Tuesday, 4 October 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Helms Alee - "Stillicide"

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 02/09/2016
Label: Sargent House


Helms Alee have created a perfect fusion of big riffs, noise rock rumble and muscular indie rock filtered through a cloud of woozy reverb.  Every track on this album is stuffed to the gills with choice riffs and klller hooks that will be embedded deep in your mind for years to come.   “Stillicide” is a stellar release that sets the bar for heavy music in 2016.

“Stillicide” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). More Weight
2). Untoxicated
3). Tit to Toe
4). Meats and Milks
5). Stillicide
6). Galloping Mind Fuk
7). Creeping You Company
8). Dream Long
9). Bullygoat
10). Andromenous
11) Worth Your Wild


The Review:

I’m ashamed that I haven’t listened to Helms Alee before. The Seattle trio take the classic Hydrahead sound of guitarist/vocalist Ben Verellen’s previous band, Harkonen, as a starting point and twist it into thrilling new shapes on new LP “Stillicide”.

More Weight” opens the album in subtly bombastic style, its title a prophecy of the crushing beauty to come. A short, piano-led instrumental, it establishes the mysterious nocturnal haze that hangs over the whole record and creates an intoxicating atmosphere.

Helms Alee have created a perfect fusion of big riffs, noise rock rumble and muscular indie rock filtered through a cloud of woozy reverb. When the band showcase everything they are capable of during the space of a single track, such as the slow-burning powerhouse of “Meats and Milks” and the pummelling title track, there are few bands that can measure up to their fearsome power. Imagine Kylesa at their most psychedelic covering “The Woods” by Sleater Kinney and you won’t be disappointed.

The considerable musical skills of the band alone would make “Stillicide” an essential listen but it’s their vocal prowess that really catapults them into the stratosphere. Any band would be blessed to have just one of the members of Helms Alee as a vocalist; the fact that all three members contribute impassioned vocals here that run the spectrum from stirring clean singing to an unhinged roar makes for an irresistible force.

There are plenty of twists and turns during “Stillicide” to keep the listener on their toes. “Galloping Mind Fuk” lives up to its title with three minutes of non-stop gnarly riffage shorn of the more melodic touches present elsewhere. It’s a relentless assault on the senses that almost makes you glad for the respite offered by the sleepy menace of “Creeping You Company”.   The second half of the album eases up on the distortion but this doesn’t affect the impact of these tracks. The hypnotic locked-groove of “Andromenous” is a good example of this. Intricate guitar lines weave in and out of some of the strongest vocals on the album to create an eerie insomniac lullaby.

Helms Alee have created an intoxicating sonic world that is strange and otherworldly yet filled with expertly crafted catchy songs. Every track on this album is stuffed to the gills with choice riffs and klller hooks that will be embedded deep in your mind for years to come.   Stillicide” is a stellar release that sets the bar for heavy music in 2016.

“Stillicide” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

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