Helstar
Rising From The Grave

Helstar is one of those bands that should have been much bigger than they were. Whatever the reason, they just never seemed to rise above club Metal status. This particular crumbling of the cookie never hindered the band from putting out what are arguably absolute classics in the realm of American power metal. I am speaking, of course, about A Distant Thunder and Nosferatu. I know there are die-hards out there who will think I’m nuts and sing the praises of Remnants Of War and Burning Star over the latter records but, in all honesty, they’re just wrong (insert smiling wink here).

Our good friends at Metal Blade have seen fit to give these two landmark releases the deluxe treatment and have reissued them, along with a DVD of the ‘Twas The Night Of A Hellish Christmas performance, as a 3-disc package called Rising From The Grave. The two albums in question have been given the remastering once-over and sound stellar. It’s so good to hear classics like “To Sleep Per Chance To Scream”, “Swirling Madness”, “Baptised In Blood”, “The King Is Dead”, “Scorcher” and “Tyrannicide” all beefed up and crushing. The albums speak for themselves but, in case you have never heard Helstar, imagine a blend of Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest and Agent Steel…that’s about the best way I can describe it. The music dark & sinister, it’s got wicked dual-shredding guitars and interesting arrangements, and it’s got James Rivera‘s piercing Metal wail. While a few bonus tracks would have been nice, it’s cool to have the DVD packaged here. It’s a video-camera shoot, but it’s a good one. It’s the kind of home video that bands back in the day (1989) would have LOVED to have of themselves. The DVD track list is a little out of sequence, but whatever. The performance is energetic, the band is having fun and the sound is acceptable…meaning while not a soundboard mix, the camera mic captures what was a good, clean house mix because one will have no trouble hearing all the instruments at evenly distributed levels.

That’s it. This thing rules. Two remastered albums, a cool DVD, expanded printed commentary from James Rivera and Larry Barragan and it has the original artwork included on the inside. These two albums are essential for fans of melodic, American power metal so even if you have the originals, get this.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
August 6th, 2010

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