Helmet – Strap It On

ARTIST: Helmet Helmet-StrapItOn
TITLE: Strap It On
YEAR RELEASED: 1990
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Repetition
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: All of ‘em if you ran in my circles, otherwise none..
LINEUP: Page Hamilton, Henry Bogdan, Peter Mengede, John Stanier
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The first song is Repetition, and that’s the modus operandi. Repetitive, powerful riffs and dissonant noise.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When Page Hamilton formed Helmet after leaving the Band of Susans, he set out to fuse powerful hardcore and metal riffs with a subtle understanding of free jazz. Basically, he accomplished that in Strap It On.

The riffage and sounds are powerful, bludgeoning even. But there’s a subtle Coltrane-esque feel if you listen hard enough to how the two guitars work and intertwine together. It’s not just power chords and yelling, though it may SEEM that way.

The highlight for me is Sinatra, which unlike most of the songs on the album is a moody, morose piece that moves at a slower pace than the others songs. The one drawback about the record is that the last half of it starts to get a little repetitive. Also, I think the sequencing is a bit off – but that’s a minor fault.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The line “It’s just Sinatra’s world / we just live here” is paraphrased from a comment Dean Martin made.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B+ : There are a few flaws, but this a great fusion of hardcore, punk and subtle free jazz.

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