Helstar – Vampiro

Helstar
Vampiro
Released 26th August 2016
Heavy Metal/Power Metal with Speed Metal elements
Released EMP Label Group

 Helstar are veterans of the American heavy metal scene. The band was originally formed back in the early ’80s and they have released a number of albums including the critically acclaimed ‘Nosferatu.’ Their latest opus ‘Vampiro’ sees them return to the vampire theme with more tales of Dracula and other blood-suckers.

First they lure you in with a deceptively melodic intro to Awaken the Darkness – an eerie tale of Gothic horror brought to you with the aid some thrashing guitar riffs and high-pitched vocals. So that was the bait and now the real hunt begins. For what follows is Blood Lust – a much faster song with pummeling drums and aggressive guitar melodies reminiscent of the band’s early days back when they played speed metal. As for the vocals, singer James Rivera has an impressive range which incorporates all of the following: the clean, story-telling variety akin to the likes of Dio and Iron Maiden, the high-pitched style and the somewhat less pleasant screams.

From The Pulpit to The Pit is a slightly more complex track; featuring a progressive-style bass and drumming intro followed by some viciously fast guitar riffage and more pummeling drums. Yet it’s not all just thrashing and pummeling, this song also has some melodic parts to it, which are mostly audible in the guitars. Then there’s the Repent in Fire – a catchy power metal song packed with playful guitar riffs and powerful vocals which reminded me of Iron Maiden at times.

Overall, it’s great to see a band that’s been around for so long who can still produce something new and exciting. Rather than taking a stab in the dark in an attempt to produce something different or experimental; they have stayed true to their roots. ‘Vampiro’ is classic Helstar but with a new, modern spin on it.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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