Helmet were one of the best and most innovative bands of the 90s, but since their return it’s fair to say those heights haven’t been scaled again – and Dead To The World is another disappointing effort from a band capable of so much more.
It’s frustrating because mainman Page Hamilton can still find unique and unusual, Beatles-esque melodies from a stark musical backdrop, and when they slow it down on the doomy, dissonant Look Alive you get glimpses of why Helmet are so revered. But it’s only during Die Alone that you can hear the tightly coiled, mechanical riffs and venomous lyrics spat through gritted teeth that could compare to the classic sound of Helmet. The rest is half-paced and pedestrian, with the nadir coming in the form of the excruciatingly jaunty Green Shirt. Quite what prompted the band to go for an almost pop-punk direction is hard to fathom, but it doesn’t work. If you’re new to Helmet, they’re great, but you should start elsewhere.