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