James Rivera is one of the biggest musical whores of this planet, but an absolutely divine singer and a really nice guy to boot. No matter, if singing for VICIOUS RUMORS, SEVEN WITCHES or KILLING MACHINE, he always delivered quality, but now his baby, HELSTAR, is back. With “The King Of Hell“ he tries to compete with divine blessings such as “Remnants Of War“ or “A Distant Thunder“, which is nigh impossible. And that is the problem of the new HELSTAR: It is good, even really good, but compared to the Texans’ classics…
It’s a fact that the new songs are powerful and damn well done, with a fat, modern sound, so that especially the aggressive side of HELSTAR comes to the fore. I haven’t heard the band that heavy and thrashy, songs such as “Caress Of The Dead” or “Wicked Disposition” or the ingenious “Garden Of Temptation“ are definitively HELSTAR and deservedly stand in full tradition of the band classics. Basically all of the new compositions are operating on a high level, so that I can definitely recommend this one.
Does it make sense to continue this band in 2008, too? The answer is a clear: Yes! The only tear I have to shed: I am missing the acoustic parts and the epic side of HELSTAR, but for that the new album is a true tour de force and a must for every fan of true steel! For all disappointed PRIEST fans “Pain” is a check-out tip, sounds a lot like “Painkiller” gone Thrash!
(Online August 28, 2008)