Helm: Silencer (Pan)
The most noteworthy thing about “Silencer” is its percussive clatter, all midrange toms in a start/stop pattern. It sets the release apart immediately from Helm’s varied but generally less rhythmic repertoire. Once it begins to evolve, “Silencer” sounds like the scary junction of a haunted funhouse, a drumming dirge, and a gamelan orchestra. It has the fury of vintage Neubauten or Test Dept. but with a slipperier disposition; it’s immediate but not necessarily confrontational. By contrast, “Mirrored Palms” is a prolonged series of drones punctuated slowly with a deep bass thud — it’s an awesome wall of drones that is far more intense than the more active opener, despite its minimal, plodding rhythm. “Bergamo” brings back more drumming, but reverberating from a distance while murky sounds of water, feedback, and piano innards build and consume the space. “The Haze” is more spacious and patient, with a vaguely dubby sound that recalls the dark amble of Raime, muted, steady drums scattered through the stereo spectrum while insect-like chirps and chatter fill in the spaces between. A gliding, looming dread dominates the track as taut drones increase in scale, harnessing the same tension that characterized “Mirrored Palms” earlier.
This rhythmic output from Helm is some of best stuff I’ve heard from Helm to date; Silencer delivers on the promise of his previous flirtations with rhythm and expands upon it with this handsome foursome of tracks.