Seeing Eye Dog

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In Helmet's twenty years over a dozen musicians backed up Page Hamilton, and with the exception of Chris Traynor, who played bass for Helmet’s previous two albums, Seeing Eye Dog boasts another new lineup. Yet, with every shift, it seems Hamilton distances himself from the band’s golden years in the early ‘90s. Now with guitarist Dan Beeman and drummer Kyle Stevenson, the group sounds heavier and angrier. Those looking to hear the classic sound clash of alt-metal and post-punk that gave the band roots should stick with the first three records (especially when the 2010 deluxe edition of Betty offers bonus tracks). Even so, in this new incarnation, when Helmet sidesteps the typical drop-D Modern Rock that makes up the majority of Seeing Eye Dog (as well as Size Matters and Monochrome), there are some interesting twists. Shoegaze and power pop are slipped into "LA Water," the Foo-Fighters-esque “In Person” focuses on tight melodies, and a sweeping string instrumental titled “Morphing” shows off Hamilton’s abilities to craft moods as a Hollywood composer. Most of the album stays sludgy though, and Seeing Eye Dog tends to drag more than it hits. The inclusion of a mediocre cover version of “And Your Bird Can Sing” might be telling. [Some editions of Seeing Eye Dog included a bonus disc of Helmet performing live in San Francisco on the 2006 Warped Tour.]

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