HELSTAR — A Distant Thunder

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HELSTAR - A Distant Thunder cover
4.62 | 19 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1988

Filed under US Power Metal


1. The King Is Dead (4:02)
2. Bitter End (4:20)
3. Abandon Ship (6:55)
4. Tyrannicide (5:29)
5. Scorcher (5:49)
6. Genius of Insanity (5:01)
7. (The) Whore of Babylon (2:32)
8. Winds of War (6:08)
9. He's a Woman - She's a Man (2:53)

Total Time: 43:13


- James Rivera / vocals
- Larry Barragan / guitars
- André Corbin / guitars
- Jerry Abarca / bass, piano
- Frank Ferreira / drums

About this release

Label: Metal Blade Records
Release date: 1988, November 29th, 1988

Recorded at Pacific Studios and Track Record, CA.
Mixed at Track Record. Mastered at Capitol.

Thanks to Unitron, adg211288, UMUR for the updates


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A Distant ThunderA Distant Thunder
Metal Blade 1996
$16.54 (used)
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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Another album, another lineup for Helstar, who on A Distant Thunder deliver an excellent US power metal release. At points they sound uncannily like Iron Maiden, but when you sound this good doing it that is no bad thing. The closing "He's a Woman, She's a Man" - a Scorpions cover - is to my ears a little average, especially after the excellent Winds of War which could easily have been the album closer, but aside from that it's a very listenable album which will appeal to anyone who likes speed or power metal or the proggier bits of Iron Maiden's discography.
Helstar-A Distant Thunder

When the album begins, you're already shot right into powerful pounding and rolling drums with the opening song 'The King is Dead'. During the chorus, Rivera's lower vocals flow perfectly with the shredding guitar. Rivera's vocals are very well performed on this song, with his higher-pitched vocals being spread out to the beginning, middle, and end. 'Tyrannicide' is another strong track. The shredding guitar at both the beginning and the rest of the song is just amazing. 'Scorcher' is another favorite, with a beautiful acoustic intro. Rivera's vocals really shine here, with his soft vocals flowing perfectly with the acoustics. His scream signals the fast guitar and drums to come in. The bridge is another favorite part of the song, with some Medieval sounding acoustic guitar.

'Abandon Ship' is a big stand-out track, with it being the longest song on the album. All the instruments compliment each other perfectly, the drums rolling, the shredding guitar, and the bass all blend well together. The bridge is my favorite part of the song, before the guitar solo comes in, Larry Barragan's guitar really shines. Then beautiful acoustic guitar comes in while the electric guitar is still droning in the background, which is something I love to hear. Rivera's vocals and lyrics are very strong, his vocals complimenting the acoustics perfectly. It's definitely the masterpiece of the album.

The lyrics are much stronger on this album, with more inspirational lyrics. The song 'Bitter End' is about freedom. The lyrics for 'Abandon Ship' remind me of an Iron Maiden song, with the lyrics speaking about dreams and exploration.

Overall, this album is certainly essential to any metal collection. Helstar was at their peak, none of the songs are weak on this album. Helstar blends speed, power, thrash, into a perfect blend. Their inclusion of Medieval influences is very unique as well, with it fitting pretty well with Helstar's sound. Highly recommended to any metal collection.

Hope you found this review helpful.

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