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Album Review: Stillicide by Helms Alee

Washington state trio Helms Alee release their fourth album Stillicide on 2nd September via Sargent House. As to be expected from their previous material; Night Terror (2008), Weatherhead (2011), and Sleepwalking Sailors (2014); Stillicide provides a sprawling and dynamically diverse landscape, taking in big heavy riffs, dark guitar pop and elements of math rock.

While it’s a enjoyable album it doesn’t set the world alight and becomes a little bit of a challenge by the sixth track. It’s one of those albums that makes you contradict yourself, listen to it in two sittings and you’re on to a winner, one sitting is just too much of a slog.

Each track on Stillicide is a beast, big soaring riffs and meaty punches are the order of the day, but there’s a distinct lack of energy that contributes to it being a slog. While being good tracks they also err towards being a tad too long and drawn out. Prime examples being ‘Tit to Toe’ and ‘Meats and Milks’ which both have elements of brilliant tracks but end up hanging around for too long and meandering into ‘meh’ territory. It’s a particular shame on the latter of the two, there’s some stunning riffs and beautifully intricate parts in there, you just wish there could have been a little more filtering done.

It’s with the heavy moments that you feel Helms Alee really excel. Take the title track or the chugging riffs of ‘Galloping Mind Fuk’ and you’ll find some of the best work the band have committed to record. ‘Galloping Mind Fuk’ in particular is the highlight of the album and one occasion where the track doesn’t outstay its welcome, neatly condensed in under 3 minutes this is feels more like the perfect track length. Likewise, ‘Bullygoat’ just meets the two-and-a-half-minute mark and continues to sound fresh and invigorating throughout. Conversely, it contains some the most challenging and abrasive guitar tones yet ends up being an easier listen than most other tracks.

If it wasn’t for the drawn out nature of tracks like ‘Creeping You Company’ and ‘Worth Your Wild’ then you feel Stillicide could be a phenomenal album. If these tracks were a little more refined and edited, then they’d be absolute belters. What could’ve been great becomes just better than average.

AD Rating 6/10

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