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30 Years Of Hel
January 2013
Released: 2012, AFM Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Unless you’re a forest-dwelling black metal orc, winter is a time to find a warm place to hide, and what better place than a packed club filled with people head banging to heavy metal? To get you comfortable, this month we’ll be covering six recently-issued live albums from the likes of: Gamma Ray, Helstar, Mr. Big, U.D.O., Vicious Rumors, and Y&T. Grab a beer (or your drink of choice), get warm, and enjoy the music!

Note: some of these were released as CD/DVDs; however the reviews cover the CDs only.

Texas ’Helstar has always been one of the more respected speed/thrash bands to come up in the heady‘’80s and the band have been on a tear lately with their comeback albums THE KING OF HELL and GLORY OF CHAOS. It may be hard to believe, but 2011 marked thirty years since the band first formed and the band commemorated the occasion with a special show in their home state.

Given that this was such a momentous occasion, the band took care to ensure their entire career was well-covered in the set list. Each studio album is represented by three songs, with the exceptions of the less-heralded MULTIPLES OF BLACK with one song, and their newest release, GLORY OF CHAOS, which gets four. It’s a great overview of the band’s career and it’s amazing to hear how well the newer songs fit in with the classics.

Musically, the album is flawless as you would expect. Helstar is criminally overlooked for their musicianship, especially guitarists Larry Barragan and Robert Trevino. Vocally, James Rivera is the same eccentric singer he’s always been, and you can hear that age is beginning to take its toll. He still belts out his lyrics with power and precision, but he can’t quite hit the highs that he used to – understandable given the amount of time that’s passed since he first recorded these songs. His stage banter does tend to fall flat, but this is a minor quibble.

I honestly can’t think of anything else I’d want from a Helstar live album; except for maybe a high-quality one recorded during their heyday. Even so, this absolutely rips and is a must-have for the band’s loyal fans.
Track Listing

Disc 1:
1. Angels Fall to Hell
2. Towards the Unknown
3. Suicidal Nightmare
4. The King is Dead
5. Burning Star
6. To Sleep Perchance to Scream
7. The Plague Called Man
8. Evil Reign
9. Monarch of Bloodshed

1. Winds of War
2. Good Day to Die
3. Wicked Disposition
4. Pandemonium
5. Bitter End
6. Harker’s Tale
7. Angel of Death
8. Baptized in Blood
9. Alma Negra
10. The King of Hell
11. Run With the Pack


James Rivera: Vocals
Larry Barragan: Guitar
Robert Trevino: Guitar
Jerry Abarca: Bass
Michael Lewis: Drums



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