year when some artists and musicians put out an album of their holiday favorites in hopes of getting played in amongst the standard playlist. Many don’t get the recognition they probably deserve as they usually record the same songs in the same way with little or no variation.
What is different with A HEAVY MENTAL CHRISTMAS you ask? Well… Canadian Hard Rock/Metal band Helix takes it a step further and kick it up a few notches to deliver a kick ass set of tunes for the season. While some of the songs are your standard holiday favorites a couple may be a bit more obscure, add in a first time ever Helix original Christmas song and you have one hell of a holiday album.
Starting off with an amped up version of “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” and continuing on well into the disc the band just plain rock out. Hell, there are even some metal guitar solos on the tracks. One of the biggest surprises on the album is their version of “Santa Claus Is Back In Town”. The band get bluesy and Brian just belts it out. He sounds amazing on this track and until this point you could never imagine him singing the blues but he does it well. It makes you wonder if we will see a bluesy Helix or Vollmer solo disc in the near future. The version of Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” is a tough one to do as many Beatle fans such as myself think that certain songs should never be covered and this is one of them. In the past many artists have tried but failed to cover some Lennon songs successfully. Brian and the band stick very close to the original for this one but offer a bit of their own to it. In place of the familiar children’s choir is the band doing the background vocals which are a bit of a refreshing change. As for Brian’s singing…he does an admirable job and does it justice. One of the biggest surprises here for most probably will be “Silent Night” in which they take a more traditional approach but for true Helix fans this comes as no surprise knowing Brian. They don’t rock it up or metalize this in any way, they just do an outstanding version that even your Grandma will crank up this holiday season. They end off the disc with a Helix Holiday original: “Christmas Time Is Here Again” which begins with a great guitar rock riff that sounds like classic Helix. This is a great up tempo song that is sure to have you up rockin’ this season. It even has the little signature Helix sounds toward the end making it a true original.
A great release for the holiday season that is sure to please all Helix fans as well as Rock and Metal fans alike. Buy this disc and play it throughout the holidays.
Brent "Ned" Niemi