Helms/Victory at Sea [Split Single]

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Although Victory at Sea had recorded a full-length album prior to this split EP, it's still a debut of sorts for both bands. This CD marked Boston's Helms' first nationally distributed release. With two songs split between each band, the disc opens with a crawling riff from Helms, until it begins to stop and start with ten-second pauses. Just as the listener thinks the song has come to a final halt, a door is opened in the track that lets in the light of a very wide bridge. Chords crash and the drums become dominant with hollered screams until the number turns into a bona fide epic. That song is followed by Helms' "The Smallest World in the World," which spins in a circular pattern due to Sean McCarthy's rhythm guitar work. A universal-type atmosphere is created, as the song's title implies. Both tracks are an amazing introduction to the band. As for Victory at Sea, their song "Angel" is what you'd come to expect from the group. It takes the same quiet ideas that singer/songwriter and guitarist Mona Elliott displayed on the band's debut album, The Dark Is Just the Night, with quiet solitude and inner reflection. The standout from the three-piece is "The Driver," where new drummer Fin Moore adds a rockier edge than former skins-woman Christina Files. Moore has an abrupt attack, which causes Elliott and bassist Mel Lederman to change their approach. Elliott even throws in a galloping solo, while Moore acts as a John Bonham protégé, which causes the song to take on an "Achilles Last Stand" quality.

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