By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Back in the band's late '80s/early '90s heyday, New York's Helmet were supposedly the thinking man's metal band. But with their geeky clothes and cropped haircuts, Page Hamilton and crew were hardly a metal band, thinking or otherwise.
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What Helmet did was play aggressive post-punk that drew a crowd that included metalheads. And when the band released Strap it On in 1990 and Meantime a year later, it seemed ready to finally cross over into the mainstream. But internal dissent and the lackluster sales of 1994's Betty seemed to forever derail Helmet's career. Indeed, after 1997's Aftertaste, the band called it quits. Hamilton ended up as an in-demand sideman, playing guitar with an odd assortment of characters including Joe Henry and David Bowie.
Then, in 2004, Hamilton resurrected the Helmet moniker and released Size Matters, an album that featured none of the original members except him. Interestingly, the sound was not that different from earlier Helmet efforts and that trend continues on the recently released Seeing Eye Dog. Songs like "Welcome to Algiers" and "So Long" are as aggressive and numbing as anything in the band's entire catalogue. Progress it isn't, but Seeing Eye Dog does deliver the customary goods for Helmet's diehard fans.
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