Helpless craft gritty and chaotic hardcore for the depraved and dejected on their debut full-length record, Debt.
This Plymouth, UK-based trio created ugly music for ugly people. Modern hardcore grit, grindcore brevity and fury, mathcore volatility and angularity, and a ludicrous amount of dissonance converge all at once in their disfigured tunes. Staying true to their namesake, Helpless‘ twisted version of hardcore will batter and maim listeners, leaving them mortally wounded, immobilized and, well, helpless.
Following their 2015 self-titled EP, Helpless continue on their path towards metallic apocalypse with Debt, leaving a slew of bodies in their wake. The album delivers 10 mangled songs in 22 blistering, unyielding minutes. With the exception of its five-minute closing track, these tracks are quick bursts of filthy, grinding madness that range anywhere from 60 seconds to two minutes tops. Once the record begins, Debt wastes no time inflicting as much aural punishment as possible, remaining consistently viscerally angry and acidic up until its final moments.
“Worth” kicks everything off with 90 seconds of vitriolic hardcore, dizzying rhythmic shifts and grimy, dissonant riffs. The drumming is absolutely explosive and seismic, bruising the listener with each rhythmic punch and locks horns with the metallic bass lines for added violence. The guitars churns out skull-caving hardcore riffs that writhe and spiral out of control at a moment’s notice, often giving rise to nauseatingly dissonant structures and heavy breakdowns. The icing on the chaotic cake are the vocals, which growl and scream with as much venomous spite as the music itself.
“Out of Commission” weaves together the band’s angular hardcore with off-kilter grooves that twitch and jerk in various directions at various times. As the song progresses the riffs get noisier, dissonant and sparser, nearly slowing to a halt before climaxing with an array of spiraling, techy riffs. Shorter tracks such as “Sertraline” and “Sinkhole” attempt to pack in as much unpredictable instrumentation within their 60-second timeframes. Both tracks build towering walls of guitar-generated noise and feedback that either give way to brief bursts of bludgeoning grind (“Sinkhole”) or frantic, mathcore adjacent insanity (“Sertraline”).
Tracks such as “Weightless Prayers” and “Ceremony of Innocence” conjure bestial, blood-thirsty hardcore instrumentation that often trade in their muscular grooves and chords for grinding, vile riffs and rhythmically-jarring beatdowns. These particular tunes also build into atonal, Gorgutsian sprawls that trap the listener beneath their menacing lurches and putrid dissonance. It doesn’t matter what method of attack Helpless deploys on this record, the results are always devastatingly heavy.
Helpless‘ debut album is hellaciously violent, unforgiving and devoid of hope. Debt delivers more pain and bloodshed in a mere 20 minutes than its contemporaries do in greater lengths of time. It’s ugly and fierce and not recommended for those with heart conditions. Fans of the darker and more frenetic sides of hardcore and metal will not want to pass this one up.
Release Date: September 8, 2017
Label: Holy Roar Records
Favorite Tracks: “Out of Commission”, “Moral Bankruptcy”, “Weightless Prayers” and “Manufactured Consent”
For Fans Of: Gaza, Reproacher, Coalesce, Crowpath and Great Falls