Various Artists – “Meantime (Redux)” (Magnetic Eye Records)
Helmet remain one of the most prominent bands of the 90s. Founded by Page Hamilton in New York City, their punchy, cutting edge alt metal style has been instrumental in spawning the ‘post…’ genre of bands, many of whom resonate Helmet’s influences in their material. “Meantime” was the band’s sophomore success, released on a major label (Interscope) and making the Billboard 200 at a respectable 68 ranking, and to this day still making back catalogue sales. Around the time of its release in 1992, Greatdayforup and Ironweed guitarist Mike Vitali was coming of age, and “Meantime” certainly made its mark, so much so that as today’s founder of Magnetic Eye Records, he has decided to honor its 25 year legacy with this compilation. Covering all 10 original tracks are various underground ‘…conjurers, curators & avant-gardists…’ like New Jersey’s experimental hardcorers Sunflo’er covering ‘Unsung’ to Florida’s The Glorious Rebellion (who ‘play the devil’s music…’) destroying ‘FBLA II’. Among the punk noise grinders are Berlin’s Earthship who presented an awesome and quite unexpected jack boot stomping version of my favorite number ‘Ironhead’ although I have to say that all the contributors – including Vitali’s own doom noise crew – did huge respect to the material by not taking anything away from the original style while adding their own subtle mark of identity. With clearly enough participation for the project, “Meantime (Redux)” has 6 additional tracks taken from Helmet’s other albums like ‘Milquetoast’ from “Betty” being handled by Virginia’s post hardcore crew Brief Lives and ‘Sinatra’ from the debut “Strap It On” given the Boston grime crossover from Livver. I’m not usually one for compilations but when they’re done well they really hit the mark so well done Mikey Vitali!