Helmet CD review [Warcon]

Music Reviews
Helmet CD review [Warcon]
Nov 23, 2006, 18:25

HELMET Monochrome CD

Helmet's Monochrome is a perplexing album. There's certainly no denying the brutal beauty of Page Hamilton's guitar sound—it's as meaty and terse as ever. Nor is there anything lacking in terms of his tying that sonic ligature into inarguably comely knots.  Any given 20 seconds of Monochrome is an utter head banging delight. But when the next 20 seconds is a rote repeat of the first, and so on, punctuated only by a perfunctory, predictable bridge, chorus or whatever…the simplicity seems contrived, inauthentic, half-hearted—a miscalculated attempt to connect with a dunderhead audience.

These performances/songs are simply not especially memorable. There's not enough structural substance differentiating any one segment from any other resulting in an overall effect that's monotonous, tedious—a mile-long tapestry with minor variations of the same basic, cute design repeated ad infinitum. That's exacerbated by a lot of confoundingly weak vocals—it really does sound like Page is being strangled while he screams.  This could be a 13 year old whose voice is in the midst of changing trying to evoke Tom Araya in front of a bedroom mirror. EEEK!

The one notable exception is “Bury Me” which is a proper and quite excellent composition graced with a strong yet actually sung/not shouted vocal (with harmonies added and everything!)

I can only speculate that Page intentionally dumbed down on this—his return to indie status—wooing the contemporary metal audience. I say if “Bury Me” is the music that excites him (and it's the only one that any craft or care seems to have been expended on) he should pursue that and fuck his perceived fan base. Then again, doing just that worked quite well for old Josh Homme. [Warcon, 121 W. 27th Street #1001, NYC 10001]

-Howard W

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