Post new topic
Reply to topic
« View next topic »
Author Message
Hatross Overlord

Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 2465

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 12:15 am    Post subject: HELMET – SIZE MATTERS Reply with quote


I adored Helmet. 1992’s ‘Meantime’ album changed the way I looked at alternative music – there were bands out there that could be just as heavy as Entombed et all. When Helmet split after 1997’s ‘Aftertaste’ I was quite upset. Hard to believe that was nearly 8 years ago. So when I heard that Page Hamiliton, vocalist/guitarist/main man was getting Helmet back together, though not with the original members to record a new album, I was chuffed. This was something to look forward to.
However, it’s amazing what can transpire in 8 years. And listening to ‘Size Matters’, I had an epiphany – something hit me like a ton of bricks. Get this; Helmet is responsible for the abomination that is nu-metal. Let me explain. In 1994 Helmet released an album called ‘Betty’, and while not as in-your-face as ‘Meantime’ it was catchy and heavy without being metal. 1997’s ‘Aftertaste’ was the next step, the sound not as heavy but still memorable, each album progressively more polished than the last, solos free, less screaming more singing, yet still respected by those who knew of them. And then they split.
Couple of years later nu-metal took the mall-kids by storm, the corporate sound of groove-orientated rock complete with designer wear and approved for the masses. The kids lapped it up, but ‘true’ metal heads rightly rejected it straight out. These days nu-metal seems to be on the descending slope as kids discover Slayer through Slipknot and the world beyond.
So I have the new Helmet CD in my hands and I rush home to play it. It pounds off to a promising start with first track ‘Smart’ – that familiar Helmet guitar sound rumbling with a huge riff that Hamiliton is renowned for. Its ever-so produced, which means it’s the natural follow-up to 97’s ‘Aftertaste’, and not a back-to-basics. Second track things speed up, as ‘Crashing Foreign Cars’ bops along, and I’m thinking that though it’s no ‘Meantime’ it doesn’t sound too bad at all.
Then things start to go wrong, horribly wrong. The big, riffarama songs leave the stage and these cringe-worthy ...efforts take their place, Hamiliton almost whining rather than singing, and the songs reflect this. Where before Helmet’s tunes were gigantic affairs with thumping riffs, the remaining 9 on ‘Size Matters’ have no substance, no balls. It’s as if it almost sounds … nu-metal. When you hear the awful ‘Drug Lord’, the truly terrible ‘Enemies’, the droning ‘Speak and Spell’ or the sing-along embarrassing ‘Surgery’, my God, how the mighty have fallen.
So what went wrong? Is it the sparkling production, or the lackluster songs? The lack of original band members to give credible input into the songwriting department? Perhaps all this and more. I don’t know who this is going to appeal to. Metal fans will certainly not like it, nu-metal kiddies may be impressed, but I doubt ex-Helmet patriots, with the exception of the first two tracks, will find anything to get excited about here. If you are nu to Helmet, I thoroughly recommend you pick up ‘Meantime’ and get blown away with a classic heavy album that ‘Size Matter’s isn’t fit to lick its boots.

Crying or Very sad


Last edited by Bacteria13 on Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:06 pm; edited 2 times in total
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Back to top
Who'sGOD Who'sDOG?

Joined: 04 Feb 2000
Posts: 5197
Location: South of Voivodland

PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NYC's Helmet started life as a dowtown noise outfit featuring masters-in-jazz-guitar Page Halmilton, who once was a member of composer Glen Branca's various ensembles, along other noise-guitar luminaires such as Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth.

Helmet's first album, a noisy and raw affair called "Strap it on" was released in Amphetamine / Reptile records.
Shockingly, the band signed a two million dollar multi-record contract with Interscope and released the groundbreaking "Mean Time" which was followed by plenty of promotion and hype.
Unfortunately, following some personnel changes, Helmet ran out of steam, putting out two mediocre follow-up albums, "Betty" and "Aftertaste" which tried in vain to expand the band's audience and alienated most of their fans.

After failing to get a major label recording contract for his project band Gandhi, Page decided to take some of those demo songs and re-record them with new band members and call the whole thing "Helmet" so he could get signed to Interscope.
The "new" album is called "Size Matters".

The album starts with the promising opener "Smart" followed by "Crashing Foreign Cars" sounding just like Mean-Time-era Helmet, complete with staccato guitar attacks and pounding drums.
The outstanding third track was lyrically inspired by the Beatles love-gone-bad ode "Run for Your Life"

Well I'd rather see you dead, little girl
than to be with another man

This is as good as Helmet gets.
Then, the album openers are slowly replaced by the melodic and uninspired crap that filled "Betty" and "Aftertaste"

Considering how remarkable comeback albums usually are (From Sabbath' "Heaven and Hell" to Fear Factory's "Archetype" and Maiden's "Brave New World") "Size Matters" is a fairly dissapointing album with a few good songs and lots of filler.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Back to top
Page 1 of 1 Display posts from previous: Forum Index » Album Reviews » HELMET – SIZE MATTERS
Post new topic
Reply to topic
» All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Jump to:  

Powered by phpBB v.666. © 2001-2004 phpBB Group