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A Distant Thunder

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Lone Star State metal-heads Helstar attempted to put the troubles that had almost derailed their career behind them by relocating from Houston to Los Angeles in 1987 and promptly signing a contract with Metal Blade Records for the release of their third album, A Distant Thunder, the following year. And although fans will never agree on which of the band's albums they like best, that very indecision serves as a testament to Helstar's general high standards, which most certainly carried over into this latest collection of songs. For one thing, the group's initial speed metal hallmarks had been properly updated to incorporate thrash metal's somewhat more serrated guitar sound — see opening powerhouse "The King Is Dead," "Bitter End," "Scorcher," etc. — and with the similarly frantic but more melodic style named power metal simultaneously rising to prominence in Europe, frontman James Rivera's potent histrionics actually felt relatively modern, rather than dating the band to the early ‘80s. Then again, listeners keen to indulge in some serious epic metal from that older time frame could do a lot worse than pumping their fists in unison to the Iron Maiden homage "Abandon Ship" or bowing down to the unequivocal majesty of "Winds of War" (laced with soft/hard altercations, synthesizers, piano parts, thunderous sound effects, you name it!). Finally, since even the less fluid and distinctive offerings ("Tyrannicide," "Genius of Insanity") were generally rescued by the ever-tasteful shredding of guitarists Larry Barragan and Andre Corbin, it's no wonder that A Distant Thunder helped Helstar reestablish their reputation for delivering classic American metal at its most accomplished and criminally overlooked.


Aller guten Dinge sind drei

Mit ihrem Drittwerk lassen die Texaner bereits leichte Verschleißerscheinungen erkennen. Nichts desto trotz bietet die Platte mit dem Opener "The King Is Dead", dem flotten "Tyrannicide" oder dem furiosen SCORPIONS - Cover "He`s A Woman, She`s A Man" überaus kernigen US-Powermetal der Referenzklasse an. Herausragend ist die Epic-Großtat "Winds Of War". Ein zeitloses Stück besten Stahls! Leider ging es nach "A Distant Thunder" bergab mit Texas Finest. Weder das überaus sperrige "Nosferatu"-Album noch die Soundkatastrophe "Multiples Of Black" reichten jemals wieder an die Höl(l)ensternstunden der ersten drei Alben heran.


Gegründet: Houston, TX

Genre: Metal

Jahre aktiv: '80s, '00s, '10s

Helstar was one of America's better kept heavy metal secrets throughout the 1980s, composing a string of consummate LPs that earned the band many critical accolades, but failed to sell in large quantities. Most likely, the band's constant dealings with unreliable independent labels, combined with incessant personnel turnover, were the chief deterrents. Formed in Houston, TX, in 1982, by vocalist James Rivera and guitarist Larry Barragan (the only guaranteed mainstays over the years), Helstar was...
Komplette Biografie
A Distant Thunder, Helstar
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