Interscope, 1994

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


This was certainly one of the most anticipated rock records of 1994. Helmet had come out of nowhere with a multi-million dollar major label deal and had delivered some of the most punishing tracks yet heard on alternative radio. With this, their third record, they had a lot to live up to and ultimately, it left loads of people scratching their heads.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Opening track “Wilma’s Rainbow” follows the lead of a track like “Unsung” – very dense, very heavy, but this one grooves more than its predecessor and is one of the most interesting tracks Helmet ever did. “Milquetoast,” which is probably the album’s most famous track, having first appeared on the soundtrack to The Crow, is also one of the greatest the band ever made. Just super heavy and aurally interesting, though it has been slightly remixed from its soundtrack origin.

All throughout the record, the band entered in some new influences and audiences weren’t prepared for some of it. “Tic” and “Biscuits For Smut” shows a slowed down Helmet with some great bass work from Henry Bogdan on the latter. Bogdan and drummer John Stanier really shine on this disc, making up for Page Hamilton’s almost lackadaisical vocals and are able to prove why they were one of the best rhythm sections of the ‘90s.

Some songs like “Clean” and “Street Crab” just don’t work and don’t do a whole lot to really show off the musicianship within the band. This has always been viewed as Helmet’s experimental record, and when they’re covering Dizzy Gillespie on “Beautiful Love” and trying out some demented pseudo blues on “Sam Hell,” that becomes very obvious.

This record ended up confusing listeners and the band never really recovered. Guitarist Rob Echeverria, who hadn’t been with the band long, ended up leaving about a year after the disc’s release and by 1998, Helmet – or at least the Helmet that we knew and loved – was over. But at least they had carved their own path, and Betty is the greatest possible example of that.

Rating: B-

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