Maybe Peter Mengede contributed more than I thought.
I saw Helmet live once in 1991 or so, at Virginia Tech (with Vockins I think!!)- right before they were signed to the big major label. Mengede had a crushing sound, a full stack vintage marshall JMP, a Les Paul and a menacing stance for such a well dressed guy. I liked it a great deal when he contributed to the solos in the one or two songs he played them on. Fingernails on a chalkboard.
Mengede and Stanier were the well-coiffed dudes in the band. Paige was just a tennis player with an ESG (or a PRS) and a fancy rack-of-lights guitar rig.
Still not crap for the first few albums. Everything after Betty was dumb. Actually, most of Betty is dumb too...