Alternate metal band Helmet debuted in 1990 with Strap it On, their debut album on the noise rock label Amphetamine Reptile Records, which also released the Melvins and the Jesus Lizard. Despite Helmet’s debut album’s tendency toward the louder side of things, there were significant traces of the then-up and coming grunge scene hidden beneath post-hardcore attitudes and enormous staccato riffs in the album’s debut. What is the significance of this? Grindcore had become a hot commodity in music by 1991, when major labels were scrambling to sign anyone even remotely linked with the genre.
A major agreement with Interscope Records, which fronted Helmet $1 million for the recording of their second album, somehow snagged them. My favorite metal album from the 1990s was Meantime, released in 1992 after a record deal with Nuclear Blast. Helmet’s breakthrough album, which debuted at No. 68 on the Billboard album list, was their most popular to date.
Love alt-metal, see our full write up on Masters of Alt-Metal Faith No More.
This is Helmet’s only album to be certified gold in the US, with over two million copies sold to date. With this record as a springboard, the band was able to land several credits on film soundtracks over the rest of their career (like The Crow, Johnny Mnemonic and The Jerky Boys).
As a result of its success, Helmet’s most recent album, Meantime, is their most popular to date. Meantime is the band’s sole Gold record to date, despite the fact that they’ve never been afraid to try new things or actively sought stardom, despite their raw musical success and their commitment to experimentation. It even ranked first on the 1992 Heatseekers Chart and peaked at number 68 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart. There are many who consider this album to be an important step in their journey through the murky waters of heavy music. I consider it to be one of the most significant albums in my lifelong love of heavy music.
No matter what kind of rock you prefer, you should acquire this album. Most of the riffs become stuck in your mind because of the songs’ strong musicianship. Even though they sound like they’re just producing noise, Hamiliton and Mendege are actually quite technical. After listening to the tunes, you’ll be able to pick up on the subtleties in their playing. Guitar feedback is a thing of the past thanks to Hamilton. For a long time, this CD has been one of my favorites. Although it has greater skill and originality, it is not as radio friendly as the Chevelle.
In order to give you a sense of how they sound, I’ve made a generalization.
Godsmack, Neurosis, and System of a Down share a similar sound. Despite the fact that most people have never heard of them, this band was one of the best and most influential of the 1990s. It’s a common misconception that the band Helmet started the Nu-Metal movement, but that’s just not the case. Using other than 4/4 time signatures for solos and noise bursts in songs is evidence that this is the case. Hamilton’s lyrics are generally sardonic and funny, unlike his Nu-Metal peers. They’ve got a slew of mediocre copycats. Begin by listening to this album to get a feel for them.