Thirty-five years and counting, Texas heavy metal band rages on with their tenth and latest album, Vampiro. Now, if you're a fan of the band, and just did a double take with that title, I'm not surprised. Helstar reaches back to the themes and success of 1989's Nosferatu. It's like Dracula deja vu.
But here's the thing, a nod to the past or a new twist on the old aside, there's nothing really new, novel or, in some sense, all that interesting here. I'm not trying to be dismissive here. But once you've listened to the first three or four songs, you know everything you need to know about Helstar and their heavy metal. One, it's basically a mash up of speed and thrash metal, informed by twin guitar harmony and then primed with an abundance twin guitar solos. Second, there's James Rivera's heavy metal screamo vocals over top. He's somewhat of an acquired taste. Like some mixture of Rob Halford and Cage's Sean Peck, more the latter than the former, his vocals range from steady to ear-piercing screamo. But his assertiveness matches the aggressive fury of Helstar's power metal, and that's how it's always been. Honestly, I tire quickly of both as they seem both relentless and redundant in the end. Yet, you know what? For pure classic heavy metal twin guitar harmony and ferocious solos, you simply can't beat Helstar's guitar forward six-string savvy. And that's probably the single reason that I listen to each new album. Guitar overload at it's finest. Bottom line: if you're a fan of Helstar and their persistent and consistent heavy power metal style, you will dig Vampiro. Nuff said.
If you're a fan of Helstar and their persistent and consistent heavy power metal style, you will dig Vampiro. Nuff said.
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