Saturday, 27 November 2010

Helmet - Seeing Eye Dog (2010)

Whenever I get bored now I'm just gonna stick an album on and write about it. Not arsed if no one reads it, but maybe I'll get better, maybe i'll rediscover decent albums or whatever. Submitted the Endless Boogie one to a Zine, the guy emailed be back straight away and it should be up within a month.

Metal? Hardcore? Post-Hardcore? Grunge? Helmet.

This band isn't so much a band anymore, but more of a brainchild of singer/guitarist Paige Hamilton. Helmet has gone through such immense line up changes over the past twenty years, and has featured former and future members of such a vast array of artists; from noise-dance group Battles, to thrash beasts Anthrax to indie pop rockers Jets To Brazil. After having a break from the studio for 4 years Helmet are back with another effort titled Seeing Eye Dog.

Rather wet album artwork if you ask me, but anyway...

As the album kicks off I see some of the same elements used in their early recordings, particularly their debut Strap It On. Not so much the odd time signatures, but the recognizable detached drop D chugging and their more distorted riffs. I wouldn't say these riffs are few and far between, but maybe swallowed up and over-saturated by more melodic and calmer rhythms. The second song, Seeing Eye Dog takes me back to the slower chuggy parts of the debut album and I really like that. It doesn't stay like this however, we see yet more variety in styles been used as the album goes on. Track 3 and 4 are what I would regard as [almost] radio friendly and as I mentioned earlier softer and more melodic. Like most of Helmet's mid-era releases, Seeing Eye Dog doesn't really know what it's trying to sound like, this might not be a bad thing though, still countains the elements of a good rock album. Other than the odd stand out drum fill, I find myself only impressed by the 6 string side of things, but the drummer and bassist are still fully capable of holding a rhythm.

Track 6, Morphing, brings us 3:18 of pointless drone and noise which doesn't sit right with the rest of the album, followed by a grungey sounding "White City" that shows us Paige can still sing, and just as it's about to get boring we're greeted with a short but sweet chaotic solo which fits in nicely. Personal highlight on the album for me is the almost-sludgy ending that is 'She's Lost'. This is the longest track on the album, showing rather impressive guitar work and this time, good use drone and fuzz to bring us into the songs second guitar solo. Good effort.

If you're looking for another Strap It On like I was, then sadly you're not going to find it here. If you're looking for [mainly] good song writing, well constructed rock music with easy on-the-ear vocals then this may be your album.

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