I am a big Helmet fan, and their last album, "Betty", was my favorite, in spite of (or maybe because of) its experimental nature. This album is a return to the straight-ahead form of their best known album, "Meantime" (whose first single, "Unsung," was an MTV staple).

Page Hamilton, the lead singer and primarly songwriter, has abandoned the more unusual elements introduced on "Betty" (such as a song in 7/8 time, an instrumental cover of the jazz standard "Beautiful Love", and the electric banjo-fueled blues stomp "Sam Hell") and returned to the unstoppable wall of chords that characterize Helmet at their best.

The production on "Aftertaste" is a little slicker than their previous efforts (a lot like Nirvana's "Nevermind"), and the hooks more evident, but Page Hamilton's rage is still the prime mover of Helmet's material. Fans will definitely want to pick this one up, and it's an excellent starting point for the uninitiated.

Chris Pace

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