This is "The Big 10 - The Essential Tracks", in which we take a closer look at particular artist's or band's back catalogue, and choose the 10 finest moments. These are our subjective choices, so if you want to ask how on earth we could leave off such and such song from the list, you can... and the answer is... because we could.

 

For my first stab at The Big Ten I thought I'd take a look at my fellow countrymen and one of the early bands in my metal listening foray, Helix. Helix have toured the world with major recording artists such as KISS, Aerosmith, Night Ranger, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Motorhead, Whitesnake, Heart, Quiet Riot and W.A.S.P. to name a few and were once considered 'the hardest working band in Canada'. They have been featured in the hit Canadian comedy show, The Trailer Park Boys, contributed to soundtracks such as Iron Eagle and had their song 'Fill Your Head with Rock' named theme song of the 2007 Sweden Rock Festival.

Helix formed in 1974 in Kitchener, Ontario and have endured many lineup changes throughout the years, with vocalist Brian Vollmer being the sole constant and original member in all incarnations. Their first two albums were released independently, Breaking Loose in 1979 and White Lace & Black Leather in 1981. Commercial success and more lineup adjustments came with their major label debut, No Rest for the Wicked in 1983 which included the hit 'Heavy Metal Love'. The ever changing lineup issues would be quelled for a time with the addition of Daryl Gray wielding the bass guitar joining vocalist Brian Vollmer, guitarists Brent "The Doctor" Doerner and Paul Hackman and drummer Greg "Fritz" Hinz. This classic roster issued Walking the Razorís Edge in 1984 featuring their biggest hit and most well known song in 'Rock You'. Long Way to Heaven followed in 1985 and Wild In the Streets in 1987.

The first full Helix album to join my music collection and thus holds special place in my heart is 1990ís Back for Another Taste. That was to be Hackmanís last recording as in 1992, on a tour of western Canada, the bandís van rolled down a 40 foot embankment resulting in the death of guitarist Paul Hackman. 1993 saw the release of Itís a Business Doing Pleasure but with a veritable revolving door of musicians over the next few years that saw the likes of Greg Fraser (Brighton Rock), Mike Hall (KiLLeR DWaRfS), Gerry Finn (KiLLeR DWaRfS), Darren James Smith (Harem Scarem) and others playing with Helix, the band flailed but finally issued half-ALIVE in 1998. The abysmal Rockin' In My Outer Space came in 2004 and The Power of Rock and Roll put them back on track in 2007 before the surviving members of the 'classic' lineup reunited in 2009. Vagabond Bones was released in 2009 featuring Kaleb 'Duckman' Duck on guitars with the remainder of the 'classic' roster. An EP, Skin in the Game dropped in 2011 and a highly anticipated full length titled Bastard of the Blues is due before the end of 2014.

As a live entity Helix are filled with energy and Brian Vollmer's vocal chords have not dulled with time, perhaps even stronger than ever thanks to the classic vocal technique Bel canto. Don't miss a chance to see these Canadians 'Rock You'! The Meisterís Top Ten Helix songs (it was a hard choice, with many great songs omitted and the placement of some of these may surprise you):

10. Animal Inside
9. Deep Cuts the Knife
8. Jaws of the Tiger
7. Heavy Metal Love
6. Rock You

5. Get Up!
Not a well known Helix track by any other than die hard fans I should suspect, but for me it holds memories of the first time I saw Helix shortly after the EP of the same name was released. It was a time when I was once again beginning to embrace my love of music and the 80ís sound that I had first abandoned for grunge and then stopped listening to music altogether. The show I saw took place at a tiny bar in a little town in northern Ontario and featured only vocalist Brian Vollmer from the ďclassicí lineup. With no promotion whatsoever and only stopping in for a beer after work did I find out Helix was due to hit the stage in an hour!

4. Running Wild in the 21st Century
Appearing on Back for Another Taste, the last Helix album prior to the tragic death of guitarist Paul Hackman, this entire release holds a special place in my heart being the first full length Helix album to join my collection. The song, written by Hackman & Vollmer, garnered an award from MuchMusic (Canadaís MTV) for ďHeavy Metal Video of the YearĒ in 1990.

3. Wild in the Streets
The title track from the 1987 album of the same name was a soundtrack to my youth as we, (my friends and I thinking we were cool), used to walk the streets around our houses blasting this song repeatedly on a handheld ghetto blaster! Itís an upbeat composition with a catchy chorus and great riff that comes off awesome in a live setting, guaranteed to get your fist in the air!

2. No Rest for the Wicked
Again a title track to an album this one released in 1983 with a blisteringly fast pace and almost bordering on the thrashy elements. The lyric ďainít no rest for a rock and roll bandĒ I would presume is about Helix themselves as they were at one time considered to be the ďhardest working band in CanadaĒ.

1. Dirty Dog
From the same No Rest For the Wicked album and again exhibits a harder edge than some of the later compositions, the grinding riff sure to incite headbanging! A song that doesnít always make the Helix setlist but when it did for 2013ís Monsters of Rock Cruise Brian Vollmer regaled the audience with a little story about strippers being the subject matter for the song. Iíll leave the rest to your imagination, crank it up!

This list by:Rich "The Meister" Dillon

The list as a YouTube playlist

Individual lists:

Urban Wallström:

10. No Rest for the Wicked
9. Without You
8. Long Way To Heaven
7. Does a Fool Ever Learn
6. Heavy Metal Love
5. You Keep Me Rockin'
4. Running Wild In The 21st Century
3. Breakdown
2. Rock You
1. Deep Cuts The Knife

Kimmo Toivonen:

10. Wild In The Streets
9. Dream On
8. Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'
7. Midnight Express
6. You Keep Me Rockin'
5. Breakdown
4. Good To The Last Drop
3. Without You
2. Deep Cuts The Knife
1. Rock You

(c) 2014 RockUnited.Com

 

10. Wild in The Streets
9. Heavy Metal Love
8. Dirty Dog
7. Without You
6. No Rest For The Wicked
5. You Keep Me Rockin'
4. Breakdown
3. Running Wild in the 21st Century
2. Deep Cuts the Knife
1. Rock You