Last year, we told you about the return of power-grunge quartet Helmet's new uncompromising album, "Seeing Eye Dog", as well as the band's rightful place in American rock and hardcore history. Hell, they even got lapped up by the grungers and the stoners, back in those heady days of the early '90s. By repeating the same remit they had with their 1990 debut album, "Strap it On", this seventh album proved to be an album without overdubs or studio trickery and essentially self-financed and released.
In 1992 however, they had some record-company money behind them, courtesy of Interscope, a then-fledgling metal and rock imprint under the watchful wing of Atlantic Records. They might well have wondered what hit them.
Helmet's inaugural recorded work for the label was "Meantime", a distinctly unusual and far-reaching set of songs that wasn't just about pummeling the hell out of listener's eardrums like other bands associated with grunge (gah), but instead incorporated off-kilter time-signatures, jazzy riffs and anti-harmonies that have since proven to be rather timeless. The single, "Unsung", "Ironhead" and the title track are good noisy starting points for further investigation. If you dig Rollins or Pantera's sense of threat, you'll wish you'd had some Helmet in your life a bit earlier.
So then, if you only see Helmet perform once in your life, this might be the time to do it (until they tour the excellent 1994 follow-up "Betty", that is). Their 2012 20th anniversary tour will take in most of Northern Europe, before hitting the UK in April, starting with London's Electric Ballroom on the 2nd, followed by shows in Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol, Birmingham and Reading. Tickets for all nights except Birmingham (on sale now), will go on sale this coming Monday (5th Dec). Prices start at £15 (£18.50 for London).