Helix – Eat Sleep Rock

Helix – Eat Sleep Rock
Perris Records
Release Date: 04/09/2020
Running Time: 45:34
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

I’ve made the difficult decision today to take a break from progressive metal…Don’t worry, it’s only for the day! Because sometimes Sundays just call for a bit of good, honest, salt of the earth, hard rock, right?! Today’s listening pleasure is sponsored by old-school Canadian hard rockers, Helix, in the shape of their new album, “Eat Sleep Rock”.

This album is a compilation of the bands favourite songs recorded since their departure from Capitol/EMI back in 1990. (Yes, that is 3 decades ago, and yes you are, like me, getting very, very old. Eesh! 30 damn years, where the hell did that go?!) But as an added bonus, alongside some timeless classics, this album also offers two previously unreleased tracks, the title track, and ‘The Story Of Helix’, which opens the album.

And what a way to open an album it is. In a style akin to the ever popular ‘Tribute’ (originally performed by Tenacious D, but subsequently murdered millions of times over in every Karaoke bar globally), this track is an hilarious spoken word piece, set to music, and interspersed with musical fills at just the right points. It summarises the story of the journey that Helix have been on, over nearly half a century, into a neatly packaged 7 and a half minutes! And it’s funny as hell! I did some proper belly laughing at it! I would recommend that anyone who held the 90’s music scene in any level of contempt have a listen to this track. You’ll sympathize with it!

Following the amusing start, Helix get back to business in ‘Eat Sleep Rock’, the album’s title track. It’s just great, solid, hard rock. And that, my friends, really is all you need quite a lot of the time. Think Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, and AC/DC, and you’re on the right tracks. It’s written and performed to be tight and no nonsense, and when you listen to it, it’s completely impossible not to tap your toes and nod your head. And I’ve discovered, when you’re writing, it’s also impossible to stop yourself writing in time to the music, too.

The album continues in this way throughout. Just tune after tune of great hard rock. Superb solos, metronomic drumming, classic rock vocals – clean, but with just enough grit to give them edge, big riffs, and driving bass lines. It’s music for a road trip. Or music to shoot some pool and drink liquor to, and I love it.

I don’t have a favourite track on this album, as the whole thing just puts you in a great mood. There’s no way I could single out one track that does that more than the others. Everything is written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered to perfection. But this is to be expected, as these guys are all seasoned professionals, and they’ve used some of the cream of the crop to take care of mixing and mastering, too. There isn’t a single thing that I would change, or that has irritated me, about this album, which is rare, because I’m a fussy cow!!

Ok, I’ll level with you. If you’re looking for explorations of new and Avant Garde sounds, you should probably move along. But if you want to be immersed in some proper ROCK, then get stuck into this bad boy, because you won’t be disappointed!

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Story Of Helix (Unreleased)
02. Eat Sleep Rock (Unreleased)
03. Shock City Psycho Rock
04. Wrecking Ball
05. I’m A Live Frankenstein
06. Even Jesus (Wasn’t Loved In His Hometown)
07. Cyber Space Girl
08. When The Bitters Got The Better Of You
09. The Tequila Song
10. (Gene Simmons Says) Rock Is Dead
11. The Devil Is Having A Party Tonight

LINE-UP:
Brian Vollmer – Lead Vocals
Daryl Gray – Bass & Keyboard Programming
Greg “Fritz” Hinz – Drums
Kaleb Duck – Guitar
Chris Julke – Guitar

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Vega – Grit Your Teeth

Vega – Grit Your Teeth
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Running Time: 42:11
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

I have an eclectic taste in music. I spent a good part of tonight listening to Mozart (who is incidentally the finest composer to ever grace the face of the earth, in my humble opinion). When I’m not indulging in a bit of classical or jazz, I like to get stuck into the heavier stuff. Anything from industrial and djent to power metal and classic heavy rock cuts it for me, as long as it’s got a bit of vim!

Enter stage left, “Grit Your Teeth”, the new release, and sixth studio album from Vega, the UK’s answer to Bon Jovi and latter era Aerosmith (who incidentally I both love)! I first became aware of these guys at Amplified 2017 and was instantly a fan! Their album release of that year, “Only Human”, is still on my regular playlist, and I’ve been hotly anticipating this new release for some months!

The band bring a certain edge to the classic 80’s AOR sound, which makes it current, and I really enjoy. This album is certainly no exception to their ‘classic with a modern twist’ feel. Every tune has an ‘anthem’ quality about it, and you can picture huge crowds at massive festivals having an absolute ball to it!  This release has been created with the help of “The Graves Brothers” (Asking Alexandria, Funeral for Friend, The Family Ruin), and, for me, the production has stepped up a big level. I’m a stickler for production, as you may have noticed, and it’s superbly done here.

So, what makes Vega’s sound so good? Well there are a number of things. First and foremost, Nick Workman’s vocals. He has the perfect voice for this sort of music and has a brilliant range. He can deliver power and punch right to the top of his range, but also has the control to bring it down when the music requires. Vocal harmonies add an extra layer, and that backed up by the riffs and melodies on multiple guitars. There are some blistering solos throughout this album, but nothing is over-done. The rhythm section don’t over complicate things, instead opting to do solid well! This sits perfectly within their style. And finally, the atmospheric keyboards and synth elements add a variation in colour and depth which tastefully nods back to the classic sounds of the 80’s (also a superb musical era, and anyone who says any different is wrong).

This is an up-tempo album, which has you nodding your head and tapping your toes right from the start. Every track is perfectly positioned within the album, making it ebb and swell in all the right places. Even though every tune is a banger, and we do get a cracking ballad in the shape of ‘Consequence Of Having A Heart’, I think my favourite track on the album is ‘Battles Ain’t A War’, which is slower than the rest, and the most stripped back and deep song on the album. It is in a minor key, which gives it a lamenting feel that is pleasing, in a melancholy kind of way. It also has a great choral backing vocal section towards the end, and the addition of strings, which give it an extra layer.

Another one that sticks in my head is ‘Save Me From Myself’. It has a ridiculously catchy chorus hook, which I was singing along with by the second listen!

But, and you’re going to get sick of me saying this, we have another example of the cardinal sin of music, the fade out, putting in an appearance. It was all going so well, and then the penultimate track goes and does a fade out to finish! Tut tut! For the love of god, please will bands stop doing that and find a way to bloody finish the song instead!! It’s a double shame as there’s an epic little guitar solo in this track too, which is beautifully panned from left to right for effect. It would have been a ten out of ten album for me, but in keeping with my musical morals, half a mark docked for the fade! Sorry chaps!

Apart from that though, stunning album! A huge step forward from their last, and I hope that this is the start of a wider recognition for this immensely talented band, as they thoroughly deserve it! If you like classic AOR, with a Bon Jovi and 80’s/90’s Aerosmith feel, seriously try this album out for size, as you won’t be disappointed!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blind
02. (I Don’t Need) Perfection
03. Grit Your Teeth
04. Man On A Mission
05. Don’t Fool Yourself
06. Consequence Of Having A Heart
07. This One’s For You
08. Battles Ain’t A War
09. Save Me From Myself
10. How We Live
11. Done With Me

LINE-UP:
Nick Workman – Vocals
Tom Martin – Bass And Guitar
Marcus Thurston – Guitar
James Martin – Keyboards
Mikey Kew – Guitar
Martin Hutchison – Drums

LINKS:
www.vegaofficial.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/OFFICIALVEGA
www.twitter.com/VegaOfficial
www.youtube.com/user/FrontiersRecords/search?query=vega
www.instagram.com/vegaofficialband/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4fn3t2tBoP4nIOoqXAENIT

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.