Whoever it was who said it, dude could turn some righteous phrase, and I've never forgotten it.
Even though I'm not really that big a fan of Hendrix' psychedelic stuff, which, presumably, would be more likely than his other work to have come from Venus or Neptune or any other extraterrestrial location. Hendrix for me is worth listening to for his intense and immediate blues interpretations, stuff like "Red House" and "Hear My Train A Coming," and the brilliant synthesis of the blues with jazz/funk that was "Machine Gun."
All that other bloated psychedelic shit, that midnight oil-burning hall of whirling knives crap: it doesn't seem like it's from Venus to me. It seems like its from Nowheresville, or wherever else it is that silly excessive fads come from.
No, for a guitarist who regularly receives compositional advice from our Venusian brothers and sisters, give me Page Hamilton. And as best example of said extraterrestrial advice, give me the lead break at 1:34 of "FBLA," when the song ionizes, and Hamilton gives us 30 seconds of electrostatic discharge, a guitar solo that sparkles and crackles and resonates like a Tesla coil.
It's perhaps the greatest nonintuitive guitar solo ever played. IMHO, of course.
There're a bunch of good bands these days doing business under the "post-metal" flag, outfits like Isis and Pelican and Russian Circles. But of course Helmet was the first band to get themselves called post-metal, and though it's funny to see now that they sound nothing like what this post-metal genre would become, you can understand why the post-metal term is apt for them, probably more apt for Helmet than it is for Isis or Pelican.
|Because Helmet stripped everything away from heavy music, all the baggage, all the cliches, and all the assumptions, and then rebuilt it from the chassis up, to their own unique specifications. The blues were discarded as irrelevant. Black Sabbath dirge, discarded as cliche. Keening, high-pitched cock rock vocals, ditched as past their prime. In their places, Hamilton and his fellows inserted John Coltrane and Glenn Branca. And to make sure we the listeners understood, the band kept their hair short and refused to wear black.|
Because of personality conflicts, and--perhaps--Hamilton's abrasive personality, the A-list version of this band was only together for eight years and four albums. Given the otherworldly nature of the sound that Hamilton achieved, I'd say those eight years and four albums were not nearly enough.
Helmet - Strap It On - 05 FBLA.mp3
This file was removed May 22, 2010. If you're still way interested in coming up with a copy of this--and really can't figure out where you might get one--drop me an email and I'm sure I'll be able to figure something out for you.
File Under: Noise metal, Post-metal (in an older sense)
*Certainly not Robin Trower and certainly not Frank Marino in case you were wondering. (Return)
**I'm sure Led Zeppelin would be jealous if they knew. (Return)