It's been six years since Helmet released Seeing Eye Dog, to fairly underwhelming and mixed reviews, scraping past without anything outside of average reviews. This is a far cry from the golden age of the band, which most agree was in the early to mid-90's. Most also agree that the group have managed to influence countless acts in the alternative, punk, and metal scenes, and this influence has likely been what has driven Page Hamilton's spearheading of the outfit.
What keeps this release on an even keel is the trademark guitar work that has never dipped below great throughout the band's career. There is groove, and menace, and fire in every riff, and a sense of urgency runs throughout the record, minus the hiccup "Green Shirt" which, for me, remains an unnecessary and entirely outside-of-the-point exercise in sweetness and syrupy melody.
Where the album shines is when it's diving into grittier terrain, though the occasional hiccups here are that it can sometimes come across as juvenile ("Shut the fuck up, shut the fuck up", Page Hamilton might say, as he does closing out "I <3 My Guru") and sometimes strained and reaching (see "Expect The World"). But for me, tracks like "Life Or Death", "Red Scare" and "Die Alone" are examples of an artist who still has the ability to excel in the realm of heavy meets groove.
Dead To The World is a solidly average album. It's only a shame because of the lofty heights that the band established early on in their career. Here's hoping that the highlights of this album are the type of material that Hamilton will focus on and showcase more often going forward.
Dead To The World Track Listing:
01. Life Or Death
02. I <3 My Guru
03. Bad News
04. Red Scare
05. Dead To The World
06. Green Shirt
07. Expect The World
08. Die Alone
09. Drunk In The Afternoon
10. Look Alive
11. Life Or Death (Slow Version)