Helmet is an American alternative metal band from New York City formed in 1989. Founded by vocalist and lead guitarist Page Hamilton, Helmet has had numerous lineup changes, and Hamilton has been the only constant member.
Helmet has released eight studio albums and two compilation albums. The band found mainstream success with their 1992 major label debut Meantime, which debuted at number 68 on the Billboard 200, with singles "Unsung" and "In the Meantime". After the releases of Betty and Aftertaste , Helmet broke up in 1998. However, the band reformed in 2004, and has since released four more albums ― Size Matters , Monochrome , Seeing Eye Dog and Dead to the World .
After Hamilton had left the Band of Susans, Helmet formed in early 1989. They were spotted by Tom Hazelmyer and signed to Amphetamine Reptile Records, releasing their debut 7 inch single, "Born Annoying", later that year. AmRep released their first album, Strap it On, in 1990.
Helmet has been described as a "thinking man's metal band"; according to Hamilton, the term came from original drummer John Stanier because he once heard an interviewer say it. Eschewing the traditional metal image of long hair and black clothing, the band stood out with their preference for simple T-shirts, jeans, and sneakers, and short haircuts. Their atypical look was referenced in an episode of Beavis and Butthead, in which the pair's commentary on the video for "Unsung" included the lines "That drummer looks like a regular guy" and "If you, like, saw these guys on the street, you wouldn't even know they were cool."
Their music is characterized by repetitive, syncopated, staccato guitar riffs, often in unconventional time signatures, and almost always in a minor key with drop-D or drop-C tuning. The guitar sound is heavily distorted and dissonant, with choruses that often involve guitar feedback waves.
Before Hamilton had settled on a name, the guitarist Peter Mengede's then-wife Reyne Cuccuro suggested the Germanic name "Helmuth". Hamilton misinterpreted her and mistakenly believed that she was referring to the form of protective gear. Hamilton then thought excitedly that Helmet had "sounded like a pretty cool name for a band" and opted for the Anglicized spelling. Other names taken in consideration were "Cry Ruth" and "Poly Orchids", along with the more esoteric and obscure "Tuna Lorenzo" and "Froth Albumen".
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