Helmet – Monochrome

Helmet – Monochrome / 2007 Warcon / 11 Tracks / http://www.helmetmusic.com / http://www.warconrecords.com

Helmet was a hard rock act that I never really got into in all of my years listening to music. Well, I received “Monochrome” a few weeks ago and I really was blown away. “Swallowing Everything” is the first track on the disc, and the first thing individuals can hear is the distinctive guitar work present. The guitars first start working in a grunge type of sound, but move at points towards a newer, more metal-influenced style. The vocals are sarcastic and spat out, with the nearest comparison I can make coming from Green Jello/y. “Swallowing Everything” should be a single, but I’ve not heard it on any station; the brutal sound of Helmet puts other bands currently in existence to shame.

Even though there is a lot of distortion on the guitars on “Brand New”, this sound works for Helmet as the band actually has enough talent to use this distortion to their advantage. The guitars provide simple enough arrangements that the distortion does not spiral out of control. As a thanks, the distortion is able to rend and flay anyone foolish enough to get in front of the track. The vocals take a back seat during “Brand New”, but this is okay considering the narrative quality of the instrumentation on that track. Helmet does with “Monochrome” what all new and hard rock bands should be trying to do: create a number of tracks that work within the same constraints but never seem trite or boring.

The guitars on “Bury Me” have similar approaches to those taken in both “Brand New” and “Swallowing Everything”, but there is enough in the way of variation to keep individuals happy and listeners following along. The band has been around for around 20 years, and it is surprising to see that they still have the ability that they once did and the desire to continue creating vital and vibrant tracks, instead of just rehashing earlier albums or going the “cover album” route. I know that I will be listening to Helmet in the years to come, and that I will search out their albums whenever I have a little bit of extra cash. If you want to hear what new rock / metal should sound like in the present day, pick up a copy of “Monochrome”. I guarantee you will fall in love with the solid guitars, catchy vocals, and visceral crunch present on the album.

Top Tracks: Monochrome, Howl

Rating: 7.8/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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