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Album Review

In 1991, Interscope won a ferocious multi-label bidding war (which according to firsthand accounts, pitted an estimated 18 to 22 different labels against each other) and signed Helmet for a reported cool one-million-plus dollars. Under the watchful eye of the record biz, and on the heels of Nirvana's huge commercial breakthrough, Helmet were curiously touted as the next big thing. Unsurprisingly, expectations would never be fully realized. Arguably one of the most influential and overlooked rock records of the '90s, Meantime threw the rule book out the window. Led by the classically trained Page Hamilton, Helmet's bludgeoning riffs combined with their stop-go-stop-go minimalist attack changed the face of aggro-rock. Its importance cannot be overstated. From the Steve Albini-produced title track through "Role Model," the band is relentless. On "Give It," Hamilton spews "killing hurts/has to be done/peace and love/who's number one," and later "the right to give/learn to bleed/it's free/pain is outside/lift it up to see." As the hypnotic riff and John Stanier's piccolo snare echo throughout, the band thrashes through the song like a ten-ton hammer. Again, every song is colored by Teutonic riffs, with only "Unsung" hinting at a gasp of commercial accessibility.

Customer Reviews

Where it all began...

This is where it all began, and that's all you need to know. It's the pinnacle of metal/industrial/sk8r/thrash. 90% of today's heavy music owes a great deal of debt to this groudbreaking masterpiece. The name of the band just happens to also be the required headgear when listening to this work. If your head and/or feet aren't moving while listening to this album, then calling 911 won't help you; you're already dead.

This is Helmet.

All hard rock and metal that you listen to know..these guys are the pioneers of that sound. This album has influenced alot of the major bands out today. There is a reason for that. This is one the best albums I have ever had the pleasure of having in my collection. I don't say that about alot of bands..I have been a huge Helmet fan and have been listening to them for over 11 years..They remain one of my all time favorite groups. This album will not let you down. In my opinion..this album along with Strap it On and Born Annoying are the best I have heard..Betty is good..Aftertaste is decent..but the early stuff is truly the Helmet I will always remember. Size Matters and Monocrome I will not even comment on..I will leave it at that..

Still Amazing

One of the top 5 albums I have ever heard. I bought it the day 'Unsung' hit MTV, and no lie, I must have listened to the entire album over 1000 times (seriously). Almost 15 years later, it still sounds as fresh as ever, and sounds better than any of the trash they call 'Nu-Metal' that is out now. Buy 'Betty' and well, its great as well.


Formed: 1989 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Like many influential bands, Helmet were born out of an unusual set of influences. Oregon-born guitarist and founder Page Hamilton had actually moved to New York City to study jazz, but found inspiration in the late '80s through post-punk acts Sonic Youth, Killing Joke, and Big Black, and envisioned a group that combined then-unusual tunings (particularly dropped D) with uneven and jazz-like time signatures and harmonies. The result was Helmet, the East Coast's answer to Seattle's then-underground...
Full Bio