Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Helstar's Sixth Album ... Practically! - 90%

Xeogred, February 9th, 2007

So, here we have legendary vocalist James Rivera's side project, Distant Thunder. Named right off from a Helstar release. And well, everything else from Helstar is in tact here as well. In all honesty, I often wonder why Rivera didn't simply release this under Helstar and put them back on track (though, they're working on a new album here, which I'm sure will rock). I mean, as the previous reviewer stated, and as just about everyone else will say, Distant Thunder doesn't exactly sound like Helstar, this IS Helstar! As stated in Rivera's bio via his website, he does consider this to be a "constructed rebirth" of Helstar.

This album tends to be very similar to that of Helstar's "Remnants of War" and "Distant Thunder" more than anything else, not as thrashy or aggressive as "Nosferatu". Their complex progessive structures are there, the technical form of speed metal is here, the melodic riffs and solo's are intact. Even with different guitarists, they've retained the great riffage and soloing that Helstar's been known for. And when you've heard James Rivera's beautiful voice, its as if he hasn't aged a bit, still retaining one of the best voices out there in metal. Not to mention his background shrieking on here is mindblowing. Occasionally there's some short background semi-growling that flows with the vocals. Its silly, but it doesn't really detract from the album at all. The last two covers are pretty neat too. Although I prefer Helstar's earlier version of "Run with the Pack", its still a great remake. And myself being somewhat of an Accept / UDO fan (though, I don't worship them. I just don't mind Udo's voice and his bands like others), I thought the "Restless & Wild" cover was a blast of fun. Rivera is certainly too good for the song, but its still a great cover!

Surprisingly, this album is pretty badass all the way through. I've heard a lot of recent albums from newer bands over the last few years, and I can't help but notice a lot of bands thesedays tend to lose their touch after the first few songs, or throw some fillers in here and there. This disc however, is very solid from the beginning to the end. The feel of this album comes off as slightly more melodic and less aggressive than Helstar, and even sounds a bit like some European Power at times, but fear not, this is METAL. Its aggressive, there's no sing along choruses to be found here, no cheesy keyboards or themes or anything of that sort, its straight forward Speed/Power Metal in its full glory.

Fans of traditional, melodic, speed metal should definitely grab this album. And it also fits more than perfectly with James Rivera's other works, and fits right along with Helstar. My highest recommendation for legendary metal with a classic edge!