Helpless
Debt


4.5
superb

Review

by botb USER (8 Reviews)
March 10th, 2019 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The spiritual successor to Gaza we deserve.

When it comes to heavy music it’s getting more and more difficult and time consuming to sift through the superabundant imitators to find bands really doing the bands that have clearly inspired them justice. If you live in a city with a halfway active music scene it’s almost guaranteed you could see a band playing homage to any given trope or gimmick within the last twenty years that ever had a following. Heavy music in particular is funny that way; things seem to truly ebb and flow in popularity as years go by. However, Helpless, a noisey three-piece from the UK, is anything but run-of-the-mill.

Playing what would normally be an all too familiar blend of dissonant hardcore and grind, Helpless manages to stand far superior to the droves of bands playing this style in modern music. There are a lot of bands that clearly influence the furious cocktail found on Debt, but it would be absolutely impossible to bring up Helpless without also mentioning the obvious influence that Gaza has had on their aesthetic. Gaza had a sound that has proven very hard for bands to imitate effectively, and after their dissolution in 2012 even their “spiritual successor” band Cult Leader hasn’t really scratched the very precise itch that Gaza did for me. Helpless taps into Gaza’s unbridled rage and unpredictable chaos better than any other band I’ve ever heard while impressively boasting a lineup of even less members than Gaza ever had. Debt is an amalgamation of everything that made Gaza truly spectacular and more, and importantly showcases a band putting its own personality and spin into Gaza’s steps rather than simply retreading them.

Right off the bat in opener “Worth” the listener is assaulted with a barrage of absolute fury. The intensity does not fade once it’s established for the entire run-time of Debt, which clocking just over the 20-minute mark, feels more akin to a frenzied sprint than an exhausting marathon. The drummer manages to put on an awe-inspiring performance for the duration, changing between frantic blast-beats and crushing half time sludge with ease. The guitars flip seamlessly between anxiety inducing dissonance and driving metallic riffs – think more Jane Doe era Converge than Deathspell Omega. Filling in the mix between the two is a thick distorted bass that not only provides the backbone for the guitar to continue its aural assault, but also features some tasty bass lines that make for some really enjoyable highlights throughout the record. Most notably the bass takes the reins in closer and clear standout “Denied Sale”, hitting you with a quick little riff before one of the only brief moment respites on Debt, immediately followed by Helpless delivering the final killing blow to the listener with a violent kick in the chest of sludgy vitriol. Vocally both the guitarist and bassist take on equal duty, and it is here that the listener sees the most obvious Gaza influence. Buried just slightly in the mix, both vocalists flow through a mixture of vicious growls and piercing screams with ease, and tonally it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say it’s almost as if Jon Parkin himself were providing them.

It’s tricky to travel the paths of preceding innovators without being labeled a copycat or a one trick pony. Even harder still is picking up the metaphorical torch and filling the shoes of the heroes of yesteryear, but this is exactly what Helpless manages to do on their first LP. Throughout the discordance and pulverizing heaviness displayed on Debt the record establishes exactly what it sets out to do. It serves up a tasty and unique slice of heaviness with loads of replay value and completely levels the other would-be imitators in the process. This is the spiritual successor to Gaza we deserve.



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
botb
March 10th 2019


12667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Gonna start reviewing some of the albums I think sputnik sleeps on criminally. Up first is one of my favorite records of 2017 that somehow flew under the radar despite being on the ever-growing impressive Holy Roar roster! It was fun to knock off some of the reviewing rust, would love some feedback so I can continue to improve if I do end up doing this.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 10th 2019


8849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well first off, welcome back to writing my friend. In terms of improvements/issues, there were missing commas and sentences that ran on way past their end.



The actual content and overall descriptions etc. were all really well done though, they make a compelling case for the album. Definitely got me interested. POS, might need to jam this. I like the sound of a bass-heavy grind.

Digging: Ni - Pantophobie

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
March 10th 2019


2954 Comments


damn, this didn't have a review? record slaps the wang. haven't jammed it much since release but this is more than enough reason to hop back on it.

botb
March 11th 2019


12667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks fellas, definitely know I have some run-on stuff here. Always fight myself over whether to put periods in certain places but I guess that alternative is better than an entire review of simple sentences! Let me know what you think when you check it out!

DungeonBoy
March 12th 2019


5559 Comments


Good review dude! not sure I ever read any of yours before this one. This is certainly heavy, and the production is pretty great

Digging: Vehemence (FRA) - Par le sang vers

botb
March 12th 2019


12667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks man! I mostly review friends’ stuff to try to turn sput onto it but I decided I want to start trying to write more.

calmrose
March 12th 2019


4605 Comments


this seems right up my alley, will jam for sure

Digging: Bear vs. Shark - Terrorhawk

calmrose
March 12th 2019


4605 Comments


yeah this fucking wallops

botb
March 12th 2019


12667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I cannot stress how outrageous the closer is on this record

calmrose
March 12th 2019


4605 Comments


final minute or so of the closer is straight bonkers

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 14th 2019


8849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Certified rippage

botb
March 14th 2019


12667 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hell yeah! Glad you checked it out! Wish more people would, this thing is fire from front to back



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