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Metal - Released April 26, 2019 | Sargent House

The fifth full-length effort from the sludgy, but oh-so-melodious Puget Sound power trio, Noctiluca delivers the goods with a versatile ten-track set that plays fast and loose with heavy metal parameters. Named after bioluminescent marine algae that responds to stimuli -- it glows when it's turned on -- Helms Alee come out of the gate bucking with "Interachnid," a relentless bit of business that pits wailing post-rock guitar and seismic low end -- bassist Dana James' amp most definitely goes to 11 -- against a staccato dance-punk backbeat. Soaring just above the din are the sonically, but not emotionally disparate voices of James and drummer Hozoji Matheson-Margullis (all clarion clear) and guitarist Ben Verellen (all bestial might), who eke out some inventive overtones from their clean/scream partnership. The aptly named "Beat Up" follows suit, administering a continuous volley of haymakers, and a nice bit of major/minor guitar manipulation -- "Play Dead" presents itself as similarly unrelenting, before unveiling its soaring, harmony-laden back half. Helms Alee have always managed to coax multitudes of sound from their limited setup, but late-album gems like the cavernous "Spider Jar" and the shoegaze-y wonder of "Pandemic" feel downright stadium-sized in their aural ambitions -- they also sound like they were shot through a wormhole from the mid-'90s. Produced with steely efficacy by Sam Bell (Minus the Bear, R.E.M., the Cars), the nine-track Noctiluca feels both streamlined and expansive, and is easily Helms Alee's most multi-faceted and majestic outing to date. ~ James Christopher Monger

Metal - Released February 20, 2019 | Sargent House


Rock - Released March 27, 2019 | Sargent House


Metal - Released April 17, 2019 | Sargent House