elmet 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 US proving to probably be their most successful work ever, especially among the heavy 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-heavy metal record labels. But the hardcore styles in heavy 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 under unhappy circumstances 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 US/38 UK, 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 US chart position. The album proved 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 reformed when Hamilton decided to resurrect Helmet, with a new lineup of John Tempesta on drums and Chris Traynor (bass; guitarist on the Aftertaste support tour). The band's first post-reunion album, Size Matters (2004) followed.
Bassist Frank Bello was then recruited so Traynor could concentrate on guitar. However, Bello would not last long, and left to reunite with Anthrax. Jeremy Chatelain replaced Bello for live performances briefly. Tempesta also left in early 2006 to join the reunited The Cult.
After singing to 'Warcon Enterprises', Helmet performed at the 2006 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, with a temporary lineup of Charlie Walker (drums), Chris Traynor (bass) and Anthony Truglio (guitar; ex-Gandhi). The next album, Monochrome (2006), arrived featuring Hamilton and Traynor along with newly recruited drummer Mike Jost (ex-Adair).
By Seeing Eye Dog (2010), the line-up had switched again to feature Hamilton, Jost and Traynor, along with Dan Beeman (guitar), Kyle Stevenson (drums) and Jeremy Chatelain (bass). Dave Case would assume bass, and Jost would depart for Dead to the World (2016).
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|City||New York, New York|
|Active Years||1989-1998, 2004-|
|RRCA File Code||UC000129|