Helstar - 1986 Remnants Of War

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ARTIST: Helstar
ALBUM: Remnants Of War
LABEL: Combat, Noise
SERIAL: MX 8052 (USA), N-0043 (Germany)
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1999, Century Media, 66031-2 * 2009, Century Media, 9962212


LINEUP: James Rivera - vocals * Larry Barragan - guitars * Robert Trevino - guitars * Jerry Abarca - bass * Rene Luna - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Suicidal Nightmare * 02 Dark Queen * 03 Face The Wicked One * 04 Angel Of Death * 05 Unidos For Tristeza * 06 Remnants Of War * 07 Conquest * 08 Evil Reign * 09 Destroyer


An American outfit from Houston Texas, who typified the influence put upon them by bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. However, in their own right, Helstar are an excellent proposition, who got better with each release. First coming to the attention of metal followers with their rawer than raw 'Burning Star' album, it at least got them into the public eye. Released by high profile indie label Music For Nations in the UK and Combat in the USA during 1984 - the album itself was produced by The Rods drummer Carl Canedy. This effort was, according to scribes, a solid affair with hints of Iron Maiden and AC/DC, however ,their second album released two years later on the Combat label 'Remnants Of War', saw the band move into progressive metal territory - a great move!

The Songs

'Unidos For Tristeza' is an interesting choice for opener - a harpischord flavoured piece seguing into the title track 'Remnants Of War', a brooding piece initially, which then accelerates into HM oblivion as only bands like these can do. All of the songs are populated with Rivera's shrill vocal cries, even when he talks lyrical nonsense on a tune like 'Conquest' (or any of the others for that matter), you know it's all in gratuitous fun. 'Destroyer' lives up to its name - 'matter destroying' being the operative phrase, guitars armed to the teeth! Side two kicks off with the powerful duo 'Suicidal Nightmare' and 'Dark Queen' - riotous guitars amid a thunderous back-end, while 'Angel Of Death' comes galloping across the soundscape like the proverbial Fourth Horseman Of the Apocalypse!

In Summary

The band continued to release material right through the eighties, with the albums 'A Distant Thunder' (1988) and 'Nosferatu' (1989) getting a public airing. More recently, James Rivera has been involved with the band Seven Witches and will appear on their 2003 release, plus he has sung with the bands Flotsam And Jetsam and Destinys End. A busy boy indeed. In the meantime, both 'Burning Star' and 'Remnants Of War' are available as a 2 on 1 CD, plus there is a 2001 pressing called 'The James Rivera Legacy' which is worth checking out. As far as the band is concerned, they now only get together for reunions. Rivera then moved on to work with Seven Witches and Vicious Rumors.

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