This CD is very good. Contains some really excellent soloing, some strong riffs with James Rivera's unmistakeable voice that still holds up, though a pitch lower in his older age. It is very well produced, has a cool cover and fits in with their last CD 'King of Hell' pretty well. If your an old school Helstar fan like myself, you will see it doesn't fit in with their mid period material as much (Distant Thunder, Nosferatu). The heaviness is there, that's for sure, but a lot of the progressiveness of earlier material has taken a back seat. That was indicated on 'King', but is assured on this release.
Best way to put it is that it fits in very well with newer material from Exodus, Testament and Kreator. Excellent thrash metal, but more mid-paced with swift riff structures, fully focused on the in your face heaviness as the aforementioned bands. If you like that vein of stuff, this is a no brainer. Helstar can do it as well as any band of the genre if not better at times. It is effective at pummeling you more than it is mesmerizing you with off beats and classical style Guitar flare. I miss that side of the band a bit. Some of that intricacy would be very welcomed on this disc as a couple of the tracks are passable (but not great) or take a few listens and could use some more dimension. That's the element that made Helstar better than a lot of bands and not just very good in my opinion. I actually still listen to 'King' more than this one (Tracks like 'Tormentor' and 'Caress of the Dead' just kill), but do find myself liking this more with repeated listens. It just didn't grab me yet like the usual Helstar CD does.
I wont break the tracks down. You get the idea.
There are 2 cover tracks at the end.
'Heavy Metal Thunder', originally done by Saxon, is pretty by the numbers. James Rivera could have given a more energetic vocal delivery to really kick it up a bit, but its decent enough.
BUT, this CD nearly lost a star (but i couldn't do a 3)in itself by the really boring and just really BAD cover of the Scorpions 'Animal Magnetism'. I am not a big Scorpions fan with a bias, but have always loved that song and was really excited to see this cover listed on the CD. But man, once I heard it, I was surprised they actually released it. Actually moves slower than the original (and that's real slow to begin with), but has none of the magic or intensity. Seems to last 20 minutes. Just falls real flat to my ears.
Left a bad taste in my mouth to finish the CD off.
But if you like Helstar's 'Remnants' and 'King...' and you did not like the over the top approach of their mid period stuff so much, you should like it. Especially if into straight thrash - Exodus / Testament style with guitar heavy production. It hits the mark..... most of the time.