Houston-based HELSTAR have always been on the lips of die hard metalheads. Anyone who remembers the band’s start in the early ’80s have always referred to them as one of the best metal bands of that era.
All the powerful HELSTAR trademarks are present on Glory of Chaos, based around James Rivera’s distinct high-pitched vocals and the fierce, chunky riffing style of Larry Barragan and Rob Trevino. Melody and harmony are interlaced with aggression on all 10 tracks.
Compared with 2008’s King of Hell’s robust mix, Glory of Chaos’ full bass sound and great guitar tone takes it to another level as HELSTAR continue being themselves — die-hard metalheads and a dedicated metal band. They take their ’80s metal influences and meld them together with power and thrash metal chords that give HELSTAR’s technical speed metal a distinct sound.
The whole album doesn’t let up for a second. The heavy riffs, melody and vocal delivery of “Summer of Hate” will have you headbanging furiously. There are some tempo changes and variation, most notably the melodic interlude in “Trinity of Heresy,” but mostly it’s a pummeling speed metal fest of songs that will keep you fist pumping through the whole disc. “Pandemonium” has a heavy thrash-driven riff and fast double bass drumming that really pummels the listener. Rivera’s distinctive falsettos gloriously marching together with a raspy growl, and at times sounding almost Halford-like, as on “Bone Crusher.”
HELSTAR’s Glory of Chaos is a great slab of thrash/speed metal that brings back great memories of when heavy/speed/thrash metal first started in the early ’80s. If this doesn’t grab you, then I don’t know what will.
By Kelley Simms