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Helmet - "Monochrome" (CD)

Helmet - "Monochrome" CD cover image

"Monochrome" track listing:

1. Swallowing Everything
2. Brand New
3. Bury Me
4. Monochrome
5. On Your Way Down
6. Money Shot
7. Gone
8. Almost Out Of Sight
9. Howl
10. 410
11. Goodbye

Reviewed by on August 12, 2011

"It isn't that there's anything particularly terrible about Helmet's 'Monochrome,' but, apropos to the title, there's precious little that stands out, making for a rather bland listening experience."

The title of Helmet's 2006 album, "Monochrome," is proof that occasionally, there is such a thing as truth in advertising. Sure, Page Hamilton and Chris Traynor deliver some good-to-great guitar work , but the songs tend to blend together, especially when it comes to Hamilton's vocals.

Granted, "Swallowing Everything," the opener, sets things up well, with a thick and heavy, albeit simple riff that's sure to set heads a'bangin'. It's followed up by the disjointed "Brand New," in which Hamilton's vocals feel particularly weak, and then "Bury Me," which repeats the slow-and-sludgy approach to somewhat less effect.

Things improve a bit with the more melodic "Monochrome" (which will be familiar to those who sat through the credits of "Saw III"), which has a nice bluesy swagger, as does the next track, "On Your Way Down."

Regrettably, the next three tracks, "Money Shot," "Gone" and "Almost Out Of Sight" feel pretty interchangeable. After the bit of guitar noodling of "Howl" (which is repeated at the end of "Goodbye"), we get "410," which harkens back to the growl that opened the album and "Goodbye," which naturally concludes things.

It isn't that there's anything particularly terrible about Helmet's "Monochrome," but, apropos to the title, there's precious little that stands out, making for a rather bland listening experience. Helmet fans may get what they're looking for on this one, others will likely find it to be a rather by-the-numbers listening experience.

Highs: "Swallowing Everything," "Monochrome" and "On Your Way Down"

Lows: The trio of "Money Shot," "Gone" and "Almost Out Of Sight"

Bottom line: A decent listen, but not one with a lot of standout moments for anyone but devoted Helmet fans.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)