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And you thought Nosferatu was complex? - 90%

Xeogred, June 5th, 2007

This is basically Helstar (or half of Vigilante too) at their highest level of complexity. They've always been like that, a band that defines what power/thrash is really all about. But here the time signatures, the odd rhythms, the insane virtuosity displayed by the band is completely over the top and like nothing else out there, even compared to their previous releases. And it works absolutely brilliantly. This is hands down one of the strongest 'demo compilations' I've ever heard, enough to pretty much be seen as their sixth full length album.

The demo songs are among the most aggressive material the band has ever written, excluding the softer-practically-a-ballad Changeless Seasons, which isn't too memorable at all. Sirens of the Sun is a bit like a thrashier version of Winds of War and truly sounds like something that could have appeared on 'Nosferatu' or possibly 'Remnants Of War'. Easily the most epic number on here and overall the most accessible. Its a classic Helstar track. Changeless Seasons isn't a terrible song but probably a little longer than it should have been. It doesn't really seem to go anywhere. The next two tracks Social Circle, Scalpel And the Skin, and from then on are where this demo really gets defined. If Helstar started off with material like this, they would have been labeled as a technical thrash band and nothing else. Its a shame this stuff never really appeared on a real full length release, but then again here they are on 'The James Rivera Legacy'.

The production on these four songs is phenomenal, its extremely hard to believe they're coming from a demo tape since they sound comparable to anything off their first four albums. The production on the Vigilante tracks does take a slight slump downwards, however its still extremely impressive. The version of Black Silhouette Skies on here sounds superior to its original version on 'Multiples of Black' by far. Its no surprise that was practically the only enjoyable track on that album and it doesn't sound out of place here at all.

Rivera's vocals here are drastically different compared to the vocals on 'Nosferatu'. Here he is once again surpassing any boundaries with his enormous range and throwing out a handful of insane shrieks here and there. The vocals are much more comparable to his vocals on 'Remnants Of War' or 'A Distant Thunder'.

The Vigilante tracks are nothing but an incredible feat. They take Helstar's odd style to completely new heights. Sinister Deity is a pure varied thrash massacre. Rage in the Wind starts off similar to Helstar's Changeless Seasons, but it actually builds itself up and goes somewhere. As I mentioned earlier about Black Silhouette Skies, this version here sounds superior to its former self in every way and was quite possibly the only worthy song on 'Multiples of Black'. It fits nicely here. Nightmare Extraordinaire continues this dark ride and builds up to one of their finest solo's on here. Vigilante's Changeless Seasons is not to be confused with the other one on here from Helstar's demo. This one is much better and definitely packed with more variety. The final track Lost To Be Found, Found To Be Lost is quite possibly the darkest number on here as well as one of the best.

Are Helstar fans going to enjoy this? Well, do you like Artillery? If so, then I'd say yes. But seriously, if you enjoyed 'Nosferatu' you're probably going to love this as well. This material is something fans absolutely cannot miss out on and easily triumphs over 'Multiples of Black'. Its still Helstar, just at their peak in awesome oddity with their evilest attitude. Luckily this was released just a few years ago and still isn't too hard to find online. This Legacy must be heard! Again, Helstar fans should NOT miss out on this!