When that video came on one night, with a hirsute chain slaving away in some dusty rocky place and some guy standing up suddenly and shouting, "Gimme an R, O, C, K..." I thought it was both cheese fodder for the anti-metal kids at my school and actually pretty cool sounding. A hard rock cheer. Very laughable if it was taken seriously, but seriously fun if it was taken for how it was intended. Cheer aside, the song was a rockin' heavy tune and the name of the band, Helix, sounded cool too.
I bought the cassette and got to love the band. The second track, "Young and Wreckless" had one of the best and coolest-sounding metal riffs after the solo, and years - no decades later - I always thought to get the CD if for nothing else than to hear that riff again. But it was for one more reason that I finally ordered the CD earlier this year and that was the awesome cover ballad "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want". I remember loving the song at the time and the guitar solo was so pretty. As it happened, I bought the debut album by A Foot in Cold Water, the seventies Canadian hard rock band that recorded the original song, and I felt the Helix cover was done so well that there were no longer any excuses for not ordering "Walkin' the Razor's Edge".
The album is an excellent piece of mid-eighties glam metal / hard rock. For that, however, keep in mind what that means musically and lyrically. This is mostly a party album with fun songs to rock out to. "And you stand accused of having fun. How do you plead?" "Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!" (from "When the Hammer Falls"). Helix also cover the 70's Crazy Elephant song "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'", which now I feel stands apart from their self-penned material in style but still slips neatly into the party hard rock mix of the album. The band do pull off some excellent rockers with some catchy riffs and clever solos. And Brian Vollmer's vocals must certainly be mentioned because he has great control and delivery. The man can sing to this music like he was born for it.
I bought Helix's next two albums and the one before this one and I even had the privilege of meeting vocalist Brain Vollmer when he came to my local record store, promoting "Wild in the Streets" (very nice guy!). But of the four albums, "Walkin' the Razor's Edge" is the only one that impressed me enough to stay in my memory and the only one I ever felt like replacing with a CD. I don't know about what Helix did after or the two albums before. Perhaps there's bound to be some great rocking album worth listening to. I have to admit though that this kind of party rock is usually not my thing. Even now, listening to the whole album while riding a train isn't so inspiring. But perhaps while driving it would better suit the circumstances. Walking home at night with the volume cranked sure helps.
I'm tempted to give it four stars for the type of music that it is. "Rock You" still really captures the mood even though the cheer should sound cheesy. That riff in "Young and Wreckless" is as awesome as ever. The cover ballad is still beautifully done, and some of the rockets like "Animal House" are worthy of cuing up. The rest of the album is better taken at high volume perhaps when behind the steering wheel or when one is in the mood for some good ol' classic eighties hard rock / glam metal.