Meantime (album)

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This article is about the album. For other uses, see Meantime.
Meantime
Studio album by Helmet
Released June 23, 1992
Recorded December 1991 – February 1992 at Fun City, New York City except "In the Meantime" recorded at Chicago Recording Company, Chicago, IL
Genre Alternative metal, Heavy Metal, groove metal, noise rock
Length 35:36
Label Interscope
Producer Steve Albini,[1] Andy Wallace, Helmet
Helmet chronology
Strap It On
(1990)
Meantime
(1992)
Betty
(1994)
Singles from Meantime
  1. "Unsung"
    Released: 1991[2]
  2. "In the Meantime"
    Released: 1992[3]
  3. "Give It"
    Released: 1992[4]

Meantime is the second studio album and major label debut by the American alternative metal band Helmet, released on June 23, 1992 through Interscope Records.

Despite initially only achieving moderate commercial success, peaking at number 68 on the Billboard 200 chart upon release in 1992,[5] the album influenced multiple bands in its wake,[5] and has been well received by music critics and is considered an influential album of the metal genre.[6] Meantime has continued to sell consistently well in the years since its release, and in 1994 was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

Helmet released one single from Meantime, "Unsung", which was a charting success on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart, and remains their best-known song. Music videos were also made for "Unsung", "Give It" and "In the Meantime".

Recording and production[edit]

After the release of their nine song debut album Strap It On, the band found themselves at the center of a major label bidding war,[6][7] eventually signing to Interscope for a reported budget of US$1 million.[6] In the wake of the grunge band Nirvana's recent success, many touted Helmet as the next big thing.[6] Regarding the band's label as "the next Nirvana", Hamilton said "They were interested in us before Nirvana even broke. And that's good, because we're obviously not it. I actually had an A&R guy at one label tell us that we were the next U2. At a certain point it just becomes ludicrous."[8]

Helmet entered a studio in New York City in December 1991,[9] booking two months of studio time in which to record the album.

The song "In the Meantime" was recorded by Steve Albini and later remixed by Andy Wallace. The contrast between Wallace's style of mixing, which involves (among other things) triggered samples and a cleaner more polished sound (leading to the album's distinctive half wood, half metal snare drum sound), irritated Albini. Later, when in negotiations to record Nirvana's In Utero, he stipulated a clause be added to his contract stating that Wallace would not be allowed to remix the album, after he had mixed Nevermind, which was released nine months before Meantime.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[10]
Entertainment Weekly B−[11]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[12]
Kerrang! 5/5 stars[13]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[14]

Meantime was Helmet's first breakthrough album. Upon its release in June 1992, Meantime peaked at number 68 on the Billboard's Top 200 album chart and number one Top Heatseekers chart. The album granted Helmet international recognition. To date, Meantime is the only Helmet album to go Gold in the United States.

The album received positive reviews, John Franck of Allmusic labeled Meantime "arguably one of the most influential and overlooked rock records of the '90s". He praised the music "colored by Teutonic riffs, with only 'Unsung' hinting at a gasp of commercial accessibility". In regards to the album's success, he also claims that Helmet "were curiously touted as the next big thing". Meantime received a rating of four and a half out of five stars, while "Unsung", "Give It" and "In the Meantime" earned Helmet its heaviest airplay on MTV and radio stations.[5][6] Steffan Chirazi of Kerrang! defined the album "a wall of angry, bitter and agonised New York street cries", giving it maximum ratings.[13]

Legacy[edit]

The sound of Meantime, with Page Hamilton's staccato riffs, jazz-influenced chords and solos, and dual-voice singing style, proved influential to nu metal, post-grunge and alternative metal bands. This album, along with Betty and Aftertaste, is considered a definitive text in post-metal.[15]

Album cover[edit]

The album cover features an image of a man in a white protective suit shoveling some substance on the ground. It is taken from a photograph by David Plowden, "Puddler In Blast Furnace Cast House, Steel Mill, East Chicago, Indiana (1979)".

The album is available with one of two reversely-colored covers; one has a blue background with a white-on-red Helmet logo, and the other has a red background with a white-on-blue Helmet logo (pictured above).

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Page Hamilton

No. Title Length
1. "In the Meantime"   3:11
2. "Ironhead"   3:23
3. "Give It"   4:17
4. "Unsung"   3:59
5. "Turned Out"   4:13
6. "He Feels Bad"   4:02
7. "Better"   3:09
8. "You Borrowed"   3:49
9. "FBLA II"   3:22
10. "Role Model"   3:31
Total length:
35:36

Chart positions[edit]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Meantime. "Meantime: Helmet: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  2. ^ "Helmet (2) - Unsung". Discogs. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Helmet (2) - In The Meantime". Discogs. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Helmet (2) - Give It (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "MusicMight :: Artists :: HELMET". musicmight.com. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Franck, John. "allmusic ((( Meantime > Review)))". Allmusic. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  7. ^ SPIN - Google Books. Books.google.com.au. Retrieved 2013-02-22. 
  8. ^ Spin. September 1992. p. 79.
  9. ^ The exact date that the recording of Meantime began is uncertain.
  10. ^ Brackett, Nathan. "Helmet". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. November 2004. pg. 373, cited March 18, 2010
  11. ^ Browne, David. "Meantime". Entertainment Weekly. August 1992. pg. 62, cited March 18, 2010
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Helmet". robertchristgau.com, Retrieved on March 18, 2010.
  13. ^ a b Chirazi, Steffan (20 June 1992). "Helmet 'Meantime'". Kerrang! 397. London, UK: EMAP. 
  14. ^ "Helmet - Meantime (album review 3)". Sputnikmusic. 2005-01-16. Retrieved 2013-02-20. 
  15. ^ "HELMET Rediscovery". X-Press Online. 2007-03-28. Archived from the original on 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2007-03-31. Albums such [as] Meantime (1992), Betty (1994) and even Aftertaste (1997) eschewed the traditional concept of heavy music, trademarked the drop-d power-groove in 5/4, and pioneered a whole new trend in music. Even now, these albums stand on their own as definitive texts in post-metal. 
  16. ^ "Helmet;– Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved December 20, 2007. 
  17. ^ "Helmet album charts [albums]". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2007. 
  18. ^ a b "Helmet;– Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved December 8, 2007.