Album Review – Debt by Helpless (Holy Roar Records)

Debt is the name of the debut full length album from British extreme metal band, Helpless. Due out on September 8th via Holy Roar Records, Debt is set to explode eardrums with a fast and furious, rage filled record from a band being compared to the likes of Nails, Converge and Gaza.

With a few weeks until release, Helpless are nicely established after a well received debut self titled EP. They are gaining in popularity too with Metal Hammer recently calling them “The UK’s nastiest band”. It doesn’t give you much of a clue but they did follow that up by saying “Helpless’ upcoming album is a filthy, grinding slab of aural abuse, and we love it.”

At it’s base, Helpless are a grindcore/hardcore band with little steps towards death metal. Hailing from Plymouth, UK, the band are Steve, Rusty and Dan. Dan is on vocals and guitars, Rusty is on drums and Steve is on bass.

Debt

Debt has ten tracks on it and you can check out the full track listing at the bottom. To say that the album is emotionally raw, dark and supremely aggressive seems an understatement. The band take no time in throwing crushing blows at your cranium with opener Worth. It’s a fast and ferocious assault. Blistering drums and a pounding riff combine with roared vocals to instantly let you know what Helpless are all about.

There are plenty more relentless attacks too. Grief Vultures is probably one of the heaviest 64 seconds of music you are likely to hear this year. Sinkhole has a slower, despair saturated feel to it with a loose drum beat and technical riff. This builds into an explosion of anger mixed with some great guitar noises before suddenly stopping. Sertaline is absolutely ferocious in it’s start before briefly switching to an almost black metal section with dark vocals and booming drums. This passes and we move into a more rhythmic mix of guitars and drums through to the close.

In amongst all this frustration and ferocity there is also a huge slab of grooving rhythm provided by the excellent riffs. Out of Commission has a catchy, slower beat to it’s intro. The vocals are still intense and it is supremely heavy as it moves into a brilliant drum solo that gives you a brief second to catch your breath. Quickly the intensity raises again though with a strong riff and even stronger vocals.

There are songs all over Debt that will make you take notice. The chunky riffs on Weightless Prayers mixed with an off beat drum rhythm are a treat for the ears. The intro to Moral Bankruptcy really stands out too. The guitars sound perfect mixed with the harsh vocals though the ending is a bit drawn out. The intensity of Manufactured Consent’s opening minute is terrifying and brilliant. As it moves into a slower thumping section half way through, it is impossible not to bang your head. The guitar soloing section, though more of a riff, adds some unexpected melodic metal to the mix too.

Debt

The final track, Denied Sale mixes things up with a crunching bass intro that is joined by brilliant high toned guitar leads. The song moves into a section of muffled vocals and drums before the guitars explode back in again. It is an intense and addictive sound and structure. The song goes quiet, except for a single repeating drum tap that introduces a chugging, bass heavy riff and slow thumping drum rhythm that will force every head in the house to bang away for the rest of the track.

Debt is without a doubt one of the heaviest metal albums to come out this year so far. It’s brilliance comes not just in that though. It is the little touches that make it. The muffling of the vocals, a bass line, a guitar squeal or a drum roll – all these little touches serve to elevate the songs immensely. Add to those the numerous heavy breakdowns and the suffocating riffs and you get the feeling this album is going to be huge for Helpless. I hope so. They certainly seem to have giving their all. You get a sense of real emotional intensity from Debt. It is an amazing debut from a band with a massive future.

You can also catch Helpless live at the following places –

August 30th at the Underground, Plymouth

November 11th at the Cube Microplex, Bristol

You can preorder Debt Helpless’ Bandcamp page and from Holy Roar here now. Find out more about Helpless on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Make sure you like and follow them while you are there. Check out the links below for more from Helpless and Holy Roar as well.

1 – Worth

2 – Out of Commission

3 – Grief Vultures

4 – Moral Bankruptcy

5 – Sertaline

6 – Weightless Prayers

7 – Ceremony of Innocence

8 – Sinkhole

9 – Manufactured Consent

10 – Denied Sale

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Debt by Helpless (Holy Roar Records)
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