Monday, 20 September 2010

CD Review: Meantime, by Helmet (1992)

Helmet may have been a band slightly ahead of its time. With more maturity, better song-writing help and stronger production values, Meantime could have contained a lot more killer and a lot less filler. As it is, Helmet are more of a footnote than true bridge-builders in metal's evolution.

On the New York quartet's second album, the band dabbles with a lightweight, gym-deprived version of the sound that would later be called metalcore.

And album opener, In The Meantime, almost gets it all together with enough enjoyable well-cooked beef to make a claim an an early classic of the genre.

Unfortunately, the early promise is never fulfilled. None of the other nine selections come close to matching the intensity and relative polish of the first track. The rest of Meantime is raw and under-produced to the point of drawing comparisons with garage bands definitely not ready for prime-time.

In the 1992 era when grunge ruled and alt-anything sounded cool, this was enough to get Helmet some attention. But today, the rickety drum sound of John Staniers kit and the strained, unpolished vocals of Page Hamilton waver between embarrassing and tiresome. The songs rarely find any memorable groove, and mainly leave an impression of a band trying hard but coming up short on both song-writing inspiration and professional delivery.


Henry Bogdan - Bass
John Stanier - Drums
Peter Mengede - Guitar
Page Hamilton - Guitar, Vocals

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. In The Meantime - 9
2. Ironhead - 7
3. Give It - 6
4. Unsung - 6
5. Turned Out - 5
6. He Feels Bad - 7
7. Better - 6
8. You Borrowed - 6
9. FBLA II - 6
10. Role Model - 7

Average: 6.50

Recorded by Wharton Tiers.
Produced by Helmet. Mixed by Andy Wallace. Mastered by Howie Weinberg.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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