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Classic Corner:
Revisiting Helmet’s “Aftertaste”

Rocking out to Aftertaste at my desk, I feel an overwhelming need to talk about Helmet as a whole, and this record specifically.

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A reminder…  There’s no shame here.

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First, the band: they are no longer such a thing.  Nowadays, it is Page Hamilton & whoever else is in the room at the time.

All the same, whatever Helmet is these days is touring and probably coming to a venue near you (if you live in ‘Merica).

They are playing the album Betty in its entirety, and while I kind of hate it when bands do the “play the album front to back” thing, Betty is a hell of an album to hear whole (“The Silver Hawaiian” anyone?).

I have a lot of great, hazy memories that are very Betty-centric, and you should, too.  In fact, Meantime before it also carries a lot of rock and roll weight.  Remind me to tell you about the time I bought Meantime and a Spin Doctors album at the same time…  I digress.

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Aftertaste is just a fucking incredible rock album.  It starts out smooth and heavy like the world’s most metal peanut butter with “Pure”.  The pace quickens with “Renovation”, but when “Exactly What You Wanted” kicks the door off the hinges, you know you are in for something special.

The body blows just keep coming.  Whether it is a fuzzy, buzzy, meandering guitar solo on “Driving Nowhere” or the lyrical nastiness of “Diet Aftertaste”, Aftertaste is a sonic bulldozer that just keeps tearing up the ground beneath your feet.

One song, though, deserves special treatment: “Crisis King”.  Seriously, get on Spotify, YouTube, whatever, and listen to it right now. Here, I’ll do the heavy lifting:

If this songs doesn’t make you want to floor your car and ram it into Coldplay’s tour bus, then I am sorry but you suck.  I hate you.  Helmet is at their most punk on this track, and if you wanted to forget the 3 albums or so “Helmet” released in the 2000s (you should), this track would be a fitting elegy.  It’s fast, it’s mean, and it’s exactly what you want your Helmet to be.

Lastly, I want to marry John Stanier’s beats.

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NewsWhistle music contributor Chad Werner is “ahead of the curve, behind the times.” You can contact this rock n’ roll sphinx at chad@newswhistle.com.

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Image Courtesy of Interscope Records