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