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Among the top five albums of all time. - 99%

Antikrist, July 22nd, 2004

Holy shit! If you work for a company that makes neckbraces, then give this album to your clients. I ACTUALLY HEARD ABOUT SOMEONE WHO DID HEADBANG THEMSELVES INTO A NECKBRACE BECAUSE OF THIS ALBUM! This album has three huge factors going its way. First, amazing speed. Second, masterful classically influenced melody. Third, great variety.

THE SPEED: Would you believe me if I told you that there existed a melodic album whose fast parts (which comprise maybe half of the album) were faster than just about ANYTHING on Reign In Blood? It's the truth my friends. When this band is on with the speed, they're dead fucking on, with the riffs full of ultra-fast sixteenth and probably 32nd notes all over the place. It sounds like both guitarists picking arms are powered by the motor of a jackhammer, as the rhythm section here is faster than the lead section in a lot of bands! You'll be headbanging like a wild animal through a good part of the album. Be thankful for the slower parts, because they will save your neck and brain from severe trauma.

THE MELODY: Yngwie Malmsteen is known for being excellent with mixing classical sound into his solos, but Helstar do one better by mixing it into their rhythm, while leaving the solos more metal-styled. All of the riffs on the album, whether speedy or slower, all have great melody. The classical influence is done just right, it's not overdone in the least, and you still feel a huge metal vibe throughout. Most of the songs are structured to be built around a backbone riff, with maybe 2 other riffs as the sub-main riffs and a lot of bridges and interludes all over the place. Baptized In Blood has 16 riffs in 4:24. That's not a monumental amount, but once you hear the backbone riff ripping at your flesh like Dracula's claws on the cover, you'll be screaming for more!

THE VARIETY: The introduction, Rhapsody In Black, sports 6 riffs in 30 seconds preceeded by a beautiful acoustic section. That's a perfect example of what variety you find through the album. Some slower parts, all of which are beautiful and well done, not sounding forced at all as they do with some bands. And then interlaced with them the awesome speed sections ripping riff after riff right at your fucking throat! Also from song to song there's a contrast between the sound it conveys. Not one of the songs, despite the usage of similar riffs in some of them, sounds like any other.

James Rivera's vocals are awesome. They may be a little bit "whiny" for some people, but they are very unique and they complement the music just right. The drumming is not in the league of Lombardo or Hoglan, but it is among some of the most precise I've heard.

Buy this album NOW. And it would be a prudent decision to have a neckbrace on hand before you listen. It seriously could happen!

P.S. Avoid playing this in the car, you'll speed out of control!