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No turning back from furious power metal - 90%

bloodnet, November 14th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Skol Records

Let's begin with the fact that initially I didn't hold Jack Starr in very high regard. While he was the founding member of Virgin Steel, his guitar work in their first 2 albums, while enthusiastic, wasn't anything spectacular. Admittedly, in Guardians of the Flame he did improve a lot, but it was after his departure that Virgin Steel really took off.

Re-inventing himself took some time. His first "solo" effort with Rhett Forrester (of Riot fame) was a very good hard-rock/metal album, but it had to be tailored around Rhett's unique bluesy voice. Afterwards, he decided to form a band and Burning Starr was born. Rock the American Way was okay, but it was yet another hard-rock album with allusions for commercial success.

It was with "No Turning Back" that this guy finally unleashed his fury and Burning Starr became a real metal band. Mike Tirelli, the new vocalist gives a great performance with a fantastic output in higher ranges. The rhythm department is heavy and solid and Starr, well, he kicks ass with some furious riffs and solos.

No Turning Back is the perfect song to start the album, both musically and lyrically and to mark the beginning of the band's journey. The melodic epic intro guitar gives way to a furious riff with Tirelli screaming "no turning back from the life I choose.... I've got nothing to lose... I will keep the flame alive..." then a lighting fast solo and an melodic conclusion.

The rest of the album moves along the same way. Apart from a forgettable cover and 3 short instrumentals that, while interesting, don't quite mesh with the rest, there is no weak song in the album. Fast and heavy riffs, melodic interludes, cool solos, some epic passages and high pitched screams. Pure US Power Heavy metal by one of the founders of the scene.

Call of the Wild, Road Warrior and Run for Your Life are very good songs, with Call of the Wild taking the cake for its nice melodic chorus and Road Warrior bringing a smile with its fun lyrics.

But we also have some gems of pure excellence. Light in the Dark, after the calm start, breaks into a bombastic guitar and then a catchy melodic chorus. Evil Never Sleeps has a fantastic NWOBHM riff that emanates raw energy and Avenging Angel just sticks in your mind with its furious pace and chorus screaming "Avenge my death, avenge my life..."

The version I'm reviewing is the latest(?) CD issue and it has a pretty good and powerful sound. This version includes 2 re-recorded songs from their subsequent album, Blaze of Glory. Considering the fact that "Burning Starr" and "Metal Generation" are both fantastic songs (and probably the best from Blaze of Glory), that's a great additional treat.

This is one of the best heavy/power metal albums of the 80s and a great way to start getting familiar with the band.