Review Summary: Helm show their consistency with another outstanding collection of alt rock infused post metal.
Helm, Brisbane’s resident post metal geniuses, are easily one of the hardest working bands in the country. Releasing two very high quality albums in the space of a year amidst a heap of touring. Coming across as an amalgamation of post metal, alternative rock and post rock, Helm’s sound is a very unique one, something that is required in the increasingly overcrowded Australian rock scene. The Winter March
, released earlier this year, is the band’s second album, seeing them improve on the near perfection of their debut.
The melancholy picked guitar of ‘Leaving Death Valley’ kicks the record off softly, acting as a clever reference to the track ‘Death Valley’ on their debut. Pseudo-opener ‘Watch It Burn’ sees the band try their hand at a melodic rock track, with the sledgehammer riffs produced by Lucas Stone and Scott Ireland providing the perfect backdrop for Stone’s enormously powerful cleans and roars. ‘Watch It Burn’ is actually something new for Helm, more known for their slow tempo, longer tracks. Whilst being the complete opposite what the songs Helm normally write, ‘Watch it Burn’ still manages to maintain the same epic feel as the rest of the album.
While their debut was all about finding the band’s sound, The Winter March
is about atmosphere. Overall featuring less heavy moments than their debut, the band instead shifts the focus to their song writing and atmospheric. Most notably, there are much more mellow moments, particularly on songs such as two part ‘The Forgotten Few’ and closer ‘Rite of Passage.’ Both are some of the more melodic tracks on the album, with ‘The Forgotten Few’ in particular featuring some impressive guitar work before moving back into the band’s trademark heavy groove based guitars.
There’s something about Helm that just screams out ‘Australian.’ Whether it’s the fact that the band are all blue-collar tradies or that the band covered ‘Great Southern Land,’ there’s just something that makes you think they couldn’t be from anywhere else. ‘Her Broken Vow,’ at a hefty 8 and a half minutes, is the album’s longest track and funnily enough is also the catchiest. Stone’s vocals in the chorus are chill inducing, soaring over the rest of the band. Every single track on this album has moments that produce the exact same effect. Be it the slower, melancholy guitar picking on ‘At The Waters Edge’ or the sheer density of ‘Star,’ arguably the heaviest track the band has ever written. Such is the talent of Helm, the band have produced a collection of songs of which every track has at least one moment, if not more, that only induces one thought: wow
The Winter March
is the perfect follow up to such a strong debut. In particular, the production has improved dramatically, giving the band more depth while still keeping their trademark raw sound. Similarly, the overall song writing has improved tenfold and while there may not be the standout tracks found on their debut, as a whole the album is better. With two outstanding albums under their belt in the space of a year, Helm are certainly going places.