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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 sensation Soundgarden. Hamilton recruited bassist Henry Bogdan from Oregon, along with Australian guitarist Peter Mengede and Florida drummer John Stanier for the group's first incarnation. Helmet's independent label debut EP, Strap It On, showcased the group's raw power -- both instrumentally and in Hamilton's growling vocals -- through tracks like the mocking "Sinatra" and rocking "Bad Mood." Signed to the Interscope label soon thereafter, the same lineup released its breakthrough 1992 CD, Meantime. MTV aired three videos by Helmet, then the only band close to the Seattle grunge sound on the East Coast, in "Give It," "In the Meantime," and the distorted, stop-and-start showcase "Unsung." Hamilton, Bogdan, and Stanier collaborated with Irish rap group House of Pain on "Just Another Victim" for the 1993 film Judgment Night, after Mengede left the band. The popular soundtrack (with its unorthodox mix of rappers and alternative bands like Ice-T and Slayer, Sir Mix-a-Lot and Mudhoney) created even more of a demand for Helmet's next CD. Replacing Mengede with guitarist Rob Echeverria on 1994's Betty, Hamilton crafted an album even more versatile -- and at times even heavier -- than Meantime. The song "Milquetoast" appeared on the soundtrack to the hit film The Crow; Stanier's unrelenting drumming drove tracks like "I Know," and Hamilton's jazz background showed on the cover of Dizzy Gillespie's "Beautiful Love." Yet Betty proved to be a critical success but a commercial failure, its versatility relegating it to the cutout bins. Echeverria left Helmet in the mid-'90s to join Biohazard, and the band bought time to refocus by releasing the Born Annoying collection of B-sides in 1995. Hamilton played all the guitar parts for 1997's Aftertaste -- but his vocals sounded like his heart just wasn't in a group in which he couldn't keep a rhythm guitarist, and the album proved a disappointment. After touring with Orange 9mm's Chris Traynor on guitar and much deliberation, Helmet disbanded in 1999. But the Helmet influence was heard throughout rock, whether by Hamilton's involvement with industrial groups (Nine Inch Nails) or indirectly through metal acts (System of a Down), and even the atonal distortion of rap-rock hybrids such as Korn and Limp Bizkit. Helmet returned in 2004 when Hamilton recruited Traynor and a new rhythm section consisting of drummer John Tempesta (Rob Zombie, Testament) and bassist Frank Bello (Anthrax); signed to Interscope, the group released Size Matters in October of that year. The lineup would change with following albums as well. Drummer Mike Jost and bassist Jeremy Chatelain joined Hamilton and Traynor for 2006’s Monochrome, released on Warcon/Fontana, and guitarist Dan Beeman and drummer Kyle Stevenson rotated in for 2010’s Seeing Eye Dog. After a six-year silence, Helmet reemerged in late 2016 with their eighth album, Dead to the World (earMusic). Produced by Hamilton, it was the first release to feature new bassist Dave Case. ~ Bill Meredith
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Stations Featuring

    '90s Alternative

    '90s Alternative
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Albums by

Top Songs by

  1.   Song
  2.   Unsung
  3.   In the Meantime
  4.   Wilma's Rainbow
  5.   Sinatra
  6.   Give It
  7.   Biscuits for Smut
  8.   Rollo
  9.   Milquetoast
  10.   I Love My Guru
  11.   410
  12.   Pure
  13.   She's Lost
  14.   You Borrowed
  15.   He Feels Bad
  16.   Swallowing Everything
  17.   See You Dead
  18.   Repetition
  19.   Just Another Victim by House of Pain
  20.   Seeing Eye Dog
  21.   Money Shot
  22.   Smart
  23.   Last Breath
  24.   Throwing Punches
  25.   Beautiful Love
  26.   Vaccination
  27.   I Know
  28.   Blacktop
  29.   Army of Me
  30.   Role Model
  31.   Better
  32.   Iron Head
  33.   (High) Visibility
  34.   It's Easy to Get Bored
  35.   Driving Nowhere
  36.   Rude
  37.   Impressionable
  38.   Unwound
  39.   Speechless
  40.   FBLA
  41.   Life or Death (Slow)
  42.   White City
  43.   Welcome to Algiers
  44.   Morphing
  45.   Miserable
  46.   In Person
  47.   And Your Bird Can Sing
  48.   Gone
  49.   On Your Way Down
  50.   Monochrome
  51.   Crashing Foreign Cars
  52.   Speak and Spell
  53.   Surgery
  54.   Overrated
  55.   Clean
  56.   Make Room
  57.   Turned Out
  58.   Symptom of the Universe
  59.   Insatiable
  60.   Exactly What You Wanted
  61.   Tic
  62.   Sam Hell
  63.   Primitive
  64.   No Nicky No
  65.   Geisha to Go
  66.   Rumble
  67.   Born Annoying
  68.   Distracted
  69.   Bad Mood
  70.   LA Water
  71.   Bury Me
  72.   Shirley MacLaine
  73.   Diet Aftertaste
  74.   Renovation
  75.   Taken
  76.   So Long
  77.   Brand New
  78.   Everybody Loves You
  79.   Enemies
  80.   The Silver Hawaiian
  81.   Disagreeable
  82.   Street Crab
  83.   Crisis King
  84.   Harmless
  85.   Broadcast Emotion
  86.   Birth Defect
  87.   Your Head
  88.   Drunk in the Afternoon
  89.   Die Alone
  90.   Oven
  91.   Expect the World
  92.   Almost Out of Sight
  93.   Drug Lord
  94.   Murder
  95.   Like I Care
  96.   Red Scare
  97.   Look Alive
  98.   Bad News
  99.   Howl
  100.   Goodbye
  101.   Dead to the World
  102.   Green Shirt