Helm - Vol. 3... Panthalassa

Helm - Vol. 3... Panthalassa

Helm are everything that’s right about Australian heavy music in the current climate. Being every bit as dynamic as Karnivool, just as crushing as Neurosis and possessive of similar beauty as Sleepmakeswaves is no mean feat. However, on their third record, titled Vol. 3… Panthalassa, Helm have achieved that in spades. On the other hand, they are also criminally underrated, and between albums two and three were almost a casualty of the fickleness of today’s live music fan.

In a musical sense, Panthalassa is heavy. Real heavy. Of course, there are the chest beating, brutal moments recalling bands like The Ocean and Cult of Luna, however it is the atmospherically heavy moments that set the record apart. For example, the record’s standout ‘The Taxidermist’ moves between heavy and light with ease. Elsewhere, ‘Bermuda’ sees Lucas Stone’s most impressive vocal performance to date, mixing screams, growls and haunting cleans with ease.

It’s easy enough to compare Helm to similar post and progressive groups, however it’s also probably a disservice to the Gold Coast quintet. Panthalassa is an amalgamation of a wide array of genres, however the band never seems to be copying anything outright. Perhaps the best example is ‘Albatross,’ which moves from gang vocals through to hardcore and finishing up in melancholic rock, and importantly, it works. This is also where the band have improved out of sight, adding a bunch of strings to their bow, whilst also honing in on what they’re best at – conveying ‘heavy’ in as many ways as possible.

Put simply, Helm are probably Australian heavy music’s best kept secret. However, judging on Panthalassa alone, the band deserve to be known on a global scale. In fact, it’s fair enough to call Panthalassa the best local heavy release of the year.

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