Saturday, January 21, 2006

FBLA (1990) – Helmet

Helmet was one of the first bands to understand how to fuse a dropped-D tuning with syncopated beats in a caustic onslaught, resulting in their mind-blowing debut Strap It On. In this regard, “FBLA” assaults the ears and churns the bowels with a virulent vengeance. John Stanier assails his snare and pummels his kick drum with what sounds like a sledgehammer and a club, throwing down beats that alternately push and drag the tempo. Page Hamilton’s antagonistic growl is a perfectly affected snarl of aggression, an omen that his head is about to explode in a cathartic discharge. Hamilton’s and Peter Mengede’s guitar tone so predominantly occupy the midrange frequencies, that it sounds like the audio equivalent of crackers—dry, crunchy and brittle. Although the predominant riff is simple—your standard “great white shark-approaches-unsuspecting-victim” cue—the accomplishment is how powerful it sounds when two guitars and a bass play it in unison, utilizing abrupt rests to build tension, then jolting the detritus out of the lacuna. Guitars screech and flutter intermittently like taloned birds of prey in attack mode. Hamilton’s punctuated barks culminate in a sonic thrashing on the pavement, exorcising a pertinacious demon. The instrumental bridge is a weltering behemoth steamrolling its way to a predator’s feast—the churn and turmoil of abrasive guitars scything a path through the jungles of Lost. A strident guitar “solo” slices through the din with a caterwaul like a Chimera heralding Armageddon, convulsing until violent riffing repeatedly throws uppercuts and right hooks to finish it off.

  • Listen to "FBLA" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
  • See also "Crisis King" (1997) – Helmet
  • No comments: