The early 90s was the best time for extreme bands to be signed to major labels, with the likes of Sonic Youth, Ministry, Pantera and dozens more snapped up on the back of the success of Nirvana’s Nevermind.
Another band who got caught in the arms race were Helmet, who managed a major label contract on the back of early releases of post-hardcore, noise-rock and wailing free jazz solos.
1992’s Meantime was a defining album of the era, with down-tuned gut-punch riffs, superhuman drumming from a pre-Battles John Stanier and Page Hamilton’s detached, abstract vocals. 1994’s Betty indulged trained jazz guitarist Hamilton’s leftfield tendencies while still rooted to colossal riffs, while the band split in 1998 after the lacklustre alt-metal album Aftertaste.
Hamilton resurrected Helmet in 2004, aiming for the classic Meantime sound on following albums, through a gradually changing line-up.
They’ve already gone on a Meantime and Betty tour in recent years but this one is billed as the 30th anniversary tour: “30 years. 30 cities. 30 song set. No openers”. Expect only the strongest material from the later albums, along with some hall of fame records like ‘Unsung’, ‘In the Meantime’ and ‘Wilma’s Rainbow’.
- Helmet play Dublin’s Button Factory tonight (Monday)