Helms Alee / Young Widows: Split
(Sargent House, 6/3/14)
Each a veteran of boundary-bending hardcore—from sludge to dissonant alt-rock to pop-metal perfection—Helms Alee and Young Widows were a natural fit to tour together and, having done so, release a split EP.
Helms Alee opens the Sargent House release with the frenetic head-banger “Punchy Stabby.” In just over a minute and forty seconds, it echoes the best of Sleepwalking Sailors, acting as a powerful addendum. The beautifully weird “PAN” is static and fuzz that showcases the band’s vocal switches and tight arrangements. “Gas Giant” soars, closing Helms Alee’s portion of the album dramatically.
Young Widows immediately sets a more dour tone. “Field of Zzzz” dreams of reverb and buzz, punctuated with steadfastly depressive lyrics. “The Wanderer” is an up-tempo travel song, with guitar almost (but not quite) overpowering the vocals and shooting through a simple but perfect solo. The band finishes with “The Waves Came In,” a tragic hymn with a climactic feel.
Whether you’re an old fan or new to each band, you owe it to your ears to give this six-track fury a listen.