Meantime is the second album and major-label debut by Helmet, released in 1992 on Interscope Records.
Meantime has continued to sell consistently well in the years since its release, and in 1994 was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Helmet released one single from Meantime, "Unsung", which was a charting success on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart, and remains their best-known song. The album itself reached #68 on Billboard's Top 200; an unexpected success for the band. Music videos were also made for "Give It" and "In the Meantime".
The sound of Meantime, with Page Hamilton's staccato riffs, jazz-influenced chords and solos, and dual-voice singing style, proved influential to both post-grunge bands and later alternative metal bands such as Deftones.
After signing to Interscope for a reported budget of US$1 million, Helmet entered a studio in New York City in December 1991, booking two months of studio time in which to record the album.
The song "In the Meantime" was recorded by Steve Albini and later remixed by Andy Wallace. The contrast between Wallace's style of mixing, which involves (among other things) triggered samples (leading to the album's distinctive half wood, half metal snare drum sound), and Albini's style of recording, irritated Albini. Later, when in negotiations to record Nirvana's In Utero, he stipulated a clause be added to his contract stating that Wallace would not be allowed to remix the album, although he had mixed Nevermind, which came out a year before Meantime's release.
Meantime was Helmet's first breakthrough album. Upon its release in June 1992, Meantime peaked at number 68 on the Billboard's Top 200 album chart and number one Top Heatseekers chart. The album granted Helmet international recognition. To date, Meantime is the only Helmet album to go Gold in the United States.
The album received positive reviews, John Franck of Allmusic.com labeled Meantime "arguably one of the most influential and overlooked rock records of the '90s". He praised the music "colored by Teutonic riffs, with only "Unsung" hinting at a gasp of commercial accessibility". In regards to the album's success, he also claims that Helmet "were curiously touted as the next big thing". Meantime received a rating of four out of five stars, while "Unsung", "Give It" and "In the Meantime" earned Helmet its heaviest airplay on MTV and radio stations.
The album cover features an image of a man in a white protective suit shoveling some substance on the ground.
The album has been initially available with one of two reversely-colored covers; one has a blue background with a white-on-red Helmet logo, and the other has a red background with a white-on-blue Helmet logo (pictured above).
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