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Wow. Helstar put out four high quality, grade A albums during the 80's. Seriously some of the best stuff I've ever heard, enough for me to put them on my "Top 10 Favorite bands" list. Although US Metal seemed completely drowned in urine during the mid 90's, I just had to hear this for myself. And it made me depressed.
First off, the worst thing about this album is the production. The sound in the instruments, and all of that. Its completely unbalanced, and horrible. And even the overall production -quality- seems incredibly horrid. I've heard stuff from the 70's better than this. The guitars are just drowning, and these have got to be some of the worst drums I've ever heard, sounding like the guy was hitting trash cans.
We all know about James Rivera's extraordinary performances, but its too hard to focus on his amazing vocals when the music drags down the overall experience down enough already. I think its obvious you can tell Rivera probably didn't enjoy recording this one, since he's pretty well known for his emotion ... its there, but a hint of it doesn't want to be. It sounds like he just wants to break out of a cage during some of the songs.
These guitarists are pretty bad. I'm more than sure they had an effect on the overall feel and sound to the album also, the writing, and whatnot. There's a few cool riffs here and there, the decent solo's. But Helstar's been known for completely over the top, mindblowing riffs and solo's. That's not the case here. The solo's on here aren't very dynamic, and just don't really give you much of a satisfying feeling when a song ends, because you were expecting more, and the structure just feels broken. Even when I try not to compare this album to Helstar's earlier releases, this still wouldn't be something I'd ever listen to for fun. Its so low grade, lifeless, and doesn't give off any sense of satisfaction at all.
So, the former reviewer BARD_Jean_Pierre pretty much nailed everything perfectly. But, I myself was just too interested to hear this myself, and as he stated, it was depressing. And although I hate to give such a low rating to one of my top favorite bands, I just felt it was necessary to further this warning to everyone to stay completely away from this broken mess of a album. Its a shame too, because look at what James Rivera has done recently in the last few years. Distant Thunder, Destiny's End, Seven Witches, absolutely incredible stuff and you can tell the man knows his Metal and will always stay true to it. For that, you can just tell he doesn't sound like he wants to be here on this release.
However, as you can see Helstar is active again, and we'll more than likely see a new release from them sometime soon. Luckily, with Metal in the US, and the entire world continueing to expand and regain its high popularity thesedays, and looking what Rivera has done over the years outside of this album, I'm sure everyone can agree that Helstar will truly be back at top of their game when that new album comes out. Can't wait!
For that, I say we all pretend Helstar never released this album. Its that bad, and I give it absolutely no recommendation at all. But ... if you're like me, and must hear it for yourself ... go for it. Just be ready to brace yourself for one of Metal's biggest disappointments of all time.