Genre: Power / Speed
Country: U.S.A.
Label: EMP
Year: 2016

New Helstar record. 2016. You’ll ask me… “What do you expect from a Helstar release?”. Not much; just to show the new power metal bands how things are done. As if there are many groups of such level, with a singer such as Rivera who devours singers of the pit that “spit metal” and all that crap. “Awaken into darkness” kicks off with a Mercyful Fate / Candlemass air in its wings and turns into a speed metal anthem. “Blood Lust” is an opus with horror/speed/epic vocals (I don’t even know how to describe them). “To Dust You Will Become” is more modern in the beginning but in its progression I dare say it reminded me of the good Sanctuary era. “Off With His Head” and the mayhem carries one. Rivera is in a very good shape. “From the pulpit to the pit”, with amazing riffs, speed and solos that grab you by the neck. Great guitar work. “To Their Death Beds They Fell” has an epic rhythm that changes into technospeed showing what Helstar are made of. “Malediction” is essentially an instrumental with some operatic vocals in the background, just to add a bit of horror thrash to the picture. “Vampiro” and we’re back on track with Rivera’s high pitched vocals. If these tracks were written by some Greek band of the underground, we would characterize them as anthems and talk about amazing albums, though we are involved with the dinosaurs of the metal genre. You know what? Dinosaurs weren’t harmless. T – Rex was something you could handle; not all dinosaurs were stupid brontosaurs. “Abolish the Sun” is the slowest, darkest track of the album, where Rivera stands out again and the solos come one after another. In “Black Cathedral” Rivera’s low pitched vocals reminded me of Halford. That’s a dark track as well, with changes in rhythms, technicalities and as hard as 14-year-old’s willy when discovering PornHub for the first time. The album closes theatrically with “Dreamless Sleep”, with a great intro, strings, acoustic guitar and Rivera singing softly (?!), always within the horror themes of the record.

I will listen to it again. And again. And yes, it’s very good. But, it’s Helstar, you see. Only a few will bother listening to this record. The band is doomed to be appreciated by only a few, even though they’re experiencing a second youth wave. It’s ok. I’ll listen to it over and over again. I don’t know if there have been many records like that this year.