Saturday 20 August 2016

Helms Alee - Stillicide (Album Review)

Release date: September 02nd 2016. Label: Sargent House. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Stillicide – Tracklisting

1.More Weight
3.Tit to Toe
4.Meats and Milks
6.Galloping Mind Fuk
7.Creeping You Company
8.Dream Long
11.Worth Your Wild

Band Members:

Ben Verellen
Dana James
Hozoji Matheson-margullis


After giving Helms Alee new album Stillicide a couple of listens I realzied that I couldn't find the appropriate way to describe the band. They are heavy, but not heavy metal. The music is too well played and recorded to be punk music. I'm sure there is a post- something tag that I am no way near hip enough to know that could apply, then it dawned on me, the way to best describe this record is good....really, really good!

Helms Alee is a trio from Seattle. Stillicide is their 4th full length. I am a fan as I have their first two albums. I somehow slept on their 3rd, Sleepwalking Sailors (sorry!). Perhaps there is something about that Pacific Northwest region that causes the musicians to blend so many different styles together so seamlessly. If you break it down to it's purest/simplest form Grunge music, was basically an amalgamation of pop, punk, and heavy metal done with an indie mindset. Helms Alee does a similar sort of thing. I don't want diminish anything on this fine record, but I was reminded on multiple occasions of a heavier version of Sonic Youth when listening to some of the songs. Which is a good thing, I was a big Sonic Youth fan that was heartbroken when the band broke up and honestly, I haven't the time, energy or money to follow them on any of their post SY adventures. Helms Alee slides into that empty void of pounding dissonance and relishes in it.

There are so many elements to the band's music that you hear something new on every listen, which to me, is a sign of a great band and a great record. There are riffs aplenty, an interesting mix of male/female vocal interplay, some huge driving drums and plenty of low end to keep fans of any genre happy and listening on.

The opening, instrumental track More Weight is interesting as it plays an almost symphonic rock quality, that makes you double check that you are on the right album, it works and quickly gives way to the concise, pounding Untoxicated. One of the albums most stellar tracks is Tit to Toe, one of the many tracks that mixes the often under appreciated male/female vocal interplay that makes Helms stellar. Meats and Milks stumbles in and melts your face and leads into the bass riff of the title track. The band takes you on a ride with Galloping Mind Fuk and leaves you unsettled on Creeping you Company. Dream Long is another killer track. Bullygoat and Andromenous continue to deliver with power and chiming dissonance before the albums killer final track Worth your Wild, is truly that.

Stillicide is a beautiful, brutal, multi layered experience that will bring you back listen after listen. You can peel away layers like an onion and hear sounds and influences time after time. Check this record out, you will not be disappointed.

Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to Rachel at Silver PR for the promo. Stillicide will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Sargent House from September 2nd 2016.