Helmet was started in New York in 1989 by Jazz trained guitarist Page Hamilton (vocals/guitar), who had briefly been a member of Band Of Susans. In 1990 he completed the line-up with Peter Mengede (guitar), Henry Bogdan (bass) and John Stainer (drums) and recorded a one-off for Amphetamine Reptile' titled Strap It On (1991), an album of no nonsense and unconventional Henry Rollins styled Hardcore Metal with avant-garde rhythmic structures drawing influences from Black Sabbath and Black Flag. The follow-up Meantime (1992) on Interscope'was their breakthrough making 68 in the U.S. proving to probably be their most successful work ever, especially amongst the Metal crowds; the band to this point could have been considered anything but Metal, for as a musical style they relied little on flashy guitars, wore short hair and signed to decidedly non-Metal record labels. But the Hardcore styles in Metal were on the rise making them a strong contender to write the books on the style in the future, in effect they were ahead of their time.
The following year Mengede left to join Hansome to be replaced by Rob Echeverria in time for their 12 single release Just Another Victim (1993) collaboration with House Of Pain recorded for the Judgement Night soundtrack. Betty (1994), on the Atlantic' subsidiary East West', ended off being another trans-Atlantic success at 45 U.S./38 U.K., an album that sported the track Milquetoast that was used on The Crow film soundtrack. After Chris Traynor replaced Echeverria who left to join Biohazard, Aftertaste (1997) was released to a 47 U.S. chart position. The albumproved to be their most mature work yet but was unfortunately overlooked. By 1998 the band decided to break up, with frontman Page Hamilton intending to pursue a solo career and the others continuing in other projects. By 2004, however, they were reforming.