Helix – A Heavy Mental Christmas (2008)

helix-xmas-cd

Helix – A Heavy Mental Chistmas (2008, independent release)

  1. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
  2. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
  3. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
  4. A Wonderful Christmas Time
  5. Jingle Bell Rock
  6. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
  7. Sock It To Me Santa
  8. Jingle Bells
  9. Silent Night
  10. Christmas Time Is Here Again

Band Lineup:
Brian Vollmer – Lead Vocals
Paul Fonseca – Bass
Jim Lawson – Guitars
Brent Niemi – Drums
Rick VanDyk – Guitars

Total Time = 25:26

Helix official website

For most people, it’s way too early to start thinking about Christmas but for Helix mainman Brian Vollmer, Christmas began over this past summer. The idea for a Helix Christmas album was conceived, a deal was made with Wal-Mart in Canada, and the album was recorded. A HEAVY MENTAL CHRISTMAS was released in early October exclusively through Wal-Mart and online through Vollmer’s website PlanetHelix.com. The album follows the successful formula laid out by Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Twisted Sister: Rock bands creating their own seasonal album by taking old-time Christmas classics and adding their own hard-edged sound.

The album breaks down to nine holiday classics and a new Helix song, ‘Christmas Time Is Here Again’. The band stays pretty true to the originals but they are rocked up and heavy! A few cool guitar solos are added in to add a little punch and some length but there isn’t much else added in to make these songs any different. This album is basically a holiday covers album and, even though I’m not big on cover tunes, it’s definitely a lot of fun. I like hearing the Helix versions of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’, ‘A Wonderful Christmas Time’ and ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’, these are some of my favorite Xmas songs and I am one of those people that tune into the Lite Rock stations November 1st to hear the holiday music. I really enjoyed the acoustic/power ballad version of ‘Silent Night’, it sounds great with the electric guitar coming in for the instrumental section. The new Helix original, ‘Christmas Time Is Here Again’, is a pretty cool song and has more energy than the classics. Obviously the difference is that this song was written as a Rock song while the others aren’t and Helix always does a great job putting out new Rock songs.

Bottom Line:
The band sounds real tight and at the top of their game and lead vocalist/founder Brian Vollmer sounds exactly like he did when I discovered Helix back in 1983, a solid vocal performance. Production is flawless, everything is crystal clear and the album sounds great. The best song on the record is the new ‘Christmas Time Is Here Again’ but that’s because I prefer original material but all the classics are done very well. My favorites from the classics are: ‘Silent Night’, ‘Happy Xmas’, ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’…..they’re all a lot of fun!