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Album Reviews : Helstar – Rising from the Grave

By on July 7, 2010

Helstar is a somewhat little known 5 piece speed metal outfit from Houston, Texas. The band were somewhat “big” for a short period of time during the mid to late 80’s, as the band were label buddies with big thrash metal acts Megadeth and Exodus on Combat Records.

Even though Helstar didn’t reach the dizzying heights of the band’s mentioned before, they did however reach a certain cult like status with the underground thrash metal movement. Thanks to their widely successful first four releases.

Rising from the Grave gives us a short, but very entertaining ride during the band’s time with Metal Blade records, which only lasted three records.  Even though this compilation doesn’t cover the first two releases Remnants of War and Burning Star, it does give us A Distant Thunder and Nosferatu in a lovely re-mastered, single packaging box set with all the bells and whistles included.

Also included in this neat little package is the revised live DVD edition of Twas the Night of a Hellish Xmas, which I unfortunately was unable to view for this review. The footage was recorded at the Backstage Club in Houston, Texas on December 25, 1989 and features original Helstar members James Rivera on vocals along with Larry Barragan and Jerry Abarca.

Most of the material included in this package is straight forward 1980’s speed metal. Its short, fast and at times a little repetitive, but well within the bearable limitations of my mind. There is a distinct elevation throughout the both albums which do mix up certain elements and separates Helstar’s material from many of the more well known speed metal act during that time period. Many commercial thrash metal acts stuck to a common formula, Helstar on the other hand mixed things up by creating a mishmash of influences from Anthrax, Exodus, Testament, Overkill and even Suicidal Tendencies into their fold. The final result is a whirl wind of tracks which will surely keep the most die hard thrash metal fans enthusiastic and content.

If your a fan of old school thrash with a distinct rough around the edges style, similar to that of early Testament and Mortal Sin, while offering a wide variety high pitch whaling and screams resembling that of early Anthrax and Suicidal Tendencies vocalists, Joey Belladonna and Mike Muir, then Rising from the Grave will surely win by default as it offers you a plethora of tracks for a cheap and reasonable price.  6.5/10

Band: Helstar
Album: Rising from the Grave
Year: 2010
Genre: Thrash/Speed Metal
Origin: USA
Label: Metal Blade/Riot!


Disc 01
01. The King is Dead
02. Bitter End
03. Abandon Ship
04. Tyrrannicide
05. Scorcher
06. Genius of Insanity
07. (The) Whore of Babylon
08. Winds of War
09. He’s a Woman, She’s a Man

Disc 02
01. Rhapsody in Black
02. Baptized in Blood
03. To Sleep, Per Chance to Scream
04. Harker’s Tale (Mass of Death)
05. Perseverance and Desperation
06. The Curse has Passed Away
07. Benediction
08. Harsh Reality
09. Swirling Madness
10. Von Am Lebem Desto Strum
11. Aieliaria and Everonn

DVD – Twas The Night Of a Hellish Xmas
01. Swirling Madness
02. The King is Dead
03. Evil Reign
04. Abandon Ship
05. Baptized in Blood
06. To Sleep Per Chance to Scream
07. Harker’s Tale
08. The Cursed Has Passed Away
09. Scorcher
10. Angel of Death


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.