HELMS ALEE RETURNS TO TOTAL FEST.
Helms Alee are one of those bands that came out of nowhere and just straight up knocked me on my ass. I'd heard of their guitarist Ben Verellen's old band Harkonen in passing, but to be honest, I'd never checked them out (later smacking my forehead about that one). Anyway, I remember grabbing their first record, Night Terror, on a whim from my friend Andy's label when it came out a couple years back. A minute or two into the first track, I think my jaw dropped on the floor in utter shock at the weird, complex and amazingly heavy and melodic mix of sounds that came out of this little ol' three piece. Due to my geographic location at the time, it wasn't until last fall that I was actually able to see them live. And in that dark, dank Missoula basement, those songs from their LP (and much fabled demo 12" of which I then grabbed a copy) were fully realized for me, finally in a live setting. That said, they aren't super technical -- it's the range of sounds and textures that they create from such minimal instrumentation and vocals is what that makes them so unique. It's got equal parts of full-on, head crushing, sludgey riffs with sugary, border-line dreampop melodies and a few sparse, instrumental dirges here and there... it's hard to explain but utterly awe inspiring and all makes sense to me.
They played Total Fest a few years ago, and we're excited to have them back for Total Fest X this August. By then they'll have released a new full length on Hydrahead (out June 21st) and will be fresh off a long haul across the US with Big Business, Torche and Thrones (hell of a line-up, eh?). While we wait, let's marinade on a brand new song and a great older, live video here: