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Helmet - Dead To The World album review

New York legends still veering off course

cover art for Helmet's Dead To The World

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.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.