BRIAN JAMES: The Guitar That Dripped Blood

British punk royalty Brian James delivers his third solo rock album. The album includes guests such as ex DEAD BOYS Cheetah Chrome, and THE LUSTKILLERS Adam Becvare joining the party, with a sleeve painted by top horror film designer Graham Humphries.

Well, this is a complete blast of old school punk rock fury from one of the originators of the school of 1976. The songs are gritty, tight and full of energy that makes you think that this is someone young and angry, but he’s older and still pissed off…thankfully. The album has a touch of horror punk, but with a cover painted by Graham Humphries, and James coming from THE DAMNED, go figure that horror would be a part of this collection of thrilling songs. There is also a touch of the Dead boys on here, even though Cheetah Chrome only plays on one track, the terrific “Becoming A Nuisance.” The album is just one vitriol filled blast of energy after another. Song after song is just as well written and performed as the one before it and there is no “just a few” good songs, the whole thing is full of good songs that force you to turn the stereo up and play it again and again. James’ voice has a nice hard edge to it and on the slower “Til The Rains Come,” he has a lot of emotion and a mellow timber that fits the song perfectly.

This is the kind of album that should be all over the radio and one the charts, but too many cloth eared twats prevent that from happening. Go out and grab yourself a copy and make yourself and your friends happy that this is out there, and make sure this kind of music gets heard by people.

HELIX: Long Way To Heaven

Long Way to Heaven is the fifth studio album by Canadian heavy metal band Helix. This album was their third for Capitol Records, and the first single was “Deep Cuts The Knife.” The song received heavy airplay in the U.S., and in Canada it was added to heavy video play on Much Music. The second single released from the album was “The Kids Are All Shakin’,”a song inspired by a fan letter from Poland. This is the remastered re-release from Culture Factory.

Helix came out with this album and there were bigger expectations from the band after the success of the previous Walkin’ The Razor’s Edge (featuring the hit “Rock You”). The band was playing harder and this time they tried to fit in with the more commercially accepted metal bands with a ballad, “Deep Cuts The Knife,” that never really grabbed me then and still doesn’t do it for me. The good thing is that they had a lot of kick-ass songs on here to more than make up for that bump. The songs that I hit replay are; “Don’t Touch The Merchandise.” “The Kids Are All Shakin’,” “Ride The Rocket,” and “House On Fire.” Don’t think the other songs aren’t good, they are, but these are the ones I come back to a little more often. The album is another tightly played collection that now has the clean sound from Culture Factory and their crisp sounding remaster.

The band was riding a high and this is another rockin’ album for your collection and will still get your juices pumping after all these years. Grab a copy and relive your youth with the album turned up and a beer or three in you.

HELIX: No Rest For The Wicked

No Rest For The Wicked is Canadian heavy metal band, Helix’s third studio album, and was also their major label debut on Capitol Records. Released in 1983, it features two of the band’s biggest singles, “Heavy Metal Love” and “Never Want To Lose You.” This is the newly remastered version from Culture Factory that makes it look like the original vinyl release and greatly improves the sound.

With this album, the band went from playing more blues based hard rock, to toughening up their image and getting into leather and playing harder edged music and becoming a big time metal band with videos getting heavy rotation on Much Music, and tons of radio play. The album is tight with not one note wasted, and still as catchy as an old nickel whore with syphilis. Song after song will get you playing the air guitar and singing along to the chorus, and wishing metal was this much fun today. Of course you get the two big singles; “Heavy Metal Love” and “Never Want To Lose You,” but the album could have had more singles like “Let’s All Do It Tonight,” “No Rest for the Wicked,” and “Ain’t No High Like Rock ‘n Roll.” The band plays with conviction and he good vibes jump off the album and get burned into your ears. This is the kind of album that you would take with you on a car ride and roll the windows down, and crank it up. The remastering job has cleaned up the tracks and given them a clarity that helps bring out the raw talent and emotion that is laid down here.

An album that stands up today as good as it did over thirty years ago and makes me yearn for the days when you could turn on the radio and hear music like this coming out fresh. I’m going to take this one for a spin in the car and see if I can forget what year it is.

MODERN ROMANCE: Adventures In Clubland

Adventures in Clubland is the debut album by English band Modern Romance. It was released in 1981 and featured the singles “Everybody Salsa,” released: August 1981, “Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey,” released: November 1981, and  released: January 1982.

This is the remastered release of their debut album that features the album remastered from original tapes, includes an interview with, and imagery provided by, founding members, bonus tracks including the debut EP and remixes, and also features a revealing interview with founding members David Jaymes and Geoffrey Deane, period images, official band shots, and sleeve shots.

The sound is fantastic, clear and crisp, with the band sounding amazing and the songs will get you up and dancing, as well as putting a smile on your face. This had a terrific mix of jazz, funk, new wave and salsa all mixed together to great success. This is one of those bands that I had read a lot about, but never heard much of their music, until a friend of mine, thanks James, bought the 12″ single of “Queen Of The Rapping Scene (Nothing Ever Goes The Way You Plan),” and gave it to me, mostly because he liked new wave, but was more into metal at the time. I heard it and loved it, still do and I had to get this album. I found it in a used store after many years and loved it, and love this release too. The songs are tightly played and so full of energy, that it still sounds fresh to me. The inclusion of the debut EP is welcomed because I love hearing how they started out and went into this direction from the more humble beginnings. The album has gotten stuck into my CD player and I refuse to take it out until I drive everyone crazy playing it.

A great release that is more than welcome in your collection of lost ’80s bands that need to be heard. Grab a copy and start dancing around your house…I did, and still am doing it.