Helmut - XI IX XI

10 songs
51:44 minutes
***** ***


It’s been known that the Swiss can rock even since Gotthard. But there is of course also offspring waiting to be discovered. The band with the unusual name Helmut is one such example, and they don’t do a bad job at all. In 2007 they released their EP Mjöllnir, two years later followed by their first longplayer titled 12. Their second album with the bizarre title XI IX XI has been produced by a member of Gojira.

The five musicians combine rock, metal and blues into something one might call sludge. The album starts with an interesting instrumental where Helmut boldly cruise between folk, psychedelia and stoner. The first regular track Divine Kebab is thanks to the raw vocals a heavier track where the band is oscillating between southern rock and psycore. This may be one of the most aggressive tracks on the album, but there are rarely any cosy moments, except on the psychedelic The Legend Of Glen Baden which comes with a sitar part. Even though the pace is often rather slow, the songs still have an enormously intensive and threatening atmosphere. Comparisons to Mastodon, Crowbar and Baroness are in order, although Helmut are definitely more than just mere copycats. One track that stands out is Colsom Blues which gives its title justice and features next to the raw vocals also clean ones that remind a little of Glenn Danzig. The titles of the songs are sometimes rather curious: Divine Kebab, Karl Lagerfeld and Doomkopf prove that the band has quite a sense of humour.

Crossover can be tricky, but Helmut master it all. XI IX XI is neither too heavy nor too tame and has all it takes to appeal to a broad audience. I can even imagine that their timeless rock music has the potential to make it really big. I for one would definitely would be happy for them.

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