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ALBUM REVIEW: Debt – Helpless

When there’s a new ‘heaviest band in the world’ every five minutes, there’s a NAILSALL PIGS MUST DIE or TRAP THEM around every corner, it can be hard for bands of that hardcore influenced grind-y ilk to actually deliver. How do you be extreme and intense when everybody and their mums sound extreme and intense? HELPLESS have the answer with their debut album Debt.

HELPLESS are a Plymouth three piece made from former members of GODSICK and BROTHERHOOD OF THE LAKE mixed in with hocks of rage and spit. Anyone still missing those two underground projects will be ecstatic to know they can get their fix again with Debt. The debut delivers just 22 minutes of grind and hardcore ferocity, very much in the kin of the aforementioned NAILS mixed with the bleakness and nihilism heard on drummer Russell ‘Rusty’ Cleave work on BROTHERHOOD OF THE LAKE’s Desperation Is The English Way (on which he played guitar, not drums, but the sonic similarities are still very much there). Dan Couch’s guitars bend and mould to whatever tone Debt intends to deliver with great fluidity. He’ll either be delivering CONVERGE levels of noise at a furious pace as heard on Grief Vultures or delivering harsh and bleak atmosphere like on the intro of Sinkhole before slowing down to a thudding rhythm like on the brilliant closer Denied Sale.

It’s those changes in rhythm that stop Debt falling into the backdrop like some lacking extreme projects do, or becoming a wall of attacking noise like an AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED record does. Just as you’re getting used to the assault being laid upon you for five tracks, Sertraline drops a slow beatdown in its midway point before throwing you back into the carnage, this also comes back in an earth shaking way on tracks like Ceremony Of Innocence. These are also the points where you can fully hear the weighty cohesiveness of the band, especially in Rusty’s drums and Steve Waldron’s thumping bass. Debt’s closer Denied Sale has a repetitive plodding beat that drills its way into your head for five minutes and almost feels like a break from the chaos in the way Japanese water torture is a break from waterboarding (in a good way of course).

Whilst the balls heavy parts are brilliantly done, it’s those creative against the grain moments on the record which what stop HELPLESS from being another agro-as-hell grind band and make them frightfully promising. Debt makes itself stand out from the screaming crowd by taking a breath once in a while, and because of that, it’s louder than everything else. 

Rating: 8/10

Debt - Helpless

Debt is out now via Holy Roar Records.

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