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A lot of people regard this as Helmet’s best album and they have a good point. This album is much easier to get into than their previous one and thus I find it much more enjoyable. All of the songs featured are at worst decent while most are very good.
In The Meantime is a good opening track and has a nice main riff. Ironhead is where the album really gets going. That main riff always gets my head moving whenever I hear it! It’s definitely one of my favourite songs on this album. I also notice the quality of the production improves quite a bit from In The Meantime which sounds strangely muted in comparison. This is due to that particular song being recorded at a different studio by a different producer. It’s not terribly distracting but I thought it would be worth mentioning.
The other song I really like is Turned Out which is one of my favourite Helmet songs. This is one of the most energetic songs on here with heavy riffs that never fail to give my neck muscles a good workout! It also features one of my favourite guitar solos on the album. The pause right before the end of the song is also a nice touch.
FBLA II is the sequel to the previous album’s FBLA and it rocks just as hard as the original. Only this time it has much better production and has another great guitar solo. Unsung was the main single from the album and actually became a minor radio hit. I don’t like it as much as most of the other songs on here although I do like the frenzied drumming at the end. Give It has a memorable bass intro and Page Hamilton actually tries to sing for a change. He’s not very good at it but it fits the music surprisingly well.
I really do think this was one of the most underrated bands of the 1990’s. Even today, they still don’t get the recognition they deserve. This, along with the next album, is one of the 1990’s most overlooked albums.
Of all the albums released by Helmet, this is easily their most metallic and unrelenting musically in its stark and straightahead manner. And it was one of the few "alternative" albums I really liked back in those days since it had catchy and strong riffs and attitude to spare as well as being well-produced and just plain mean in delivery.
Most of the alternative type bands back then mocked and ignored metal (even though many of them were shitty attempts at metal--but with no solos because they couldn't play them, so this was why they poked fun, out of jealousy), but Helmet embraced it full-on, adding free jazz style overtones and influences as well as gloriously noisy and chaotic (not to mention lengthy) solos worthy of Messrs. King and Hannemann in their prime. And the ringing, metallic snare drum sound only adds a more industrial edge to the wall of sound Helmet unleashed on this album.
The deliberate feel Helmet had on much of their material also influenced a whole new generation of "hardcore" bands who felt this was a new way to be heavy but not be metal. The surging feel that they had was like unto a tank moving over the bodies of its enemies, and from the wild and head-turning intro of "In The Meantime" to the ending riffs of the album, you will indeed be flattened if you give this album a chance.
For standouts, look to the title track with its thunderous wall of guitars for a primer in the essential Helmet sound; pile-driving drums, the guitars in question, a growling bass that was heard loud and clear unlike most metal, and Page Hamilton's screaming, roaring vocals that radiated sneering contempt as well as utter psycho mania. He sounded pretty good when he sang cleanly as well, but for me his screaming psycho style is archetypal and an important part of Helmet's sound.
"Iron Head" has the first solo of the album, over a driving syncopated riff that is actually rather funky, and a wild ride it is--how can I not like a man who has the stones to start off a solo with 8 bars of elephant mating call sounds? "Turned Out" is another driving and propulsive song with a nice placement of silence at the end before they roar back into the riff, and "Unsung" is a good little turn in the more melodic side of things.
This album often showcases Henry Bogdan's mean-ass bass rumble both in intros and in bridges, making for more relief in the wall of sound, and it only makes the overall soudn heavier when the guitars come roaring back in. Page and co-axeman Peter Mengede generate an amazingly dense din and racket that will have your ears ringing for a good hour or so after each listen.
Definitely look this album up, as it came out on Interscope and still ought to be readily available. It's not your typical metal album, and for that reason, as well as the guitar part of things being a fresher approach than usual, I recommend this album quite a lot.
When I took a look at Helmet’s discography at the metal-archives, I was surprised that nobody did a review for Helmet’s trademark full-length album, Meantime yet. So I decided that I’ll be the first one to review this album because this is one of those albums that’s absolutely underrated and dosen’t get enough credit. And also, the only one that is reviewing it for now and hopefully later by someone else on this site.
On this album; you’re hear a lot of grudge-sounding groove metal with some hard rock influences. Helmet was one of those bands that you either hate or love and stick to their trademark sound that made them famous in the first place. Well, I am a fan now and Meantime totally changes what I originally thought about them before. So without delays, let’s start the review:
The album starts of with “In the Meantime”, which is a good hard rock track with Page Hamilton doing his hardcore barks and growls. I heard that Soulfly did a cover of this song and after hearing it last year; it wasn’t really anything special. One of the things that made Helmet good was Peter’s and Page’s irresistible riffs and John’s machine-like drumming. And this track had those features and through out the album; in fact, I thought I was listening to an Industrial album at one point. Next up is “Ironhead”, which is a good track with some enjoyable groovy riffs to keep you satisfied. Next up is “Give it”, which is a really groovy hard rock track with Page Hamilton actually singing. This track is a highlight for me and it’s absolutely stunning. Speaking about stunning, here’s my second highlight; “Unsung”. This track was what really put Helmet in the mainstream map back in the day. This one had a very Anthem-like approach and had a very 90’s sounding riff that got stuck in any listener’s head. This was Helmet’s “one hit wonder” back then, but it’s not like all the other songs that Helmet did was bad. In my opinion, it was just the catchiest song that Helmet ever did. Anyways back to the review; next up is “Turned Out”, showing some hardcore-ish song structure and Page, once again during his hardcore growls. I could go on with the other remaining tracks, but I think you got the idea. If not, then try finding this album and then listen to it; this is just my opinion of how this album went down when I first heard it. Or better yet, do another review and don’t go complaining about what I said earlier in my review.
So in conclusion, Meantime was a triumphant hard rock/metal release that really put Helmet on the mainstream and metal map. This album is really hard to find these days and is most likely you can get it at a used bargain store. But still, if you do find this, buy it, its well worth you’re money.