Released: 2013, Coalition Music
Reviewer: Celtic Bob
This EP is the companion piece to Sean Kelly’s METAL ON ICE book. It features a half dozen re-worked Canadian Classics and one brand new song. For five of the six track the original vocals re-do one of their signature songs and the sixth is Nick Walsh (Slik Toxik) singing the Kick Axe tune “On The Road To Rock”.
METAL ON ICE kicks off with one of my favorite songs, “Heavy Metal Love” by Helix. Singer Brian Vollmer still has the voice after nearly 40 years in the music biz. This version is very close to the original, just updated slightly and a little grittier. Brian didn’t change it around too much, he just sang it as though he was on the stage giving that live feel.
Lee Aaron IS the Metal Queen so it’s only fitting that she sing the song. Over the years Lee tried a more commercial approach and even ventured into Jazz but this is what she is known for. Her voice is just as powerful as it was then, if not moreso now. She just nails the song perfectly. The instrumental section early on with mostly drums with some guitar over it sounds really good and adds that classic feel to it.
“On The Road To Rock” by Kick Axe is up next. This is the only track where the original vocalist doesn’t sing their own tune. Here is is switched up a bit. Original Kick Axe Bassist Victor Langen plays his ‘Bat Bass’ on the track and Nick Walsh from Slik Toxik takes over lead vocal. Nick is one of the greatest vocalist in Canada. He adds an intensity to the track that wasn’t heard before. Like myself, Nick loved this album (and song) from back in the day so it was fitting that he sing it here. This is a real tribute.
Carl Dixon is up next singing the Coney Hatch song “Hey Operator”. As with most of the songs on METAL ON ICE, he doesn’t stray too far from the original. This one has more power than the original. It doesn’t sound as thin. The original is a timeless classic so to have the re-recording sound better is no small feat. Carl is sounding great and really kills it with the vocals.
Darby Mills of the Headpins singing her signature “Don’t It Make Ya Feel?” is similar to Vollmer’s “Heavy Metal Love” in that it is slightly grittier in the vocal delivery. Not as polished and produced as the original, this one is more Rock n Roll. The backgrounds however are polished and produced very much the same as the original giving us a nice mix of both.
KiLLeR DWaRfS’ Russ Dwarf delivers a near exact rendition of “Keep The Spirit Alive”. Vocally as strong as ever, Russ just gives a flawless performance. If anything his voice has gotten better over the years.
Last but not least is the title track of this project. A song penned by Sean and Nick that features most of the vocalists handling some lines and all going full on with Gang Vocals for the backgrounds. This is a Canadian Hear n’ Aid, only better. Lyrically it gives an overall synopsis of the book and the Canadian Music Scene. It is a well put together song and the vocalist get a moment to shine on something new.
A fine EP that is the perfect companion piece to the book. Great to hear some of the Country’s best still giving it their all, especially in this day and age. This only proves that the Hard Rock and Metal community is stronger than many have given it credit for.
Heavy Metal Love
On The Road To Rock
Don't It Make Ya Feel
Keep the Spirit Alive
Metal On Ice
Sean Kelly - All guitars
Daryl Gray - Bass on all tracks except
On The Road to Rock (Victor Langen) & Metal On Ice (Nick Walsh)
Dave Langguth - Drums