Size Matters (Interscope Records)
By: Mike SOS
Page Hamilton has embarked on a comeback with Size Matters, but, like Dave Mustaine, he keeps the band name yet changes the entire lineup sans himself. Armed with Frank Bello (Anthrax), John Tempesta (White Zombie), and Chris Traynor (Orange 9MM), the '04 Helmet lineup reads like the New York Metal All-Star team, yet gone are the pummeling offerings of days gone by. Instead, Helmet opts to take away the hammer and replace it with a chisel, fine tuning many of the album's tracks with the greatest of care. Tracks like "See You Dead", while still retaining the unabashed heavy-handed punch you'd expect, is ultimately overshadowed by the most melody the band has displayed to date. And while you'd normally expect the fillings in your head to rattle after a few tracks, it's not the rhythms that are jagged anymore. Instead, it's in the lyrics: the roaring disdain, utter disgust, and discontented dissonance that made Hamilton's guitar roar and the band's rhythm section sonically challenge any room they played in are found in songs like "Enemies", "Speak and Spell", and "Smart". Showcasing a darker, damning, and all together more sinister side to Hamilton's brain, these words attack with the impact of past album's bass and drum explosions, while the sinewy alt metal jazz grooves laid down beside it all keep it both heavy and smart throughout the entire 11-track experience. Is it the Helmet of old? No way, but it is a band full of vitriol, primed to reclaim its pole position in the metal genre.
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