SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: GET YR HELMET ON, SON (RE-POST)
In honor of my first-ever time seeing Helmet tonight (following the MS afternoon show at Fontana’s, of course), I’m reposting an oldie but goodie….first published on Nov. 26th, 2007
Helmet perfectly exemplifies where backbone groove finds its place into the world of metal. True — guitarist/monotone vocalist Page Hamilton has always provided the overall vision of this outfit, but it is mega-thick pocket drummer John Stanier that people usually seem to remember the most about NYC’s Helmet.
As far as I’m concerned, Meantime is one of the greatest heavy albums from the 90s, and I still rock that joint several times each year. Every song is a gem, and the style perfectly melds with both the melody and the fury throughout. After I discovered the awesome might of this record back in the day, I went on to check out subsequent release Betty and previous offering Strap It On, and both of these albums truly have their strengths but at the end of the day, Meantime is the one. Fierce and incendiary and yet pretty accessible for a hard pocket aggressive blend.
Following Betty, Helmet went on to release the underwhelming Aftertaste in 1997, and then broke up in 1998, after an extensive tour. Said Hamilton vis a vis the separation, “9 years, 1600 shows, 5 albums, and we found it hard to look at each other anymore.” Apparantly there was such bad blood at the time between the members that Stanier has refused to reconnect with Hamilton ever since.
Page subsequently resurfaced in Los Angeles, and the band came back into the fold in 2004 (minus John Stanier) with Size Matters and Monochrome in 2006. The more recent material is not terrible, but everything I’ve heard from the latest albums is definitely lacking the edge that this band once had at its peak.
Wonderfully simple, powerful, loud, tight — if you’ve never heard Helmet’s work from their early to mid 90s heyday (most particularly Meantime) get yourself some right away. And if you haven’t listened to it since high school, dust that shiat off and crank it up brah; it’s worth revisiting again and again and again…
HELMET – “In The Meantime”, from Meantime (1992)
HELMET – “Unsung”, from Meantime (1994)
HELMET – “Turned Out (live)”, from Meantime (1994)
HELMET – “FBLA II”, from Meantime (1992)
HELMET – “I Know”, from Betty (1994)
Check out John Stanier’s current project Battles (featuring an original member of Don Caballero)