One of countless bands associated with (and perhaps ultimately damned by) the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement, the obscure Dark Star are perhaps best remembered for their memorable participation in the now legendary Metal for Muthas, Vol. 2 compilation in 1980. But the band's origins lie deeper than that -- specifically with a covers band named Nightride, which was quite popular throughout the British Midlands during the late '70s and later assumed the name Berlin when the bandmembers started penning their own material. One of these new songs, the excellent "Lady of Mars," was submitted for consideration to EMI, which promptly requested it for the second Metal for Muthas disc and alerted the group -- consisting of vocalist/keyboardist Rik Staines (aka Harrison), guitarists Dave Harrison and Bob Key, bassist Chris Causton, and drummer Steve Atkins -- that their name had already been registered by another group.
Thus was made the switch to the Dark Star moniker, and when their very melodic, Thin Lizzy-inspired contribution became a highlight of that influential compilation, the band quickly set about recording a few more tracks for a proposed independent EP. Unfortunately, Dark Star's "trusted" business partner for this project suddenly pulled a fast one and vanished with all of their cash, leaving only a handful of copies of the single, which was thereby instantly rendered mega-rare status in decades to come. This was hardly any consolation for the group, which nevertheless rebounded by signing with Avatar Records and seeing a proper release of the "Lady of Mars" single by late 1980. A short U.K. tour with fellow NWOBHM hopefuls White Spirit and Angel Witch followed and, after welcoming new bassist Mark Oseland, Dark Star proceeded to record their eponymous debut album in 1981.
Now highly regarded as a minor classic, the LP drew positive comparisons to Def Leppard and Diamond Head and led to more touring in the U.K. and continental Europe, but wound up lost in the shuffle when Avatar was forced into bankruptcy a year later. The members of Dark Star had had their fill of failure by then anyway, and decided to go their separate ways -- only to unexpectedly resurface under a very commercial AOR guise for 1987's Real to Reel album. This too proved a commercial failure, and what was left of Dark Star would soon vanish for good. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia