Helms Alee

Helms Alee charge freely through the wastelands of rock music, creating noise where it fits and expanding upon its inactive spaces. Their third album on Hydra Head Records finds them adopting some of the best traits that fellow co-signers Big Business, Torche and Boris have dragged through years of sludge. The melodic and often heavy guitar work of Ben Verellen gels with mathy, restless drum beats and the sweet voice of bassist Dana James to create an arrangement of distorted sound that bounces effortlessly around the trio. Some of the vibrating stimulants that made their previous record, Night Terrors, so hefty have been smoothed down to softer, more dreamy moments. Quiet-loud dynamics litter the album, woven within epic build-ups, hardcore breakdowns and post-rocky interludes. The album seems to work in peaks. “Pretty As Pie” relies on the airy repetition of a classic sounding riff before tearing into a pyramid melody that trudges slowly up the incline, although the momentum of it all seems to weigh the band down afterward. It’s topped off with the airy howls of lead vocals that occasionally conjoin in harmony.