Helen of Troy – For All Those Who Sailed Foreign Seas: The Goodbye EP

Helen of Troy
For All Those Who Sailed Foreign Seas: The Goodbye EP

Helen of Troy was a hardcore band from New York that had been around for a couple of years. As far as I know, the band only released a handful of records before deciding to call it quits. This is the final recordings of that band, and it is excellent. Fear not though, because from what I hear the members of HOT went on to form The Gospel, another great band whose full-length on Level Plane is coming out real soon. It might be a good idea to go ahead and tell you that The Gospel sounds almost exactly like these Helen of Troy songs from the few songs that I’ve heard, so if you like this record then you should pick that one up when it comes out, and if you like The Gospel and you haven’t heard Helen of Troy then find this little EP ASAP.

For All Those… is a short EP consisting of only four songs and one noise track. The first song throws you right into the fire with an extremely aggressive sound that is reminiscent of mid 90s DC-area bands such as Shotmaker, Sleepytime Trio, or Max Colby. The singer is a dead ringer for the guy from Sleepytime Trio in fact. I would go so far as to say that the resemblance is eerie. The songs go from quick bursts of choppy guitar parts mixed with segments of straight-up blast-beat drumming to parts that are very psychedelic. Guitar lines intermingle and entwine over sinewy basslines with plenty of reverb thrown in for an extra loopy effect. Before you know it, the band switches gears again for another full-bore attack. It’s these kinds of breakneck changes that made Helen of Troy expecially exciting.

This release surprised me in a number of ways. First of all, I had seen Helen of Troy about two years ago at a local indie-rock venue here in town and didn’t really think the band was all that great. When playing, its members seemed really distracted as if they almost didn’t even care to be playing at all. There was almost no one there, so I’m not sure if it is one of those bands that feeds off the audience, but that night there almost wasn’t one. This recording more than makes up for that by providing all of the energy that I felt was lacking at that show. Upon first listen to this, I almost couldn’t believe I was hearing the same band. Secondly, the last track on the record is a 23-minute noise epic similar to the kind of expansive audio attack that might be closer to Black Dice, Hair Police, or even SunnO))) in content. The guitars don’t even sounds like instruments so much as tools, and the drums are nearly nonexistent. I know some of you might not like this kind of stuff, and that is perfectly fine. Helen of Troy was nice enough to put it as the last track on here, so you can easily skip it. For all of us noisemongers though, it is a nice treat at the end of an already incredible record.

If you lift the CD out of the tray, underneath there is a picture of the band’s name written out in cocaine with a razor blade right next to it. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a joke or whether the musicians want you to think that they really love their coke. Either way, the music is still very intense and definitely worth checking out. Helen of Troy, you will be sorely missed.