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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, Texas, in 1982 by vocalist James Rivera and guitarist Larry Barragan (the only guaranteed mainstays over the years), Helstar was soon making waves in underground tape-trading networks with their very first demo and, by 1984, released their debut album, Burning Star, for Combat Records. Produced by Rods drummer Carl Canedy (also responsible for Anthrax's first platter), the disc contained high-end classic metal and featured second guitarist Tom Rogers, bassist Paul Medina, and drummer Hector Pavon -- all of whom would be jettisoned by the time of 1986's Remnants of War follow-up and replaced by Robert Trevino, Jerry Abarca, and Rene Luna, respectively. But that album, too, failed to bolster the band's popularity, and feeling increasingly out of place amid Combat's thrash-dominated roster, Helstar relocated to Los Angeles and signed with Metal Blade for their next two efforts, 1988's A Distant Thunder and 1989's Nosferatu. Both of these featured new guitarist Andre Corbin and drummer Frank Ferreira and saw Helstar gathering more fans while touring both America and Europe with the likes of Tankard and Yngwie Malmsteen. This was not enough to keep their motivational fires burning, though, and a subsequent return to Houston soon led to a long period of inactivity, interrupted by intermittent reunions like 1995's distinctly Barragan-less Multiples of Black and a 1989 live recording released in the year 2000 as T'was the Night of a Helish Xmas. The group became officially active again in 2007, releasing Sins of the Past, a collection of 11 revamped classics and two new songs, via AFM Records. It was followed in 2008 by King of Hell, an all-new collection of original material. In 2014, the band issued their ninth studio long-player, This Wicked Nest, which would be their last outing for AFM Records. 2016's Vampiro saw Helstar moving to Megadeth bassist David Ellefson's EMP Label Group. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia