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Burning Star

Combat (1984)
Rating: 9/10

Having produced one of the best demos of 1983, Helstar have come up trumps again. With the help of Carl Canedy of The Rods doing the production, these boys from Houston can’t seem to put a foot wrong and have yet another winner.

Side one’s opener, ‘Burning Star’, starts off a bit slow but the pace soon warms up with some excellent twin guitar from Larry Barragan and Tom Rogers. ‘Towards The Unknown’ and ‘Witch’s Eye’ are next, and you can definitely hear why people compare them to the likes of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden – only Helstar do it better!

‘Run With The Pack’ brings side one to a close. It has a slightly different intro than the demo, but then it’s straight into this uptempo rocker with James Rivera’s voice in fine form and Paul Medina (bass) and Hector Pavon (drums) doing the business on the rhythm section.

Side two kicks off with the metallic ‘Leather And Lust’ with smoke pouring out of my speakers; this is one mutha of a track! These guys can do no wrong and it’s easy to see why Helstar already have such a large cult following worldwide.

‘Possession’ and ‘The Shadows of Iga’ follow with some more superb lead work. Finally, ‘Dracula’s Castle’ bring things to a close, sounding very much like Rush.

This is the best metal LP so far of ’84, and anyone who likes Metallica and Slayer should love Helstar. Let’s hope we hear more of the band in the future.

Dave Shaw

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 3 (1984)

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