If there is one Hydra Head release this year that I have been looking forward to most it’s Helms Alee’s Weatherhead. As soon as the announcement was made that the band would be release a new full-length after their “Lionize”/”Truly” 7” I was stoked. Helms Alee is one of those bands that to me truly defy a solid category. They’re all over the place musically. Metal, noise, shoegaze, pop…all mixed up in what anyone would think is a wall of cacophony but it works to be beautiful and jarring music.
Weatherhead is awesome. It shows a much-more solid band sharpening their knife on the stone of whatever style of music they want to make. The record leaves the listener guessing as to what will come next with each song.
Hydra Head, as expected did a nice job with this release. Nice full and glossy jackets. Vinyl thick. Three colors: green, pink, and black. I only picked up the green on a whim when the pre-orders were first posted. Turns out that the green is the Vacation Vinyl / Hydra Head exclusive color our of 100 pressed. Score!
One nice touch to the artwork and design is that they took all the label and song listings and instead of putting them on the back of the jacket, they’re on the spine. Different and inventive.
Now…I may be a Hydra Head fanboy and all, and there’s no contesting that…but the one criticism I do have of the release is the jacket itself. This is a 2xLP. It would have been a better use of the artwork to have this is in a gatefold jacket. The artwork could have been expanded in a sturdier jacket. The single jacket for a 2xLP is a bit flimsy (surprisingly unlike prior HH releases that are in thick Stoughtn tip-on jackets) and takes away from the overall presentation. Not to mention that if it had been in a gatefold jacket it would have made it much more worth the price. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not savyy in the record-releasing business so I do not know what it all entails in deciding/factoring in how a release gets produced and all its logistics in package design and whatnot.
But all of that set aside…Weatherhead kicks ass. Safe to say that it is Helms Alee strongest outing. I am now looking forward even more so to hearing the songs performed live when I catch Helms Alee playing with Torche and Big Business in mid-July.
And oh yeah..another awesome thing about Weatherhead…possessed cats all over the artwork. Meow!
“Scary cats since 1995”