Meantime (album)

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Helmet Meantime.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 23, 1992[1]
RecordedDecember 1991 – February 1992
StudioFun City, New York City except "In the Meantime" recorded at Chicago Recording Company, Chicago, IL
GenreAlternative metal,[2] noise rock,[3] post-metal
LabelInterscope, Amphetamine Reptile[1]
Helmet chronology
Strap It On
Singles from Meantime
  1. "Unsung"
    Released: 1991[4]
  2. "In the Meantime"
    Released: 1992[5]
  3. "Give It"
    Released: 1992[6]

Meantime is the second studio album and major label debut by 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,[7] the album influenced multiple bands in its wake,[7] and has been well received by music critics and is considered an influential album of the metal genre.[8] 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,[8][9] eventually signing to Interscope for a reported budget of US$1 million.[8] In the wake of the grunge band Nirvana's recent success, many touted Helmet as the next big thing.[8] 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."[10]

The song "In the Meantime" was recorded by Steve Albini and later remixed by Andy Wallace. Wallace would make additional changes to the album and the contrast between his 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.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[8]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[11]
Christgau's Consumer Guide(2-star Honorable Mention)(2-star Honorable Mention)[12]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[13]
The Philadelphia Inquirer3.5/4 stars[15]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[17]
Spin Alternative Record Guide8/10[19]

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.[7][8] Steffan Chirazi of Kerrang! defined the album "a wall of angry, bitter and agonised New York street cries", giving it maximum ratings.[14]


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 and alternative metal bands. This album, along with Betty and Aftertaste, is considered a definitive text in post-metal.[20] In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked Meantime as 54th on their list of 'The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.'[21]


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 tracks are written by Page Hamilton.

1."In the Meantime"3:11
3."Give It"4:17
5."Turned Out"4:13
6."He Feels Bad"4:02
8."You Borrowed"3:49
9."FBLA II"3:22
10."Role Model"3:31
Total length:36:56


Credits taken from the CD liner notes.





  1. ^ a b Russell, Deborah (June 27, 1992). "Helmet covers bases via major/indie push". Billboard (v. 104, n. 26). p. 44. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  2. ^ Terich, Jeff (September 18, 2011). "The 90 Minute Guide: Metal, Part Two". Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  3. ^ Earles, Andrew (March 31, 2015). "The Revival of Cherubs". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  4. ^ "Helmet (2) - Unsung". Discogs. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  5. ^ "Helmet (2) - In The Meantime". Discogs. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  6. ^ "Helmet (2) - Give It (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c "MusicMight :: Artists :: HELMET". Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Franck, John. "Meantime – Helmet". AllMusic. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  9. ^ SPIN - Google Books. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
  10. ^ Spin. September 1992. p. 79.
  11. ^ Kot, Greg (July 9, 1992). "Helmet: Meantime (Interscope)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Helmet: Meantime". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  13. ^ Browne, David (August 21, 1992). "Meantime". Entertainment Weekly: 62. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  14. ^ a b Chirazi, Steffan (June 20, 1992). "Helmet: Meantime". Kerrang!. London (397).
  15. ^ Moon, Tom (July 5, 1992). "Helmet: Meantime (Interscope)". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  16. ^ Azerrad, Michael (September 17, 1992). "Helmet: Meantime". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 27, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  17. ^ Kot, Greg (2004). "Helmet". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 374. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  18. ^ Perry, Andrew (August 1992). "Helmet: Meantime". Select (26): 93.
  19. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "Rolling Stone Share Their Choices For 'The 100 Greatest Metal Albums Of All Time'". June 21, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  22. ^ "Helmet;– Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  23. ^ "Helmet album charts [albums]". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  24. ^ a b "Helmet;– Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved December 8, 2007.