HELSTAR

US Power Metal / Thrash Metal • United States
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Helstar began its quest in 1982. The line up consisted of James Rivera (A.K.A Bill Lionel) (vocals), Larry Barragan (guitar), Tom Rogers (guitar), Hector Pavon (drums) and Paul Medina (bass). By 1984 the band had signed with Combat Records and recorded its first album entitled "Burning Star". The average age of the band at that time was 19! After gaining much critical acclaim, the band began to splinter because of their management situation. It was at this time that James and Larry decided to part ways with the rest of the band and guide Helstar in a new direction.

Helstar recorded "Remnants of War" in 1985 with a new and powerful line up. Jerry Abarca, Rob Treviño, and drummer Rene Luna joined the band and released "Remnants" in 1986 for Combat records. Once again the band received much praise from around the world. Helstar embarked on its first US tour
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Burning StarBurning Star
Extra tracks
Emd Int'L 2009
$25.41
King Of HellKing Of Hell
Extra tracks
AFM Records Germany 2012
$8.13
$13.47 (used)
VampiroVampiro
EMP LABEL GROUP 2016
$13.24
$13.54 (used)
Remnants Of WarRemnants Of War
Extra tracks · Remastered
Emd Int'L 2009
$14.12
$9.44 (used)
Rising From The Grave (2CD+1DVD)Rising From The Grave (2CD+1DVD)
Remastered
Metal Blade 2010
$6.46
$7.67 (used)
Sins of the PastSins of the Past
Afm Records 2012
$7.68
$6.48 (used)
NosferatuNosferatu
Reissued
Metal Blade 1996
$22.44 (used)
30 Years Of Hel (2CD/DVD)30 Years Of Hel (2CD/DVD)
AFM Records 2012
$11.26
$12.83 (used)
Helstar - This Wicked NestHelstar - This Wicked Nest
AFM Records 2014
$9.11
$13.98 (used)
Glory of ChaosGlory of Chaos
AFM Records 2011
$8.44
$13.47 (used)
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HELSTAR CD HELSTAR CD "Nosferatu" Signed Autographed Thrash Metal RIGOR MORTIS MILITIA USD $24.98 Buy It Now 6 days
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HELSTAR Sins of the Past CD 13+ trks FACTORY SEALED NEW 2008 AFM Locomotive USA HELSTAR Sins of the Past CD 13+ trks FACTORY SEALED NEW 2008 AFM Locomotive USA USD $13.88 Buy It Now 7 days
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Helstar - Rising From The Grave (NEW 2CD+DVD) Helstar - Rising From The Grave (NEW 2CD+DVD) USD $9.46 Buy It Now 8 days
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Helstar Burning star vinyl LP Album US pressing Helstar Burning star vinyl LP Album US pressing USD $16.31 Buy It Now 8 days
Helstar - A Distant Thunder (cassette) Helstar - A Distant Thunder (cassette) USD $7.00 Buy It Now 8 days
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HELSTAR HELSTAR "Remnants Of War" Autographed Texas Thrash Metal Militia Rigor Mortis USD $18.00 Buy It Now 8 days
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HELSTAR REMNANTS OF WAR noise 86 orig Lp EX+ HELSTAR REMNANTS OF WAR noise 86 orig Lp EX+ USD $26.12 Buy It Now 9 days
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HELSTAR Discography

HELSTAR albums / top albums

HELSTAR Burning Star album cover 4.14 | 14 ratings
Burning Star
US Power Metal 1984
HELSTAR Remnants of War album cover 4.21 | 15 ratings
Remnants of War
US Power Metal 1986
HELSTAR A Distant Thunder album cover 4.62 | 19 ratings
A Distant Thunder
US Power Metal 1988
HELSTAR Nosferatu album cover 4.46 | 18 ratings
Nosferatu
US Power Metal 1989
HELSTAR Multiples of Black album cover 4.56 | 7 ratings
Multiples of Black
Thrash Metal 1995
HELSTAR The King of Hell album cover 4.53 | 8 ratings
The King of Hell
Thrash Metal 2008
HELSTAR Glory of Chaos album cover 4.33 | 10 ratings
Glory of Chaos
Thrash Metal 2010
HELSTAR This Wicked Nest album cover 4.62 | 7 ratings
This Wicked Nest
Thrash Metal 2014
HELSTAR Vampiro album cover 4.14 | 9 ratings
Vampiro
US Power Metal 2016

HELSTAR EPs & splits

HELSTAR live albums

HELSTAR Twas the Night of a Helish Xmas album cover 1.50 | 4 ratings
Twas the Night of a Helish Xmas
US Power Metal 2000
HELSTAR 30 Years of Hel album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
30 Years of Hel
Thrash Metal 2012

HELSTAR demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

HELSTAR 1983 demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1983 demo
US Power Metal 1983
HELSTAR Live demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live demo
US Power Metal 1983
HELSTAR Demolition album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demolition
US Power Metal 1990
HELSTAR 1993 demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1993 demo
US Power Metal 1993
HELSTAR Promo Demo 1993 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Promo Demo 1993
US Power Metal 1993

HELSTAR re-issues & compilations

HELSTAR The James Rivera Legacy album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The James Rivera Legacy
US Power Metal 2001
HELSTAR Sins of the Past album cover 4.21 | 3 ratings
Sins of the Past
Thrash Metal 2007
HELSTAR Rising From The Grave album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Rising From The Grave
US Power Metal 2010

HELSTAR singles (0)

HELSTAR movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Burning Alive
US Power Metal 2006

HELSTAR Reviews

HELSTAR Burning Star

Album · 1984 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Burning Star" is the debut full-length studio album by US heavy metal act Helstar. The album was released through Combat Records in 1984. Helstar were formed in 1981/1982 in Houston, Texas, and released a demo in 1983 before being signed by Combat Records for the release of "Burning Star".

Stylistically the music on the album is traditional heavy metal. Artists like early Iron Maiden and Judas Priest are valid references but Helstar put an American twist on the sound. It´s not US power metal yet though, as it´s still rooted too much in traditional heavy metal for that. The band are very well playing, and I especially noticed the many incredibly well played guitar solos and the strong vocals by James Rivera. The latter has a strong voice and a commanding delivery. He sings raw heavy metal type vocals and spice it up with som piercing high pitched screams. The rhythms and the guitar riffs are fairly standard for the genre, but still of a high quality.

The sound production is unpolished and raw, which is to be expected from a heavy metal album release from 1984. The sound suits the material well. All material on the 8 track, 35:05 minutes long album are well written, powerful, and cathy and upon conclusion "Burning Star" is a strong debut album by Helstar. The average age of the band members were supposedly around 19 years at the time, which makes the album an even more impressive release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is well deserved.

HELSTAR Glory of Chaos

Album · 2010 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Glory of Chaos is not quite as strikingly groundbreaking as Helstar's classic run of early US Power Metal albums - it's not even in the same style, to begin with, the band having shifted gear to an aggressive, screamy, Exodus-with a-bad-hangover style of thrash metal, and thrash is a field which feels like there's very little genuinely new to accomplish there. Nonetheless, despite shifting from one well-trod genre to an even more well-trod genre with more competition, Helstar still manage to turn in a quality album which stands out from the pack - not so much that I consider it particularly essential, but enough so that if you cannot get enough thrash you could do way, way worse than giving Helstar a fair shake.

HELSTAR Burning Star

Album · 1984 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Helstar's debut album finds them bursting straight out of the gate with a solid selection of early 1980s-style US power metal songs. Were it not for the cheesy, rudimentary cover art of a spooky wizard on the front cover of the original Combat issue of the album, you'd be hard-pressed to guess that this was just their first album rather than the release of a seasoned, experienced band who'd mastered their craft. (The wizard artwork was replaced by the far superior spaceship illustration on most editions.)

Musically, we're talking catchy, raucous celebrations of pop culture, hedonism, and a bit of "Leather and Lust" - classic 1980s metal subject matter, in other words. The great thing about Helstar is that they can take that well-trod material and make it sound just as awe-inspiring and exciting as it was when you first heard someone singing about it, and even at this early stage of their career they'd already got the hang of that trick.

HELSTAR Vampiro

Album · 2016 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Nightfly
Over more recent years Helstar have been responsible for some very good to excellent thrash/power metal albums, the last being 2014’s This Wicked Nest. Whilst this leant heavily towards thrash their earlier work was more in the traditional metal and US power metal style. I have to be honest and say I never knew what all the fuss was about with A Distant Thunder which I know is loved by many but for me things improved when the thrash started creeping in. I know a lot of fans prefer this era but I feel they’ve hit a rich vein of late releasing much of their best work yet. Vampiro sees a partial return to earlier times with less emphasis on the thrash elements.

Not for the first time have Helstar visited the realms of Vampires. Long-time fans will remember 1989’s Nosferatu, a firm favourite of many and their debut also contained a song called Dracula’s Castle. Awaken Into Darkness kicks things off and compared to Fall Of Dominion, the opener on This Wicked Nest its relatively subdued with a more melodic sensibility though with James Rivera’s histrionic vocal style it’s business as usual. Now don’t get the idea that this isn’t still heavy stuff and if confirmation were needed mid-song they up the pace and hit thrash mode. Following track Blood Lust also sits well with recent albums but overall a more measured approach is the order of the day on a fair proportion of the rest but we are talking relatively speaking here. Nevertheless, this is still great stuff packed with powerful and memorable riffs and there’s plenty of pace in much of the material. The rhythm section is solid as a rock with drummer Michael Lewis being joined by new bassist Garrick Smith. Andrew Atwood is the other new member joining life sentence original member Larry Barragan in the guitar department making an impressive pairing with some compelling lead work too.

Vampiro is an excellent piece of work and anyone who’s enjoyed Vicious Rumors more recent albums should also find plenty to get stuck into here. As already mentioned, whilst not abandoning the thrash there’s more of a US power metal feel to much of this, but the albums none the worse for it and although not necessarily better is the equal of most of their past releases.

HELSTAR Burning Star

Album · 1984 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
Burning Star is the debut studio album from US Power/thrash metal band Helstar.

Helstar is one of the few artists I can think of who's every single album is a masterpiece, and of course Burning Star was the album that started it all. This was the first album I had heard from the band, as well as perhaps the first metal album I owned myself. I grew up listening to classic hard rock, heavy metal, and thrash, but after Aerosmith and Rush really got me into music I had found Helstar at random. It was the greatest random find possible.

The music here is a mix of US power metal, classic heavy metal, speed metal, and a bit of proto-thrash metal. Already on their debut, Helstar had their own pretty unique sound with a wide range of metal styles. While you can hear influence from bands such as Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest, and Rush (The Rush influence is especially heard in the beginning of "Run With the Pack"), the band manages to muster up their own distinct sound. The guitar riffs are razor-sharp, the drums are powerful, and James Rivera's vocals are absolutely killer. Just listen to his vocal performance on "Toward the Unknown", and that song is one of many reasons why he's among my favorite vocalists.

The title track is one of the best album openers, with a catchy as hell descending riff that really makes it sound like you're in the sky and going down in fire. Now you want to hear one of the best guitar solos ever made? Just check out the end of the solo, it sounds like a downward spiral into the abyss. "Witch's Eye" is another highlight, and the punchy main riff just kicks the listener in the gut. Rivera's vocals switch perfectly between a sneering bite to high pitched screams on both of these tracks.

Already on the debut with the song "Dracula's Castle", there is lyricism based around vampires, which would return as the concept album "Nosferatu". The rest of the lyrics follow your usual 80's metal lyricism of darkness, fantasy, etc. The title track, with it's menacing shredding, is reflected incredibly well with the sci-fi cover art. It really makes you feel like your flying through the stars, involved in a chaotic space battle.

This album holds a special place in my heart as not only an amazing album but also as the first metal album I ever owned myself and listened to a lot. I hadn't of listened to it in a while, but coming back to it I'm glad I still hear the magic. A classic, as well as one of my favorite albums of all time. Do yourself a favor and check this album and this band out.

Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

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