'METAL ON ICE' EP
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
As you may or may not recall, in July MetalTalk shared a news story and insight into 'Metal On Ice' which for all intents and purposes is a celebration of Canadian Hard Rock music from the 80s and called by some 'The New Wave of Canadian Heavy Metal' or NWOCHM!
Swimming in internationally recognised artists such as Lee Aaron, Helix and Coney Hatch amongst many others, Canada should be quietly proud that there is still a demand for this music that Rocked their cities and towns. How do we know there is still a demand I hear you cry? Well, this E.P. is thanks to support and donations via the mighty PledgeMusic.com website, where artists and bands can set up a campaign to raise funding for various initiatives. Those familiar with Ginger Wildheart and his record breaking moments with raising money to record various albums will already know about fan power.
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A complementary seven track extended player called 'Metal On Ice' is available thanks to just such a campaign, as this collaboration of Canadian talents gathered momentum and re-recorded some classic moments from the decade that brought us big hair and shoulder pads. For those who want to sing-a-long to such anthems as 'Heavy Metal Love', 'Metal Queen' and 'Hey Operator', then this release will be of interest. Thankfully I can report that these newer recordings have lost none of the emotion, passion and energy that made them such golden nuggets in the first place.
If you purchased the 1983 album 'No Rest For The Wicked' by Helix, then you'll be familiar with the first song 'Heavy Metal Love'. The continuity is evident for those who wish to wrap their ears around some nostalgic old skool Hard Rock when 'Metal Queen', the title track of Lee Aaron's second album from 1984 receives a reboot!
Frontman for hard working Canadian Rockers Slik Toxik, Nick Walsh, provides his talents to 'On The Road To Rock' which is followed by Carl Dixon of Coney Hatch, April Wine and The Guess Who, to provide 'Hey Operator'.
Instantly recognisable as Rock music from the 80s with the song arrangements, presentation and feel, these really are fun. It's really smart paying respect to the Headpins debut 'Turn It Loud' from 1982 and including the voice of Darby Mills on 'Don't It Make Ya Feel' plus Russ 'Dwarf' Graham from the Killer Dwarfs gives 'Keep The Spirit Alive' a good reworking. Both add to the ebb and flow of this collection which incorporates the 80s vibe within its continuity.
Thanks to a book by Sean Kelly called 'Metal On Ice: Tales From Canada's Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Heroes', which is currently available as a paperback I noticed, this is a companion release placing the music in your ears so you don't have to imagine the music. It's a fabulous idea and concept as this enables a greater understanding and provides those who are unfamiliar with that decade, an extra dimension to digest.
With Sean Kelly at the helm as Producer alongside Aaron Murray, they should hold their heads high with pride as they have not only set about representing a decade in Canadian Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, but have injected some life in to the music.
The final moment on this E.P. arrives in the shape of the title track which was composed by Sean Kelly and Nick Walsh.
Incidentally, Walsh also produced this final song. It rounds off what is a cool step back in time when piercing the thread of the past. It won't shake your foundations with anything radical, and it certainly doesn't push that decade in to the future. Instead it reminds us of some great times during the 80s and suitably pays homage.
If nothing else, it might persuade you to look out for the book which inspired this release? That in of itself is perhaps a positive outcome and shows what a success this project has been.
1. Heavy Metal Love
2. Metal Queen
3. On The Road To Rock
4. Hey Operator
5. Don't It Make Ya Feel
6. Keep The Spirit Alive
7. Metal On Ice
Brian Vollmer – Vocals (Track 1); Lee Aaron – Vocals (Track 2); Nick Walsh – Vocals (Track 3); Carl Dixon – Vocals (Track 4); Darby Mills – Vocals (Track 5); Russ Dwarf – Vocals (Track 6); Sean Kelly – Guitars (All tracks); Dave Langguth - Drums (All tracks); Daryl Gray – Bass (Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6); Victor Langen – Bass (Track 3); Nick Walsh – Bass (Track 7)