Helpless – Debt Review

About two weeks or so back, I got a message from Last Rites Central Command asking me if my Helpless review was ready.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I responded, for once truthfully.

“Manny[O-War, fellow Last Rites-er] said you were covering this new Helpless album,” came the disembodied, robotic voice of our metallic overlord.

“Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of it, so I guess I’d better listen to it…”

And far be it from me to ever let Manny tell me what to do, although he did buy me a drink once. Still, I’ll give him a further smidgen of credit for getting this one right…

Debt is the full-length debut from the UK’s Helpless, following up a four-song EP from 2015. That earlier effort blended metalgrindpunksludge into a dissonant stew equally reminiscent of Swans-y bash, scum-caked abrasive filth, and the clang and crush of metalcore (the good kind). It’s not necessarily a unique mixture, but it’s almost always an effective one, and Helpless doesn’t disappoint.

If that EP was your first drink, Debt is your first bender – it’s bigger, crazier, more chaotic, more frantic; it’s seemingly on the verge of collapse, but it holds together; it’s filled with shouting, and it’s as often fun as it is frightening; it’s twisted, twisting, within and without; it’s the perfect headache, and after all that, you’ll come back again.

Release date: September 8, 2017. Label: Holy Roar.
You’ll come back for moments like the driving “Out Of Commission,” with that perfect groove that falls from the sky at the 0:55 mark, leveling everything in its path. You’ll come back for the entirety of tracks like “Moral Bankruptcy” with those tar-toned guitars alternating between discordant strums and then picking up that simple but oh-so-effective cyclical riff from the bass beneath – it’s more punishing than the all your regrets from your craziest bender, heavier than the embarrassment from all dumb things someone has to remind you that you said, and it devolves into a squalling crashing chord sequence that hits like the hammer inside your skull tomorrow morning. You’ll come back for the blast-to-trudge-to-blast tempos of “Sertaline,” with its tech-tinted riffing, or the hardcore pummeling and angular chording of “Ceremony Of Innocence,” in the noise-rock bass-driven “Denied Sale,” or really just in any of Debt’s twenty-one minutes.

This type of enveloping destruction isn’t new – you’re not the first person to make its acquaintance – but it’ll still knock you down, no matter what. And you’ll get up again, drink a lager drink, drink a whiskey drink…

Because in the end, the fun is worth it. Drink up, then; apparently Manny’s buying…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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