Monday, 10 October 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - "Meantime" (Redux)

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 19/08/2016
Label: Magnetic Eye Records




Meantime (Redux)” is a face-melting reinterpretation of what many consider Helmet’s finest hour, it   pulls off the tricky balance of paying respectful tribute to a classic album while being an excellent listen in its own right. Hopefully it will introduce long-term Helmet fans to some exciting new bands and make any other people with their ears stuck in the underground realise that Helmet were great all along.

“Meantime (Redux)” DD//LP track listing:


01 – I Am Become Death – “In The Meantime
02 – Earthship – “Ironhead
03 – Ironweed – “Give It
04 – Sunflo’er – “Unsung
05 – KEN mode – “Turned Out
06 – Kings Destroy – “He Feels Bad
07 – Meek Is Murder – “Better
08 – Ironweed – “You Borrowed
09 – The Glorious Rebellion – “FBLA II
10 – Fuck The Facts – “Role Model


Bonus tracks:


11 – Fashion Week – “I Know
12 – Rosetta – “Like I Care
13 – Livver – “Sinatra
14 – Heads. – “Blacktop
15 – BlackWolfGoat – “Bad Mood
16 – Brief Lives – “Milquetoast


The Review:


The influence of Helmet seems particularly strong in the current heavy underground. Their brand of noise rock-indebted alt metal can be detected in a number of 2016’s finest releases, the relentless adrenaline rush of Wrong’s self-titled LP being a good example. It feels like the time is right for Magnetic Eye Records to unleash “Meantime (Redux)” into the world. A track-for-track recreation of Helmet’s 1992 major label debut “Meantime” by ten contemporary amp abusers, it demonstrates that the impact of the bands 90’s output is still felt almost 25 years into the future.
I’ve got to come clean and confess I am not the world’s biggest Helmet fan. They were always a band I meant to check out but from the mid-90s to the mid 2000’s I knew them only as the band with the guy who does a killer guest solo on Therapy?’s “Troublegum”. I finally heard them in 2005 when I caught a tepid set at Download festival. This put me off listening further until now. “Meantime (Redux)” is a face-melting reinterpretation of what many consider Helmet’s finest hour which has given me the opportunity to go back and give the band the respect they deserve.
All the bands here deliver the goods and sound like they are having a blast getting to grips with such classic riffs. I Am Become Death kick things off with a filthy and feral run-through of “In The Meantime”. It’s a faithful reproduction of the original with a throat-shredding vocal performance and distortion levels well into the red. Earthship and Sunflo’er also stick fairly close to the script and deliver excellent versions of “Ironhead” and “Unsung” respectively. Ironweed, Kings Destroy and The Glorious Rebellion also don’t deviate too far from the source material but bring the latent stoner rock undertones in “Give It”, “He Feels Bad” and “FBLA II” to the surface.
The highlights of “Meantime (Redux)” come when the original tracks are bent almost out of recognition. Meek Is Murder transform “Better” into a searing blastbeat-riddled beast of a track in the vein of Converge while Fuck The Facts achieve similarly brutal results by recreating “Role Model” as two minutes of fearsome grind. Although not as shockingly different as these two belters, KEN mode manage to inject enough of their trademark sound into “Turned Out” to give it an angular Botch-style makeover.
Not content with a full recreation of “Meantime”, “Meantime (Redux)” also features six bonus tracks where more bands tackle songs from the Helmet back catalogue. The cream of these extras come from Fashion Week and Heads. Fashion Week inject some burly riffage into “I Know” from “Betty” but also bring a welcome dose of synth-assisted melody. Heads’ classic Shellac/Jesus Lizard style rumble is a great contrast to the metallic sound of the majority of bands on “Meantime (Redux)”. They stretch “Blacktop” from “Strap It On” into six minutes of taut, dark menace.
Meantime (Redux)” pulls off the tricky balance of paying respectful tribute to a classic album while being an excellent listen in its own right. Hopefully it will introduce long-term Helmet fans to some exciting new bands and make any other people with their ears stuck in the underground realise that Helmet were great all along.
“Meantime (Redux)” is available here

No comments: