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Record Review - 2 January 06 2001


Like San Francisco's Fucking Champs, Kent, Ohio's Party of Helicopters play taut black metal masquerading as indie rock, but stripped of irony. Now that progish math rock bands such as Don Caballero and Trans Am have reclaimed the riff, bands like the Fucking Champs and the Party of Helicopters are free to harmonize guitar solos to their heart's content without having to apologetically call it a theme band. After all, childhood hero Bruce Dickinson just rejoined Iron Maiden and Rob Halford is finally playing prime metal again. The time is ripe to rip!
But these guys aren't pure wankers. Sure, there's something about the cold Great Lakes states that produces hot licks, but Party of Helicopters aren't some cheap trick, and don't limit themselves to mere aggro-rock or second-wave Brit-style metal. With their menacing leads softened by post-psychedelic pop vocals, Party of Helicopters could play to a legion of jeans-jacket touting Venom fans or saggy-pants wearing Deftones fanatics. "Just As Astral" even cops a bit of Kiss's "Detroit Rock City."
Though their sound may be as technically adept and compelling as their late-'70s to early-'90s forebears, the Party of Helicopters don't take themselves too seriously as a harbinger of hair metal's second coming. Their last album was called Abracadaver, the opening song on Mt. Forever is "Rock Me Amedusa" and there's no mention of a future line of skeletal mascot merchandise. No, the Party of Helicopters just prove that every hardcore punk has a streak of hesher, and sometimes there's no harm in stripping off your agenda, slipping on your favorite metal T-shirt, letting your bangs plaster your forehead and playing fucking rock fer Christ's sake.
The Party of Helicopters play MJQ Concourse, Mon., Jan. 8.