Just short of five years on from their acclaimed 2017 debut album, Debt, HELPLESS return with their sophomore album - titled Caged In Gold, due for release on March 25 via Church Road Records. Furthering their sonic blueprint of grindcore and discordant noise, the South West, UK trio’s second full length shows that time has not blunted their penchant for extremity in the slightest.
Following tour and standalone show support slots alongside acts such as Full of Hell, Nails and Gatecreeper, as well as festival appearances at Download and Dreadfest, Dan Couch (guitar / vocals) found himself as the sole founding member of HELPLESS before bringing Caged In Gold to life. Fortifying their line-up with the additions of both Simon Walker on bass and vocals and Sam Trenchard on drums and vocals, the three-piece’s second full-length’s gestation period was a complicated but fruitful one.
Caged In Gold is the pith of all that HELPLESS are, as they lay down a gauntlet of ill-natured grind and vitriolic blackened riffs alongside cacophonously inharmonic rhythms. In less than 30 minutes, HELPLESS affirm their growing reputation as masters of callous brevity on cuts such as the jarring The Empty Gesture and frenzy-inducing Unseen Servant, before closing proceedings with complete despondency on the four-minute monolith The Great Silence.
As chock-full of technicality and cohesive malevolence as their sophomore effort is, there’s a starkness to HELPLESS’ sound that is captured in sobering fashion by Chris Nicholls’ painted artwork - a primal terror that lurks in all of us. Which, below the surface of all of HELPLESS’ fury, lies at the heart of the trio’s savage virtuosity.
01. Wraiths of Memory
02. The Empty Gesture
04. Another Sunlight
05. Single File
06. Time Worship
07. Focus Group Extraction
08. Unseen Servant
10. The Great Silence