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The complex beast known as Helmet return with their seventh full-length album entitled SEEING EYE DOG, a decisively eclectic 10-track affair even for this groundbreaking band. Still helmed by Page Hamilton (the only remaining original member), this NYC noise rock institution has seen a fair share of discord both in their music post-BETTY and within the band for the past decade or so and this batch of songs truly reflects the tumultuousness endured by Hamilton and the multitude of associates Helmet has employed since their salad day darling status expired (“LA Water”). Boasting plenty of the trademark piledriving rhythms that made Helmet a dangerous entity (“Seeing Eye Dog”, “She’s Lost”), this time around Hamilton’s vocals and the musical directions on some of the tracks are more scattershot and adventurous than the music is prepared for, making for an uneven listening experience. An irreverent cover of “And Your Bird Can Sing” by The Beatles and “Morphing”, a noise rock instrumental that sounds it came from a Hamilton movie score sound completely out of place and add to the album’s overall jarring nature. Nonetheless, Helmet showcases that despite all the static they create, they still have a firm handle on what it takes to chug away with acerbic wit, dropping off viscous riffs and crushing metallic melodies with just the right mix of heavy and catchy along for their staccato-friendly ride (“Welcome to Algiers”).
- Mike SOS