The Helm - Home (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Helm

Home (2009)


The Helm do right by way of fierce, crusty hardcore, the kind nurtured and nuzzled by a wealth of His Hero Is Gone followers this past decade. Home feels just like that -- an oddly comfortable setting of familiar aggression and restrained rawness. (And it is just me, or do bands of this variety have a certain fondness for using this as a title?)

Home blows by in quite a rush, too, with nine of the 10 tracks here averaging a shade over two minutes per. You have to look for the slower, more lurching parts like the droning pounds that open "The Gate" or the lumbering finish to "A Few Days Ago," with moments like these helping to break up the otherwise insistent onslaught the Helm seem to have...well, helmed. Closer "Boarded Up" proves this method well, unwinding in a demonic, slightly sludgy fashion ("This is coming apart!!").

Some more distinct, abrupt tempo-changing riffs come into play for "Because We Can," which is also one of the more anthemic centerpieces to Home. Frontman Bob Swift gets a little more adventurous with his bellowing howl ("We build high. / We ride on. / We burn bright. / Because we can."), and that helps, too.

These Arms Are Snakes' Chris Common handled the recording here and blesses the band with a necessarily gritty yet comprehensible sound, just as he's done with other excellently heavy releases.

Overall, a fine sophomore LP from the northwest quartet.

Unam Sanctum