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