Helios Creed - "On Tour 1999"
(Staticwhitesound 2001, Static-1PR)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
Recorded "somewhere in California", the latest Helios Creed album is a live one, heavy on earlier HC releases from the '80s (not counting Chrome, though). Of course this is pretty straight-forward ear-bleeding psychedelic metal-punk from one man's singularly twisted interpretation of rock 'n' roll. But is such a description really "straight-forward"?? Such is the perplexity of this guy's solo albums, which have fortunately carved themselves a niche even outside the Chrome legacy. The versions here vary little from their studio counterparts in structure, but the pure live sound makes up for this with raw excitement. The guitar chainsaws through massive classic riffs while the rhythm section pounds relentlessly. Helios shouts in his regular punk voice, but also modulates his voice from extremes of helium-squealing to monstrous low-end growling, both often giving a twisted echo effect as well. My favorite is the live rendition of "Who Cares", an absolutely pissed-off diatribe using great effect of contrasting the creepy quiet passages and the parts where the whole group launches into this classic super-heavy slow-pounding riff. "Who fuckin' cares anyway-anyway-anyway...!!!" Hasn't that always been HC's musical philosophy?
The song choices as a whole are excellent. The best songs from "Kiss to the Brain", "XL-35" and the title-track, are both paid proper respect. More oldies in the form of "Too Bad" and "Invitation" represent HC's more fun side. Some of the real heavies are saved for last. The hardcore/punked-out "Monster Lust" exterminates brain cells, dustmites, whatever. The essential "Master Blaster" is of course present and is indeed "a fucked-up sound". The ultimate live HC ear-bleeder "Late Bloomer" isn't quite as forceful as the version on Bursting Through The Van Allen Belt, but still kills. The album ends with "I Condemn You", one of the more recent tunes represented, but you wouldn't really know the difference. It's just been over a decade and a half of consistent sonic assault. Surprisingly nothing from '98's Activated Condition. No matter, I guess... If people play rock 'n' roll on brutal sci-fi slave planets... then that must be where HC comes from. His alien cohorts here being Rodney Horihata/bass and the ever-present Paul Della Pelle/drums and Z Sylver/synth.
On Tour 1999 is distributed by Staticwhitesound, the same folks who host what is probably the most informative Chrome side on the web. Visit them at: http://www.staticwhitesound.com/.
You can also visit Helios Creed's web site at: http://www.helios-creed.com/.
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg