When Helstar announced a while ago that their new album will be entitled “Vampiro”, every self respected fan of the Texan band thought immediately of the magnificent “Nosferatu”. As a matter of fact, when we talked to James Rivera, he specifically stated that “Vampiro” could have easily been regarded as the closest Helstar album to “Nosferatu”. So, as one can easily reckon, the anxiety meter hit an all-time high score! Yet the question remained…would “Vampiro” remain a classic Helstar record or would it be quickly and long forgotten? Let’s get to the answer, shall we?
For starters, we must point down that “Vampiro” is by far the most technical album that the band has recorded since the “Nosferatu” days. Helstar’s trademark power/thrash outbursts are wonderfully blended with a technical atmosphere that is not tiring at all and takes “Vampiro” to another, higher level! The presence of two new members –Andrew Atwood on guitar and Garrick Smith on bass- has breathed new air to the band while Helstar’s founders Larry Barragan and James Rivera are having the time of their life with the latter being right at home with the whole vampire theme of the album. Also, I’d go as far as to say that Barragan is doing a hell of a job on “Vampiro” and he has really outdone himself (and that says a lot considering his terrific job throughout the Helstar back catalogue).
From a pure musical standpoint, I’d say that “Vampiro” might be close to “Nosferatu” but at the same time bears many similarities to the two previous Helstar releases. For instance, the opening track “Awaken Into Darkness” and “Abolish The Sun” could have easily fit on “This Wicked Nest” while the superb “Blood Lust” could have been an outtake of the frenzy “Glory of Chaos” album. I have listened to the album at least 10 times so far and I keep discover new stuff…that’s the power and secret of “Vampiro”: it hides many new elements that need to be discovered by the ever careful listener. So far my personal favorite song is the magnificent “From The Pulpit To The Pit” that includes all the classic Helstar traces! Also, the closing “Dreamless Sleep” is the perfect ending to an excellent record and it kinda brought in mind the classic Hammer Horror movies.
So, all in all, brace yourselves because Helstar is back and the world of Vampires will never be the same again…Vampiro is here to haunt eternally your dreams!
Highlight: If you search for other trivia references, just take a notice to the 7th track on “Vampiro”. It’s called “Malediction”. Now check the 7th track on “Nosferatu”…