Helstar - Nosferatu

  | Cassette

Helstar-Nosferatu Used, but in good condition...

The year was 1989 and who would've known that a band from Houston, TX would produce a metal album that to this day is considered to be one of the best power/thrash metal albums of all time. No one. When HELSTAR followed up A Distant Thunder with their fourth release, Nosferatu, the bar was raised. The first six songs, a concept dealing with everyone's favorite vampire and the second half, individual tracks that still rank as some of their best work. The songwriting is top notch and the guitarwork of Larry Barragan and Andre Corbin is impeccable. They remain one of the most criminally underrated guitar duos in the history of heavy metal. Take one listen to Corbin's instrumental piece "Perseverance and Desperation," where he plays all of the guitar and bass tracks and I challenge anyone to question this man's authority of his instrument. From the opening strands of intro "Rhapsody In Black," until the final notes of "Aieliaria and Everonn" these two are on fire. "Baptized In Blood" whips things up into a power thrash frenzy, vocalist James Rivera's voice soaring over the band's sonic barrage effortlessly. This song still has one of my favorite metal choruses, while Barragan and Corbin's guitar solos will leave any guitar fan drooling. "To Sleep, Per Chance To Scream" features some of the most technical riffing and arrangements this side of an old FATES WARNING or WATCHTOWER cd. When Rivera sings "Soon I'll have my kingdom..." just check out those riffs underneath, pushing and guiding everything along. Awesome. "Harker's Tale" is indeed the mass of death, bassist Jerry Abarca laying down a strong foundation on this track, Corbin's solo absolutely smokes on this one as well. The epic final part (not in terms of length, but feel) of the Nosferatu tale, "The Curse Has Passed Away," shifts and turns from classical guitar inspired ballad to powerful metal anthem perfectly.

The sermon that is "Benediction" is, in my opinion, one of the Top 5 HELSTAR songs out there. This track is flawless and scores a perfect 10. Malmsteen, Michael Romeo, Skolnick, Andy LaRocque, you name 'em, this song showcased Corbin and Barragan at their best and wipes the floor with all of them. The vocal arrangements are genius, every riff augmenting every melody. "Harsh Reality" is a high powered thrash cut that delves into society's problems lyrically. "Swirling Madness," a longtime live favorite, is super tight. Take notice to of the lyricbook fuck up that hasn't been fixed to this day. Half of "Benediction's" lyrics are listed beneath track 9! "Von Am Lebem Desto Strum" is an instrumental piano piece performed by Abarca that introduces the masterpiece "Aieliaria And Everonn." The guitarwork just makes me wanna jizz all over myself... especially the last solos after Rivera screams "In trance you're hypnotized..." That note he hits at the end of that line is just kick-fucking-ass.

It's a shame that Metal Blade didn't work this release more than they did but hindsight is 20/20, I guess. If nothing else, a remastered version of this is in order. It is a classic and should be treated as such. Fix the lyric book, new packaging, digital remastering with a bonus cut or two and a reunion tour! I am lucky in that I've seen the revamped HELSTAR a few times now, being a Houston native, and they absolutely crush anything else Rivera does.

[ Discography ] 
Label: Metal Blade Records | Item Code: MB 73419-4 | Country: United States | Year: 1989 | Genre: Thrash Metal

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