Help! For Japan (Avenue of Allies) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Friday, 09 March 2012 04:30

help-cover-webIt's hard to shake the images that my eyes struggled to take in on March 11th, 2011 fully from my mind.


The shocking, nightmarish story of the Japanese earthquake that unfurled itself on rolling news networks, lives horribly rubbed out in the blink of an eye, the beat of a heart, was one that would touch the most callous of human beings.


As the first anniversary of the tragedy is almost upon us, German label Avenue of Allies has released a four track EP to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross. Every artist, of which there are many, and every person responsible in any way for the production, design, promotion, manufacturing and distribution of the EP has dedicated their skill and hard work to the project for free in a sign that not all hope for humanity is lost.


Vocalist Tommy Heart (Soul Doctor, Fair Warning) initiated the campaign, centred on a melodic rock version of The Beatles' classic 'Help!', and a host of Europe's leading rock artists united to appear over the four tracks.


Opening with a beautiful piano intro, the main version of 'Help!', adapted here into a poignant power ballad, boasts a star-studded line-up of talent; Don Airey and Neil Murray (of Deep Purple and Whitesnake, respectively) are joined by the Gotthard duo of Leo Leoni and Hena Habegger on guitar and drums, to provide the instrumentation while the vocals, in a modern day Hear 'n' Aid style, are provided by....deep breath....Tobias Sammet  (Edguy), Bob Catley (Magnum), Andi Derris (Helloween), Torstein Flakne (Stage Dolls), Marc Storace (Krokus), David Readman (Pink Cream 69), Claus Lessman (Bonfire), Oliver Hartmann (Hartmann), Bernhard Weiss (Axxis), Michael Kiske (Unisonic), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Tony Mills (TNT), Carsten 'Lizard' Schulz (Evidence One) and Tommy Heart himself. Phew.


This version of the timeless song is almost incidental given the cause, yet, in its polished and well-produced (by Heart and Tommy Remm and Rene Schostak of Valicon) guise as a classic, melodic rock ballad, it pushes every emotional button in the human psyche.


Tommy Heart gets the vocals all to himself on the second version of the song featured on this four-tracker; it is, without the changing of voices, the better version but, obviously, without the lure of the luminary lyric.


The third version rids itself of all vocals, replacing them with guitar solos: Cede Dupont (Downspirit), Kyoji Yamamoto (BowWow), Heige Engelke (Fair Warning), Roland Grapow (Masterplan), Henny Wolter (Nitrogods), Robert R. Rodrigo (Airless) and the aforementioned Leo Leoni take a bow.


An extended version of the song, coming in at almost seven full minutes, rounds out the four track EP.


This melodic rock master class may not be to all rock 'n' roll tastes but the cause certainly should be - buy this EP and do your bit to help.


To pick up a copy of 'Help! For Japan Ep' - CLICK HERE