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