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Helmet

Like many influential bands, Helmet were born out of an unusual set of influences. Oregon-born guitarist and founder Page Hamilton had actually moved to New York City to study jazz, but found inspiration in the late '80s through post-punk acts Sonic Youth, Killing Joke, and Big Black, and envisioned a group that combined then-unusual tunings (particularly dropped D) with uneven and jazz-like time signatures and harmonies. The result was Helmet, the East Coast's answer to Seattle's then-underground sensation Soundgarden. Hamilton recruited bassist Henry Bogdan from Oregon, along with Australian guitarist Peter Mengede and Florida drummer John Stanier for the group's first incarnation. Helmet's independent label debut EP, Strap It On, showcased the group's raw power -- both instrumentally and in Hamilton's growling vocals -- through tracks like the mocking "Sinatra" and rocking "Bad Mood."

Signed to the Interscope label soon thereafter, the same lineup released its breakthrough 1992 CD, Meantime. MTV aired three videos by Helmet, then the only band close to the Seattle grunge sound on the East Coast, in "Give It," "In the Meantime," and the distorted, stop-and-start showcase "Unsung." Hamilton, Bogdan, and Stanier collaborated with Irish rap group House of Pain on "Just Another Victim" for the 1993 film Judgment Night, after Mengede left the band. The popular soundtrack (with its unorthodox mix of rappers and alternative bands like Ice-T and Slayer, Sir Mix-a-Lot and Mudhoney) created even more of a demand for Helmet's next CD. Replacing Mengede with guitarist Rob Echeverria on 1994's Betty, Hamilton crafted an album even more versatile -- and at times even heavier -- than Meantime. The song "Milquetoast" appeared on the soundtrack to the hit film The Crow; Stanier's unrelenting drumming drove tracks like "I Know," and Hamilton's jazz background showed on the cover of Dizzy Gillespie's "Beautiful Love." Yet Betty proved to be a critical success but a commercial failure, its versatility relegating it to the cutout bins.

Echeverria left Helmet in the mid-'90s to join Biohazard, and the band bought time to refocus by releasing the Born Annoying collection of B-sides in 1995. Hamilton played all the guitar parts for 1997's Aftertaste -- but his vocals sounded like his heart just wasn't in a group in which he couldn't keep a rhythm guitarist, and the album proved a disappointment. After touring with Orange 9mm's Chris Traynor on guitar and much deliberation, Helmet disbanded in 1999. But the Helmet influence was heard throughout rock, whether by Hamilton's involvement with industrial groups (Nine Inch Nails) or indirectly through metal acts (System of a Down), and even the atonal distortion of rap-rock hybrids such as Korn and Limp Bizkit.

Helmet returned in 2004 when Hamilton recruited Traynor and a new rhythm section consisting of drummer John Tempesta (Rob Zombie, Testament) and bassist Frank Bello (Anthrax); signed to Interscope, the group released Size Matters in October of that year. The lineup would change with following albums as well. Drummer Mike Jost and bassist Jeremy Chatelain joined Hamilton and Traynor for 2006’s Monochrome, released on Warcon/Fontana, and guitarist Dan Beeman and drummer Kyle Stevenson rotated in for 2010’s Seeing Eye Dog. ~ Bill Meredith, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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One, 1, uno, of the best records of all time.
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alabastervil l i s 0
was never a fan of helmet but i wouldnt call them grunge. i just recall they got paid a butt load of money in their record deal
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Sweet tunes are made of these.. Phuckin grrreat.
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Helmet is solid. I like the trash can lid sound of dudes snare.
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They had their time popularity wise. Very good singer very good music .its just that everyone moves on from bands when they arent in the tabloid headlines or consistent quality wise. They just werent in demand past their prime. If the original lineup started touring again though....i think theyd do well. I know they have really good songs and are hard rocking metal influenced guys. Look people just need to freakin understand music. Half the people that comment just argue and dont really bring r
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Huge influence on many bands
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Not a single mention of the Melvins as an influence. Ridiculous bio.
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Robert mills, your spot on, my kids are the same, great era to grow up in when music means something and not just repetitive crap that we hear now. Long live the prong, helmet, Alice, tool, sound garden, white zombie etc....
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Seen on their first 3 tours. Very impressive live. Bands like Helmet make me appreciate and miss being in my twenties in the 90's. One of my all time bands.
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Ditto all the comments about Tin Cans & Strings. WTF Pandora? We love you, but damn.
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Ah.... Back when metal was new and i realized how much i liked fighting. Top 10 all time easy
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found this album for 2 $ in 92 I think i got a good deal
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"Junk Dealer" not drug dealer...
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Just seen them in Portland!
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Absolutely loved Helmet from my first taste of "UNSUNG".... k i l l e d it live. Best 'seattle-boo m - e r a ' , antigrunge metal sound. Eastcoast to boot.....F** K YEAH!
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Richest drug dealer???wtf umm richest drug dealer mother f**ker!
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Long live the kings of Grindcore Jazz-Industr i a l Grunge-Metal !
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Long live the kings of Jazz-Industr i a l Grunge-Metal !
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you guys are all full of it. Helmet is industrial. Milktoast on the Crow soundtrack proves it!
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you guys are all full of it. Helmet is industrial. Milktoast on the Crow soundtrack proves it!


Long live the kings of Jazz-Industr i a l Grunge-Metal
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Saw these cats at a tiny venue in Vegas.. the huntridge... they destroyed that place.. 1 of the most underrated bands of all time
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Strap it on! HELMET!!!
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This song was ahead its time, still fresh. Mike Patton should of had a baby with Dave G-Man and married Helmet, you would have something like Helmet crossbreedin g with The Melvins and Foo Fighters on speed hanging out with Eagles of Death Metal grilling with Faith No More
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MY HELMET RUNS DEEP!! GREAT BAND!!
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No mention of John Stanier going on to play in Tomohawk with Kevin Rutmanis (Cows) and Mike Patton (FNM) Duane Dennison (The Jesus Lizard) - F8%king Incredible band, needless to say with that line-up. John was/is one of the greatest drummers to come out of the 90's NY scene. And one of the sweetest guys you'd ever meet. So there.
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Sold their souls for Meantime...g o o d trade
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Meantime...t o p 100 all time albums...sta n d s the test of time
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Hey Jade, I'm pretty sure Frank is in Anthrax again.
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Good for Frank! Helmet is a huge step up from Anthrax. Sorry, but it's true.
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Definitely metal. I love this sound, dark and dirty!
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I don't know why some people say Helmet aint metal, in their early years they were pure fist-in-ur-f a c e fun. I saw them with Sepultura, when the show started, there were 3 pits, at the end it turned into one whole pit encompassing the entire floor. Good times...good times.
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What the hell happened to Helmet? Meantime and Betty were brilliant!
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excellent live seen them twice in early 90's.killer show.
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I've put my helmet in some nasty places
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They named their band after the tip of my penis..I'm flattered ...thanks guys u shouldn't have.. my helmet is pinkish which is weird cuz I'm black as coal
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It also makes me think of eyebrows
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This song reminds me of the 1st time I penetrated a anus
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nicko252008
Foo Fighters bit off them BIG TIME!!
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92' the greatest summer of my life! Meantime, TOOL Opiate,Faith no More Angel Dust,Beastie Boys Check ur Head,Rollins End of Silence,Whit e Zombie La Sexorcisto, were all released within a few months of each other and were in heavy rotation during long days @ the beach & long nights by the fire. Great friends & unforgettabl e times and not a care in the world except to have fun
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We had all just lived through hair metal so helmet was a huge breath of fresh air & they weren't from Seattle ...I guess u had to be there...also no helmet...no korn,no SOAD& no deftones
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In 91-92 helmet was awe inspiring ... believe it
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anybody that says helmet wasn't metal has a very narrow view of the genre. that said, they never gave me the grunge vibe, but i guess they get lumped in because they were popular during grunge's heyday. but, it's telling when you look at similar artists and think none of them are similar. means helmet cut their own niche out. and they did it friggin well.
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hate the term grunge its what people who weren't into punk before nirvana want to call it anyway helmet rocks
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robertmills_ h o u s t o n 1
Been following them for years. I am 45 now. My kids think I am crazy for listening to such crappy music. I have to explain to them the depth of the music. Every thing they listen to sound exactly like the previous song. I guess they just don't understand how the music has influenced many of us that are leaving post here. Hell, even my wife shakes her head at the music I grew up with. Helmet, tool,sound garden, Primus( or anything les clay pool) Alice, prong, black flag, sonic youth, etc etc. w
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ebonycarter2 1
Helmet is the real deal! Bands today copy but these guys have been putting it down for years. Brings back good Highschool memories..
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Im glad i woulnt recognize an ashanti record cover! Helmets been rockin for 20+ years...man im gettin old. Meantime is my personal favorite but betty and strap it on are both great too. After that they dropped off imo.
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People have to realize that they were stars in the 90's for a grunge/Metal mix. Most people should realize that in their day, they were good. I don't like them personally but Maybe people who like grunge or the first stages of metal music would.
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I'm surprised at the negative comments. Helmets production work was extraordinar y for the time. I understand if someone genuinely doesn't like a piece of music, but it sounds like the lot of you are those metalheads who argue about genres and only listen to a handful of bands because if its not "Siberian black sludge polka" then it must be crap
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@ metalface! This band was around before a lot of what is considered metal today. DIPS**T
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Wait so people actually think this is metal LOL okay
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