Helstar – “This Wicked Nest” (AFM Records)
Amazing – 30 years on and Helstar are still pounding my eardrums like they did back in 1984 with “Burning Star” – this has to be one of the heaviest and certainly loudest albums I’ve ever heard from these Texans! Still fronting them is one of US Power Metal’s icons – James Rivera – whose voice remains as powerful as the air raid siren that it was when I first heard him, despite playing in numerous bands over the years it retains it’s pitch, range and clarity – undoubtedly a gift from God! “This Wicked Nest” essentially follows its extreme 2010 predecessor, “Glory Of Chaos”, whilst merging it with that classic 80s sound that brought Helstar to the fore of the underground. Often overlooked by the band’s sheer power are their song writing skills that this time cover subjects from the movie ‘V For Vendetta’ to political turmoil in Turkey from Rivera’s time living there to the fears held by the very aged of sudden death as inspired by guitarist Larry Barragan’s 102 year old mother! Musically, songs like ‘Souls Cry’, ‘Eternal Black’ and ‘Defy The Swarm’ reflect their strong lyrical content mixing shark ripping riffs with pumping grooves amidst a classic power / thrash beat. Over the top comes Rivera’s steroided classical / operatic vocals that soar n scream as drummer Mikey Lewis sets a new breakneck record as a human drum machine with every precision beat heard thanks to the excellent crystal clear production. Simply no let up from start to finish, but moreover a classy act befitting their legendary status – and deservedly so on this metal meets the max album – Helstar do the metal world proud and every fan who stands with them.