New York’s Heavy hitters, Helmet release their follow-up to Seeing Eye Dog (2010) with nine and a half new songs (opening track Life or Death is reprised and slowed down at the finish line) featuring new bassist Dave Case. He’s a good fit, particularly on the hard stomping riff of I Love My Guru. Drummer Kyle Stevenson gives a stellar performance alongside Case and grooves like the best of them on Drunk in the Afternoon. While Helmet‘s sound has been tweaked, the distinctly tight Helmet drum sound remains.
Dead to the World gets a bit poppy at times, which takes some getting used to. First single Bad News sounds more like a lost Foo Fighters track at times on account of with Page Hamilton‘s vocals. While the guitar solos work, on tracks like these they sound a little contrived.
The title track signals a change for Helmet and took a bit of time for this writer to wrap his head around. The same applies to Green Shirt and it appears that being signed to EAR music has pushed the band toward a radio-friendly sound. Expect the World sees only a slight return to the usual Helmet sound with Dave Case’s frantic bass strumming and Hamilton’s screams towards the end of the track.
Overall the album has more filler than expected from a band of Helmet‘s standing. While the new line-up may alienate some fans, Helmet‘s renowned live show may grant the new material new life and prove the band are not Dead to the World just yet.