Aftertaste (album)

Studio album by Helmet
Released 18 March 1997
Recorded July–November 1996 at Capitol and Hollywood Sound in Los Angeles and RPM in New York
Genre Alternative metal, post-hardcore
Length 40:42
Label Interscope
Producer Dave Sardy and Helmet
Helmet chronology
Unsung: The Best of Helmet (1991–1997)
Singles from Aftertaste
  1. "Exactly What You Wanted"
    Released: 1996
  2. "Like I Care"
    Released: 1997[1]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Rolling Stone[3]
Pitchfork Media(8.4/10)[4]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[5]
Alternative Press[6]

Aftertaste is the fourth album by Helmet, released in 1997 on Interscope. This proved to be Helmet's final album with original members John Stanier (drums) and Henry Bogdan (bass). Guitarist Rob Echeverria, who appeared on Helmet's previous outing, Betty, left the group to join Biohazard. Subsequently, the album was recorded as a three-piece, with Page Hamilton covering all the guitar parts. Guitarist Chris Traynor (formerly of Orange 9mm) came on board for the supporting tour.

This is the final Helmet album to feature John Stanier, shown here.

Aftertaste harkens back to Helmet's earlier sound, omitting some of the experimental/jazz tendencies of Betty. The album met with a mixed critical reaction and poor commercial response and went out of print in 2006.[7]

This album along with Meantime and Betty is considered a definitive text in post-metal.[8]

Writing and production

Hamilton said his goal in writing the album was to create a greater mix between smarts and crunch.

"I don't want to say that I'm sick of the visceral animal response that we get - I'm not, But I need more than that. I need more than seeing a bunch of kids jumping around and breaking each other's noses. I feel like I really need to communicate with an audience who will listen. I'm painted into a corner. Whatever I write in a rock 'n' roll context will elicit a conditioned response, unless I quit rock and make a country record or something."[9]

Aborted 1996 release

The album was close to being released in the fall of 1996, with promotional interviews being held (Visions Magazin 09/1996 cover story) and advance tapes being sent to journalists. A 1996 version of the track "Insatiable" featuring the same intro that appeared as the final albums intro to "Pure" was released on the German Metal Hammer's magazine CD "Offroad Tracks Vol4" in the fall of 1996. The album release was withdrawn and the mix duties were handed from Producer Dave Sardy to Terry Date. The version of "Pure" that appeared on the "Exactly What You Wanted" CD single in 1997 appears to be taken from this early version of the album. The track list of the early version wouldve held Insatiable as the opening track and Pure as the album closer. "Renovation" at the time was not included in the album as it was to be contributed exclusively to a Soundtrack compilation album.


The album was met with mixed to positive reviews from music critics. AllMusic staff writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave the album a negative review, writing "Without the invention of Betty or the gut-level force of Meantime, Helmet is simply a bland alternative metal band, lacking riffs, hooks, and purpose and relying only on volume. It's a shocking and disheartening turn of events for one of the more intriguing metal bands of the '90s."[2] Muse bassist Chris Wolstenholme has mentioned Aftertaste as his favourite album.[10]

Track listing

All tracks written by Page Hamilton, except where noted. 

No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Pure"    3:32
2. "Renovation"  Bogdan, Hamilton, Stanier 2:55
3. "Exactly What You Wanted"    2:36
4. "Like I Care"    3:19
5. "Driving Nowhere"    4:19
6. "Birth Defect"    2:31
7. "Broadcast Emotion"    2:44
8. "It's Easy to Get Bored"    3:26
9. "Diet Aftertaste"    3:16
10. "Harmless"    2:58
11. "(High) Visibility"    2:58
12. "Insatiable"  Bogdan, Hamilton, Stanier 2:31
13. "Crisis King"    3:54
Total length:
Japanese bonus track
No. Title Length
14. "Complete"   2:50
Total length:

Chart positions


Year Chart Position
1997 The Billboard 200 47


Year Single Chart Position
1997 "Exactly What You Wanted" Mainstream Rock Tracks 19



Guest Musician



  1. "Helmet (2) - Like I Care (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  2. 1 2 Aftertaste at AllMusic
  3. 3/6/97 Archived November 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. Archived June 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. "No Title". Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  6. 4/97, p.74
  7. "helmet aftertaste". Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  8. "HELMET Rediscovery". X-Press Online. 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2007-03-31. Albums such [as] Meantime (1992), Betty (1994) and even Aftertaste (1997) eschewed the traditional concept of heavy music, trademarked the drop-d power-groove in 5/4, and pioneered a whole new trend in music. Even now, these albums stand on their own as definitive texts in post-metal.
  9. "Helmet's riff-heavy, smart sound hits S.L.". Deseret News. 1997-07-04. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  10. "muse : archives - - July 1999".
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