Thursday, September 4, 2014

Helms Alee : "Sleepwalking Sailors"

Helms Alee , if you don't know is a three piece from Seattle that features former members of These are Are Snakes, who after catching a few times live always seemed overrated to me despite boasting former members of Botch. So this is what happens when former members or former members, its calling out the second string off the bench. The second it begins to remind me of what Kylesa used to do. It progressive sludge. The shouted vocals of this ilk sound dated to me as they are not really committing to screaming, Mastodon did it in their transition out of metal and now here it is reminding me of the 2000's.

"Pinniped" is more like what I expected from these guys. The post- rock elements are toned down in the first few songs for a beefier stampede of jock rock, so the more indie rock like fare is welcomed and the first song on this album that really resonates with me. "Dangling Modifiers" continues down this path like a more muscular version of Minus the Bear. The angry lumber jack vocals counterbalancing the more indifferent indie rock singing, that could Built to Spill or any other of the dead pan Dinosaur Jr like vocal approaches. They use a similar play on the good cop , bad cop vocal dynamic on the lazy slacker waltz of "Heavy Worm Burden". They make some great moody yet angular rock here, so the overwrought burliness of the more hoarse vocals kind pisses on it at times.

When Dana Jame's lead a song with her vocals , it works better for me than when they start with the more gruff vocals or the laid back slacker one, as both routes seem to hold something to them that I have heard before. Some of the album's best vocal blending comes on "Fetus. Carcass". The heavier build build works better on this one than it has on the rest of the album , because the set up is there. Kinda like how a horror movie isn't as effect if you don't care about the characters so their gruesome deaths are just blood on the screen. They set up "Slow Beef" in a similar fashion and I really like the cleaner guitar tones they use at the onset of the song.

"Animatronic Bionic" kinda fall out of the end section of the previous song. It grows more angular and the metal kick in works better because of this and the riff is just plain catchier. The trend of one song falling right out of the end section of another is "Dodge the Lighting" which literally made me check iTunes as it sounds like a cool ending section to the previous song, though the shouted vocals tend to dominate it.
It leans more towards a meat and potatoes styled post-hard core that doesn't strike me as something I would listen to on a regular basis, but I don't feel like I wasted my time giving these guys a shot, it isn't my thing , but it might be yours. I'll give this album a 7 as it's well executed and there are some interesting songs captured here, round it up a whole point if you mid the early 2000's .

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