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Jack Starr's Burning Starr
Hold Your Ground
September 2017
Released: 2017, High Roller
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Manos X

Jack Starr’s Burning Star is a US band with a slight unusual story behind it. Created way back in 1984 when guitarist Jack Starr exited Virgin Steele after 2 albums “Virgin Steele” and “Guardians of the Flame” Jack Starr’s Burning Star released 4 albums from 1985 to 1989 and just when beginning to leave their mark on the metal world they suddenly vanished without a trace!

Nothing was heard from these guys and it seemed this was just another band that got but then suddenly in 2009 almost 20 years DEFIANCE was released. Following its release LAND OF THE DEAD came out 2 years later and now we’ve reached to the 3rd album since their reappearance titled “Stand your ground”.

Jack Starr has made up his mind of what musical path he wants to follow since his Virgin Steele’s days. Heavy metal with tons of epic embellishments and style that is quite close to classic bands like Manowar, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Manila Road and of course Virgin Steele. The main difference is that While Starr doesn’t care for replicating the cliches of ‘80s bands in order to be relevant he’s chosen to go along along the genre’s expected ones.

His main influences exist in Deep Purple (from the ‘70s) and Rainbow with a slight touch of Black Sabbath from their glorious ‘80s era (when they featured vocal titans like Ronnie James Dio and Tony Martin). Starr’s main influence is of course Richie Blackmore and this so evident both in leads and rhythm parts. That means very melodic solos and plenty of guitar based harmonies. Also the riffs can sometimes bring Iron Maiden to mind (again from their golden and ultra successful ‘80s era)

As you can imagine these guys create music that is quite unusual for these days. Instead of playing tighter and faster they prefer to play mid tempo, instead of bringing the guitar riffs forward they bring the vocals. Basically they rely on strong song structures and vocal melodies like the majority of the bands following this genre.

Because of this bass and drums have a clearly supported role here that can be a little bit weird especially if you think who’s sitting behind the kit which is non other than Rhino (ex-Manowar, ex-Death Dealer, Ross the Boss) who is an absolute monster. Vocals have are being handled by the impressive Todd Michael Hall (Riot V, Harlet, ex-Reverence). Hall’s voice and wide range sounds at times like a young Rob Halford (Judas Priest ‘70s days) and for some reason he brings to mind Mike Sanders who sung on the frantic progthrash Toxik’s album “World Circus”. However I can’t but comment that despite the beautiful high notes and crystal clear delivery some variation or a heavier approach in the vocal delivery would be welcome, check out “False Gods” and you’ll get what I mean.

Production and mixing have given “Stand Your Ground” an organic natural sound but there are things to be missed here. A heavier sound would be welcome but I guess Jack Starr wanted to create an album that will sound as ‘80s as possible. There are plenty of interesting and strong moments like “Hero”, “The Enemy”, “Stand your ground” featuring an emotional ballad style break in its end, or “We are the one”.

Jack Starr’s Burning Star latest album is like a window to an era long gone but surprisingly not forgotten and I’m sure it will appeal to fans searching for a new genre related release especially since almost all of its pioneering bands haven’t created anything worthy of mentioning in the last 15 years (or more). It is obvious Starr creates music suiting his own taste and while it stays true to its roots it unfortunately doesn’t branch out or becomes adventurous as it could instead. This guy was there from the beginning so in a way that makes sense but unfortunately the persistence of being “true” can also be HOLD YOUR GROUND's Achilles's heel.
Track Listing

1. Secrets We Hide
2. The Enemy
3. Stand Your Ground
4. Hero
5. Destiny
6. The Sky Is Falling
7. Worlds Apart
8. Escape from the Night
9. We Are One
10. Stronger than Steel
11. False Gods
12. To the Ends


Jack Starr Guitars
Ned Meloni Bass
Todd Michael Hall Vocals
Rhino Drums



Other reviews

» Hold Your Ground
by Manos X

Next review: » Jack Starr's Burning Starr - Defiance
Previous review: » Jack Starr - Out Of The Darkness (reissue)

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