This is the eighth album from New York’s Helmet. Formed in 1989 they’ve been a massive influence, in one way or another, across a diverse spectrum of alternative bands for more than two decades. However, ‘Dead To The World’ fails to live up to that legacy.
There are few bands you can identify within a bar or two simply from the guitar sound, style of riff and snare drum. Helmet are one of those bands. Five seconds into ‘Life Or Death’, you know who it is and where you are. There’s no fancy intro. Straight into a bludgeoning discordant three-minutes of 90’s post-hardcore. ‘I ♥ My Guru’ shows off their much celebrated, hard-hitting alternative-rock side, then we come to the single ‘Bad News’ and a pattern has emerged; Helmet have slowed down and founding member Page Hamilton is now singing instead of delivering his missives with his usual shouty-snarl.
Coming to the rather tepid title track ‘Dead To The World’, it’s clear the spark has gone and some of the magic behind Helmet’s winning formula has been lost. Unfortunately, things don’t improve as the album goes on. They fail to pick up the pace and don’t deliver. ‘Green Shirt’ comes across like a poor Libertines song, ‘Expect The World’ is a very slow burner, ‘Die Alone’ has a rock-metal groove but it’s just not on point, and ‘Look Alive’ might as well be Faith No More.
Having waited six years for a new Helmet album to drop, ‘Dead To The World’ is incredibly underwhelming. Of course you can’t expect bands to keep producing the same album over and over again and Page Hamilton is approaching his sixties, so a change of stance and vocal delivery is to be expected. Unfortunately though, this album is a departure and doesn’t live up to expectations. Helmet have a lot of achievements under their belts and are bound to release at least one other album after this, so, maybe we can let this one be a glitch in an otherwise faultless repetoire.
‘Dead To The World’ by Helmet is released on October 28th on earMusic.
Helmet links: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Words by Tom Drakett (@tomdrakett)