The 10 best Helmet songs, as chosen by Cory Brandan
Norma Jean and Hundred Suns vocalist Cory Brandan picks his favourite Helmet songs of all time
I am the worst at picking favourites. To me, it's really impossible. So, I am listing the songs in order from newest to oldest. These are some of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands – Helmet!
Life Or Death
This is from Helmet's newest record, Dead To The World. This song and this record have a mixed vibe; it's the band's entire catalogue mashed into one record, all while continuing to experiment musically, as Helmet always has. They have always had a very specific type of bridge in songs where the riff behind the lead is more what draws you into the part, and the way it’s done in this song is one of my favourite examples of that.
Seeing Eye Dog
This entire Seeing Eye Dog record has a dirty vibe to it. This track, like many others, starts one way and unexpectedly turns into something completely different. It’s one of the reasons I love this band so much. Those stark changes in rhythm and groove, and Page’s belting the entire time. Blast it!
See You Dead
One of the things that sets Helmet apart from anyone is their use of space throughout a song or riff. It’s really what defines them, and the way they do it should be their patent. This song is pretty straightforward and it dives into a singalong-type chorus, but what I really like about this song is that I imagine it’s about something personal. I love it from that level. Music shouldn’t always be comfortable and this song and its content are loyal to that. The title says it all.
Helmet had gone on hiatus for about seven years before Size Matters was released. I, along with many others, were very excited for this release and this was the first song I heard. Something is wrong with you if you don’t think this riff is one of the best riffs ever written – and the chorus is huge! It was everything that I expected from them, and more! It was refreshing to hear Helmet back without missing a beat. Norma Jean was on tour when we first heard it, and I can remember everything about that day and the 100 times we played this song– if anything, just to hear that first hit! It still holds up.
Aftertaste is easily one of my favourite records. I think this record might be one of Helmet's more underrated albums, and it kicks off with this track. The way it starts still throws me off to this day and I try not to think about it. I don’t want to know. I always just want to always enjoy putting this record on as if it’s the first time I’m hearing it.
Like I Care
This is one of those songs that I wish I wrote. If you play guitar, go listen to this song and learn this riff and realise that it’s not doing what it sounds like it is. Also, the chorus lyric is one of my favourite Helmet lyrics. It has a dark passion to it. That type of contrast in lyrics is the most interesting to me. Seriously, I can’t stress enough how important it is to play this band loud.
If Helmet’s use of space is what defines them then this song proves it. Just another song that hits hard and has one of the intro ideas. If you want to start listening to Helmet, then this entire record might be a good place to start. This song has another special story to it for me. In 2008, Norma Jean was writing The Anti Mother. Page came in to write a song with us, it’s called Opposite Of Left And Wrong, and during those writing sessions, he was cool enough to let us play this song with him. He even got on the mic for it. We lost our minds and I’m losing my mind thinking about it now. If I absolutely had to pick a favourite Helmet song, this is probably it.
It’s all about the intro to this song. That beat, the idea of building into nothing and back into something completely different. This song changed how I viewed the tracklist order on records. I don’t know what else to say. This song is very important!
I don’t even know why I have to write anything about this song. It’s Unsung by Helmet! This song and this record (Meantime) defined my teenage years. I remember thinking “This short-haired metal band is heavier than everyone.” Nothing made sense but everything made sense. I had to change my mind about heavy music and music in general.
In The Meantime
Here we are. After I heard Unsung, I immediately bought this record. Who starts a song like this? “I want to be this band,” is all I could think of. “I don’t know how you make that sound, but I want to do it.” This record is why I wanted to play music full time. Thanks for ruining my life, guys.
Hundred Suns' latest album The Prestaliis is out now.