Metal, grind and punk col­lide in the West Coun­try

Metal Hammer (UK) - - New Noise - WORDS: STEPHEN HILL

if you’re a metal fan liv­ing in an out­post, far away from the larger com­mu­ni­ties of like­minded peo­ple that many of us take for granted, then start­ing a band and forg­ing a path in the ways of heavy isn’t al­ways the eas­i­est thing to do.

“When we first started, it was just me and our bass player, Dan,” says Help­less gui­tarist Steve. “Find­ing a drum­mer to play the type of music we like in Ply­mouth isn’t very straight­for­ward, so we mes­saged Rusty to ask if he knew of any­one, ’cause he seems to know ev­ery­one, and he just came back say­ing he could play drums!”

If Ply­mouth, and the West Coun­try in gen­eral, seemed like an un­likely place to find some­one able to step into a heavy band at short no­tice, then this mes­sage from Rusty, for­merly gui­tarist in the ex­cel­lent Brother­hood Of The Lake, proved to be an amaz­ing piece of serendip­ity for the band that would even­tu­ally be­come Help­less. “We got chat­ting and ask­ing him what he could play,” Steve con­tin­ues, “as our pre­vi­ous band, God­sick, were way more grind­core than what Help­less is. So he sent a video of Ben Koller from Con­verge and just said, ‘I can play that.’ That was enough for us!”

This happy Ac­ci­dent has given birth to one of the most fe­ro­cious new bands in the coun­try. Help­less have taken the pain-in­duc­ing, pure white heat of grind­core, the dis­gust­ingly dingy rum­ble of all the best hard­core and melded it with brain-spin­ning noise rock to cre­ate their crush­ing de­but al­bum, Debt. It’s re­lent­less, ut­terly dis­ori­en­tat­ing and as full-on as it gets, all while


be­ing dif­fi­cult to pin down to a sin­gle genre... un­less ‘very fuck­ing noisy’ counts as one.

“We never re­ally knew what we wanted to make,” shrugs Steve. “Whether we were a punk band or a hard­core band or a metal band. It’s just like, ‘What do we like? Stuff that’s an­gry and fast? OK, let’s do that.’ It’s a mix­ture of all of our var­i­ous in­flu­ences.”

True, and there’s a def­i­nite melt­ing pot of in­spi­ra­tions on dis­play through­out the al­bum, but one in­flu­ence seems to loom large that is to­tally at odds with al­most any band that you’ll read about in the pages of this magazine: the long­for­got­ten un­der­ground punk bands of the pre-grunge move­ment.

“We took a lot of in­spi­ra­tion from that jar­ring kind of noise scene,” Steve nods by way of agree­ment. “We are re­ally into stuff like The Je­sus Lizard, Shel­lac, Melvins. I think we’re in a po­si­tion now in this coun­try with a lot of bands where noth­ing re­ally fits in one place.”


the con­fines of com­ing from a place on the out­skirts of the coun­try could have made it dif­fi­cult for

Help­less to prop­erly get off the ground, but ac­tu­ally, in a round­about way, it may have aided the young­sters in tap­ping into a more open-minded ap­proach. and the re­sults cer­tainly speak for them­selves.

“Yeah, I ac­tu­ally think it has helped,” con­sid­ers Steve with a smile. “Be­cause the scene is smaller, there isn’t as much pres­sure to con­form to that one sound. any­thing we do is ba­si­cally a bonus – just talk­ing to you is more than we re­ally thought we would ever do as a band any­way! So we just made the music that was most likely to sat­isfy us. That’s what you do if you reckon no one’s ac­tu­ally go­ing to hear it.”

Peo­ple are go­ing to hear this, though, and we’re pretty sure they’ll be sat­is­fied, too. Pre­pare for Help­less to blow your speak­ers very soon.


Dan, Steve and Rusty are Help­less but they’re far from hope­less

Vo­cal­ist Dan: not weighed down by his Debt

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