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Helmet

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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
Helmet

    '90s Alternative

    '90s Alternative
    1 song

Albums by
Helmet

Top Songs by
Helmet

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Unsung
  3.   Wilma's Rainbow
  4.   In the Meantime
  5.   Biscuits for Smut
  6.   Give It
  7.   Rollo
  8.   Milquetoast
  9.   Miserable
  10.   Exactly What You Wanted
  11.   Milktoast
  12.   Brand New
  13.   Smart
  14.   Speechless
  15.   Army of Me
  16.   Symptom of the Universe
  17.   You Borrowed
  18.   White City
  19.   She's Lost
  20.   In Person
  21.   Flushings
  22.   [Untitled Track]
  23.   410
  24.   Role Model
  25.   Iron Head
  26.   Just Another Victim by House of Pain
  27.   [Untitled Track]
  28.   Gone
  29.   Swallowing Everything
  30.   Diet Afteraste
  31.   Overrated
  32.   Beautiful Love
  33.   Better
  34.   He Feels Bad
  35.   (High) Visibility
  36.   Broadcast Emotion
  37.   Like I Care
  38.   Pure
  39.   Rumble
  40.   FBLA II
  41.   Thick
  42.   Howl
  43.   Money Shot
  44.   See You Dead
  45.   Crashing Foreign Cars
  46.   Throwing Punches
  47.   Renovation
  48.   Impressionable
  49.   FBLA
  50.   Live in San Francisco 2006
  51.   Shirley McLaine
  52.   Welcome to Algiers
  53.   So Long
  54.   Goodbye
  55.   Almost Out of Sight
  56.   On Your Way Down
  57.   Monochrome
  58.   Enemies
  59.   Speak and Spell
  60.   Surgery
  61.   I Know
  62.   Repetition
  63.   Turned Out
  64.   Street Crab
  65.   It's Easy to Get Bored
  66.   Tic
  67.   Sam Hell
  68.   Your Head
  69.   Shirley MacLaine
  70.   Born Annoying
  71.   Sinatra
  72.   Rude
  73.   Distracted
  74.   Bad Mood
  75.   Taken
  76.   Seeing Eye Dog
  77.   Morphing
  78.   Pariah
  79.   Everybody Loves You
  80.   Unwound
  81.   Last Breath
  82.   The Silver Hawaiian
  83.   Disagreeable
  84.   Crisis King
  85.   Insatiable
  86.   Harmless
  87.   Diet Aftertaste
  88.   Birth Defect
  89.   Primitive