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Probably THEE first power metal album - 97%

Mr Matt, April 15th, 2018

Helstar, Helloween, Manowar, or Yngwie Malmsteen? Which one was the first power metal artist? Helloween formed as Gentry in 1978, Helstar formed in 1983, but Helloween released their first album, "Walls Of Jericho" in 1985. Manowar released their first album, "Battle Hymns" in 1982 but it wasn't exactly power metal. Helstar released "Burning Star" in 1984, one day before Yngwie Malmsteen released "Rising Force". Well, from this, I think it's fair to say Helstar was the first power metal artist and "Burning Star" was the first power metal album.

I found "Burning Star" surprisingly heavy for the time period it came from. The first song, "Burning Star" has a very creative riff that I cannot go unnoticed. It's a broken A minor chord on the A string, then C on the A string 3rd fret, then the note E on the D string 2nd fret, then another one but the E is raised to F, then another broken A minor chord, then A, C, A, then, in 1 beat each, chords with the notes in the octave higher than the notes in the broken chords, B-flat and E-flat, then A and D. Based on the tempo and rhythm I caught on to while listening, the notes to the broken chords are probably just eighth notes. Man, that has to be one of my favorite riffs ever. Love it enough to explain it like that. Ey, to the people on Metal Archives who accept or reject the reviews: Not trying to show off or be wordy, just explaining it as it is. It took me almost an hour to explain the music and how that riff would be notated.

The guitar solos (and riffs of course) are impeccable in "Burning Star" the album and puts power metal in a great spotlight. Every song had a great and interesting solo. "Possession" is probably my favorite with "Burning Star" at a close second place. A nice mix of neo-classical and standard heavy metal guitar techniques make up Helstar's solos. If you are a fan of scales being played fast, this is a band for you.

My only complaint is in the song "Burning Star" in a few spots in the vocals. First things first about the vocals is that they are fabulous. The guy who sings on "Burning Star", the album, is great and very powerful. But I noticed this just in the song "Burning Star", sometimes the vocalist just does a bit much. Somewhere in what is probably the bridge of the song, there are these sudden fluctuations of alto range sounding notes to sudden high notes. While impressive and has its place, it's just a bit much in the song "Burning Star". Now, the high notes like the ones I say is a bit much in the song "Burning Star" appear everywhere in the album, but they are put in the right spots and are part of what makes this album great.

In closing, Helstar is a pioneering band in power metal and "Burning Star" is probably THEE first power metal album. Every song is noteworthy and creative. I really wish Helstar was way more popular amongst metal listeners. As of writing this review, Helstar has 3,669 monthly listeners on Spotify. They certainly deserve the same status as Helloween, Manowar, and Yngwie Malmsteen, but despite that, Helstar has certainly pioneered power metal just as much as they have.