by James Olson
Helms Alee boasts a well-cultivated voice on their fourth record Stillicide.
Hailing from the rain-drenched shores of Washington State, Helms Alee have crafted a distinctive and instantly recognizable blend of sludgy, experimental, melodic hard rock. Each of the trio’s members — Dana James (bass/vocals), Hozoji Margullis (drums/vocals), and Ben Verellen (guitar/vocals) — lend their voices to create searing yet resonant multi-part harmonies to their music which shake the listener to their core. Their fourth record, Stillicide, might be their best yet with “Tit to Toe” building into a soaring climax and “Galloping Mind Fuk” living up to its title in every pummeling capacity. As to the exact origin of this sound, Verellen’s answer is direct. “Having three people with different backgrounds and different voices, it came together without a lot of intention. Just giving it a go to see what comes out and the sound of the band came together pretty much immediately.”
Along with their own diverse experience in past projects, Verellen cites tour mates post-rockers Russian Circles and the legendarily heavy Melvins as beacons of inspiration for Helms Alee. “They’ve been creative for a long time and keep at it consistently,” says Verellen. “We spent three months out with those bands last year and it was cool to see how they do things and keep it good and light but still get intense when it comes to the music.”
Last month marks the 10-year anniversary of Helms Alee unleashing their maelstrom upon the music world. For Verellen the time has truly blazed by. “[Hoz and Dana] are my best friends, and we push each other all the time in and outside the band,” says Verellen. “We feel real lucky that we’re all as motivated about music as we are. [We’re] planning to do this for a long, long time.”
Helms Alee and Waingro play on April 6 at the Biltmore Cabaret.Helms Alee, The Biltmore Cabaret