Release date: April 26, 2019
Label: Sargent House
Shortly after the release of Stillicide, I got to see Helm’s Alee open for The Melvin’s. They stole the show. If this band isn’t on your radar, you’re making a big mistake.
With Noctiluca, we see Helms Alee stretching their limbs and showing us new wrinkles to their sound that we’ve not heard before. The trio of Dana James (bass, vocals), Hozoji Margullis (drums, vocals) and Ben Verellen (guitar, vocals) combine to produce heartwarming hooks and groovy riffs. Margullis’ mighty drums are a revelation (in my experience, it’s rare for a drummer to command an audience’s attention during a live set…Margullis’ is the exception…her performance is thunderous) and Margullis’ and James’ sweet harmonies perfectly balance Verellen’s roaring vocals. Interachnid is experimental yet memorable, sludgy yet melodic, and proggy yet accessible. You’ll keep the aptly titled Beat Up on repeat. It’s a quick number that is groovy, raw, and catchy at the same time. Play Dead is reminiscent of early Kylesa and Baroness. The guitars get twangy and the sound gets creepy on Pleasure Torture as we’re repeatedly commanded to “open wide”. Pandemic adds a slower ponderous shoegaze/dreampop sound not heard on previous releases. These dreamy sounds don’t last long as Pandemic bleeds into the disgustingly heavy Word Problem. The transition from the slowest track on the album to the heaviest makes the colossal riffs sound even more ferocious.
Listen to: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 & 10