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February 2000
Released: 1989, Metal Blade Records
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: DethHead

Classic Pick Of The Month

Helstar, from Houston, TX, USA, are one of the best keep metal secrets of the late 1980's featuring the now Destiny's End legendary vocalist James Rivera. James Rivera, being the only full time original member since the formation in 1980 has proven why he's THE Helstar vocalist time and time again, with his powerful range and amazing lyrical topics. The band became defunct after their 1995 CD "Multiples Of Black", released on Massacre. This is a double bass filled abrasive assault, ala Slayer and Sanctuary along with Helloween, and everything else in there. Technical musicians out there (no matter if you're a bassist, drummer, vocalists, keyboardist) will literally go ape shit for this METAL MASTERPIECE!

Helstar have five albums under their belt: 1984 "Burning Star" (Combat), 1986 "Remnants Of War" (Combat), 1988 "A Distant Thunder" (Metal Blade), 1989 "Nosferatu" (Metal Blade) (THE BEST), 1995 "Multiples of Black" (Massacre - same label as Forbidden's Distortion). This band is a thrash maniac's dream come true. Especially on the "Nosferatu" album - the others being more power metal/thrash oriented. "Nosferatu" was there 4th album and their last release on a U.S. label. This album features Larry Barragan (g.), Frank Ferreira (d.), James Rivera (v.), André Corbin (g.,kb.), and Jerry Abarca (b.,p.,kb.) The album was produced by Bill Metoyer, and for those fans out there that love the technical thrash bands who were underrated like Dark Angel, Forbidden, Death Angel and RacerX will love this and you will literally shoot yourself in the head if you do not get this. Helstar, like these previous mentioned outfits, were definitely underrated and fall in the same category. The question still yet unanswered is why this band never achieved the cult status within the metal community? As far as technical prowess goes, this band could stand against the mighty Malmsteen, Watchtower, and the almighty Cynic and Death. This band is in limbo and it's uncertain if things will continue. I hope so for METAL'S SAKE.

Great guitar interludes, amazing horrific movie intro's. Just UNBELIEVABLE! "Baptized in blood" as well as the other songs have some real great Slayer stylings in there with some great Yngwie Malmsteen flourishing in the mixture, great vocal range with those high pitched screams of Forbidden like styling. This is THRASH metal through and through. Chaotic time changes, aggressive power styled thrash vocals, amazing rhythm section, some of the best guitars/bass I have heard, the drums are also extremely technical. "Perseverance and Desperation" features a brief 10 sec drum solo, quite impressive even if it's eleven years old. Fans of FORBIDDEN'S "Chalice of Blood" and "Twist into Form" will be like holy shit this is just as superior as FORBIDDEN but even more technical - no joke! The similarity is unbelievable. But don't take my word on it, buy this CD from Metal Blade, you will not regret it.

The album's entire first 6 tracks is based on Bram Stoker's vampire character Dracula - and this was years before all this Cradle of Filth / black metal stuff. Samples have been taken from the 1979 Dracula movie starring Frank Langella as The Count. Great mythology-based song's entitled "Aieliaria" and "Everonn" appear in Nosferatu. James Rivera actually uses two of the songs which he re-used in Destiny's End's debut album LP "Breathe Deep The Dark" on Metal Blade Records.

There is a very good possibility that Metal Blade Records will be releasing a live album from the Nosferatu tour, recorded Christmas evening 1989 in Helstar's hometown of Houston. The name of the album, according to James Rivera, will likely be "'Twas the Night of a Hel-ish Christmas." James was hoping for a near-Christmas 1999 release date but the latest news I heard is that it is now slated for release on May 9th, 2000. Their last album, "Multiples of Black", before the break-up, consisted of five of ten songs. These five were produced by Megadeth bassist David Ellefson in 1995. After this James Rivera went on to sing in the bands Chaotic Order and New Eden. As most know he's currently in a band called Destiny's End with ex-members of New Eden. James is also fronting a Houston cover band named PROJECT RIVERA. They play early 80's heavy metal covers (i.e. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest). Jerry Abarca is also in a cover band named LA RAZA CONNECTION. Frank Ferriera was the drummer for Houston cover band Geri's Hat Tricks, which has apparently run its course and has disbanded.
Track Listing






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