Holy shit, James Rivera makes music again. After joining SEVEN WITCHES and vocally making their last work an experience, he now comes across the ocean with DISTANT THUNDER. DESTINY’S END are probably history, something which I think is sad as especially “Transition” is one of my fave albums… It’s probably not a coincidence that the new band is called just like the best record by HELSTAR, “Distant Thunder”… So the band will take their bearings from old HELSTAR stuff.
It’s good like that but to be honest DISTANT THUNDER are quite a bit straighter than HELSTAR have ever been. Stylistically however parallels can be drawn and every fan will contently click his tongue… At the latest when Rivera lets out his famous “overwinded” screams. And he does that. The whole record is old school as fuck und will surely put a satisfied smile on the face of every US Metal banger. Provided that he is no sound fetishist because Jack Frost, who produced this album, has to stand for this point of criticism – unfortunately the production is a bit thin… Doesn’t matter, as long as pearls like “Lost In Time” or the godly “Beyond The Black Field Of Stars” are the result you are willing to shut your eyes to it. Because there’s also more than just something in the rest of the tracks.
Furthermore James and his companions insisted upon recording the old HELSTAR classic “Run With The Pack“ anew. Cool version by the way. The ACCEPT cover version “Restless & Wild” also doesn’t come across badly… Talking of companions, they consist of Eric Halpern (DESTINY’S END, Z-LOT-Z), Gregg Gill (Z-LOT-Z as well), then Rick Ward ( CIRCUS) and Mike LePond (SYMPHONY X). Now, if that’s no who is who of the US scene?
But HELSTAR themselves also exist still/again – because they are playing on the next KEEP IT TRUE festival as is well known… Is anybody supposed to still look through this? (Online June 22, 2004)