Album Review: Metal On Ice (Various Artists)
There are times when I get flashbacks to the 1980′s that make me cringe, like watching the recent film Hot Tub Time Machine, and I am reminded of things like parachute pants, Pac-Man, Adidas bags, Max Headroom, and Alf (Well, maybe not Max, he was kinda cool). The only thing that kept me sane throughout those years was the music. Not just any music. Hard rock and heavy metal. I guess that I was a headbanger, so to speak. I didn’t have long hair or a leather jacket, but I truly dug the music. There were the obvious bands like Van Halen, Ratt, Motley Crue and others. Canada of course had a great hard rock scene outside of the big two bands that dominated my record collection; Rush and Triumph. Some of those other artists make up the participants on this new disc put together by musician Sean Kelly: Brian Vollmer (Helix), Lee Aaron, Carl Dixon (Coney Hatch), Russ Dwarf (Killer Dwarfs), and Darby Mills (Headpins). There is also early 90′s rocker Nick Walsh (Slik Toxik), and of course, Sean Kelly himself as guitarist and co-producer (with Aaron Murray). Each of the vocalists have rerecorded classic songs from their past (Nick sings on a Kick Axe song from ’84). It becomes clear after the first listen that none of these singers have lost much over the years. This album is a treat to listen to and brings back lots of great memories of my heavy metal years. The title track is a new song and was written by Sean and Nick Walsh. Other artists that guest on this record are Daryl Gray of Helix, along with Victor Langen and Ray Harvey from Kick Axe. I could just imagine what was going through Sean’s head as he was working with all of these greats on this one project. As I wrote this I asked him about some of the finer details of the record, and he finished our conversation with “Hard to believe, man….I’m very lucky”.
Of note: This record is a companion piece to the book of the same name. It is the labour of love of Sean Kelly and it chronicles the history of heavy metal music in Canada. Sean has compiled interviews with original artists such as Helix, Anvil, Coney Hatch, Killer Dwarfs, Harem Scarem, and Honeymoon Suite, as well as prominent journalists, VJs, and industry insiders, which was used to flesh out their stories and experiences throughout metal’s golden age; the ’80′s.
Sean Kelly himself has become quite a notable musician in the ongoing history of Canadian rock; he is a Billboard-charting guitarist, he fronted his own band Crash Kelly, which resulted in three albums, he currently tours as the lead guitarist for Grammy Award–winning superstar Nelly Furtado, and has performed with and written a number of songs for many multi-platinum acts that include Helix, Carole Pope, and Rough Trade….(Taking a deep breath so I can continue on)….Sean has also recorded three classical guitar albums that have met with critical acclaim and made it onto the bestseller charts….The only question that I have to ask is “where did he find the time to work on this book and CD?”. Other than that, all that I have to say is: Well done, Sean. The book is a noble cause which shines a light in a not so bright corner of Canadian music history, and it has been long overdue. This CD of songs is like the icing on that cake.
My rating: 8.3/10
Visit the website for the CD and the book for further info and where to buy them: www.metalonice.com