Helmet “Aftertaste” (1997)


Lured to Betty by Spotify’s auto-play, I thought a follow up on Helmets final output before a later reunion was due. By fans and critics alike, Aftertaste wasn’t well received at the time. Its a mild affair but personally I’ve enjoyed this one. Harking back to their roots, Helmet pump out a rather stripped down, straightforward rendition of syncopated Drop D riffs alternating on shimmering shoe-gazing chords.

Effective and simple drum grooves build an easy framework for each song to deliver a handful of riffs that rarely venture beyond a few bars. Shuffling back and forth with monotone vocals overhead, It gets repetitious fast. Their songwriting finds little in the way of “special” or ambition, its just simplistic structures playing out their basic ideas.

Its all about aesthetic, If the mold matches your taste, then its worth a spin or two. Beyond that, I’m not sure much else can be found. Occasional compositions resonate well, poking its head above the mediocrity on display. For example, the opening riff of Broadcast Emotion melds a grooving riff with hazy texture wonderfully! On the other hand, its crass guitar solo not on the same level. This record is really for fans of Helmet, beyond serving that crowd, there is little to be said about the music.

Rating: 6/10

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