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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Helix - 1985 Long Way To Heaven
Helix - 1985 Long Way To Heaven

ALBUM: Long Way To Heaven
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12411
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1999, Capitol, 12411 2 * 2011, Rock Candy Records, CANDY131


LINEUP: Brian Vollmer - vocals * Paul Hackman - guitars * Brent Doerner - guitars * Daryl Gray - bass * Greg Hinz - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Kids Are All Shakin' * 02 Deep Cuts The Knife * 03 Ride The Rocket * 04 Long Way To Heaven * 05 House On Fire * 06 Christine * 07 Without You (Jasmine's Song) * 08 School Of Hard Knocks * 09 Don't Touch The Merchandise * 10 Bangin' Off-A The Bricks


Helix are a Canadian institution in terms of melodic rock, having been around for years. Their lineup has been reasonably stable during their time together, with their limited success peaked during the mid eighties. A couple of albums on the Capitol label prior to this one, plus some small time releases even earlier, such as 'Breakin Loose' and 'White Lace And Black Leather', ensured Helix's reputation as a hard working, and hard touring band across North America. Does anyone remember seeing the near X-rated video for 'Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'? What a hoot that was! (or was that 'hooter'?).

The Songs
With 'Long Way To Heaven' their sound becomes more polished, though still retaining that gritty quality accumulated over the years. When they open up with 'The Kids Are All Shakin' (In The USA), you'd think that for a Canadian outfit they are doing a 'Def Leppard' approved sellout of their roots, and their shameless plug to break into the US market. 'Deep Cuts The Knife' is a power ballad of infectious melodic rock similar to the commercial direction taken by Alice Cooper. Am I hearing things or has Def Leppard struck a few years early here, with 'Ride The Rocket', complete with chants and similar song titles. Who ripped off who here? The title track 'Long Way To Heaven' exemplifies the twin guitar attack of Hackman and Doerner, not before we crash to earth with the stormtrooping 'House On Fire'. I On Side Two we get the solid rock riffing of 'Christine', followed by another superb power ballad called 'Without You (Jasmine's Song)'. They get a tad predictable on 'School Of Hard Knocks', though the music is still hard rockin' and melodic. With 'Don't Touch The Merchandise' they accelerate to Dokken (George Lynch) approved speed, before colliding headlong into the maelstrom which is the end track 'Bangin' Off-A The Bricks'. Vollmer does his best Dave Lee Roth speel towards the end here.

In Summary
There's plenty of albums to choose from throughout their history. If you like the early eighties melodia without the emphasis on sonic guitarwork then their early albums like 'Breakin Loose' may appeal (especially on songs like 'Here I Go Again' or 'Billy Oxygen'). For the more hard rock/metal approach, then any of the Capitol releases are a good snapshot. Happy hunting.

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