Review of "Nosferatu" by Texas Progressive Metal Band Helstar
Why is "Nosferatu" Such a Great Album?
"Nosferatu" is the 4th studio album by Texas progressive metal band Helstar and it the first album that I ever heard from these guys and I was impressed right from the beginning. I call this album revolutionary and ground breaking because of the lyrical themes in it.
The Front Album Cover For Nosferatu
How Does the Album Nosferatu Begin?
The song Rhapsody in Black is only 58 seconds long with both an acoustic part and an electric guitar part. And it shows the musical brilliance of this band as we get into the song called Baptized in Blood.
The Album Nosferatu Then Gets Really Good!
Vocalist James Rivera sounds somewhat like Fates Warning’s Ray Alder but he does a good job without straining himself. Baptized in Blood is about a person that is so demented that he feels the need to torment others by ending their lives. The lyrics speak for themselves as this creature is ready to feast on its prey. Before the solo, I see a few notes that remind me of Yngwie J. Malmsteen. To Sleep, Per Chance to Scream has the lyrical themes of the previous song. The solos and guitar work resemble the first Rising Force album in 1984. Harker’s Tale lyrically is about what someone has to do to extinguish a vampire. This is not quite Mercyful Fate style lyrics but they are not for every music fan to be comfortable with.
Perseverance and Desperation More Than Just an Instrumental Song
The instrumental song called Perseverance and Desperation sounds like a slower version of Fire and Ice era Malmsteen. For 1989, these kinds of instrumentals were ground breaking because of the beauty and technicality.
Helstar Also Influenced Bands Such as Opeth
Then comes the very melodic song “The Curse Has Passed Away.” The song is about someone that is ashamed of himself as he walks through darkness and he has sinned very much. He is asking for forgiveness. He is suffering from a kind of sickness and he is praying that this curse will be lifted. The acoustic guitar we hear in this song would be an influence for Swedish band Opeth. Whether it is by coincidence or not, Opeth would be formed in 1990, the year after Nosferatu came out.
The Song Called "Baptized in Blood"
The Song Called "Perseverance and Desperation"
Final Thoughts About the Album Nosferatu
The song Harsh Reality is about what politicians do behind the scenes even if they may smile out in public. As secret deals are made, homelessness becomes a major problem as people turn to crime to make ends meet. The homelessness problem exploded in the 1980’s as President Ronald Reagan closed down many of the mental hospitals. I wonder if any conservative Republicans will listen to this song and realize what is going on in this country with the homelessness issue. Nonetheless, Helstar did a great job by writing this song to raise awareness. The next song is a classically influenced instrumental which has a very long name. Not too many metal albums can be given a perfect score but Nosferatu is a really solid album from this Houston, Texas band!
Perhaps it is only fitting that we take another look at Nosferatu over 30 years later and see just how it has aged. I know that this album has been classified as progressive metal but it is not a full progressive metal album by any stretch. The album has acoustic parts, neoclassical parts, and fast parts. Upon further analysis, there is yet another instrumental song that we have not covered in this review and that song is actually called Von Am Lebem Desto Strum. This third instrumental song is very much classically influenced and it is repetitious in some aspects but after so many heavy songs, this one is a welcome treat to relax us. Even over 30 years later, Nosferatu is one of the best albums for Helstar.
Rate Helstar's 1989 Album Nosferatu
The Song Called "Harsh Reality"
© 2017 Ara Vahanian