Alcatraz Line up: 2009, 2011, 2019
The combination of young and old is starting to look like the red thread for AMF2019. With a 36-year track record Helstar ranks among the latter category. Formed in Houston, Texas, they were a major influence on the thriving American power metal scene in the 80s. They went on hiatus multiple times in the 90s but subsequently found their second wind. The driving forces behind the band are songwriter/guitarist Larry Barragan and vocalist James Rivera, whose signature sound is one of the standout features of this underestimated heavy metal band. In the 90s James Rivera was involved in several other bands, including a 1998 release by Destiny’s End. The 2006 return of guitarist Larry Barragan signalled the start of a genuine revival for Helstar. Since then they’ve put out a series of excellent records and on their most recent CDs Helstar sound revitalised and heavier than ever before, with ‘The Wicked Nest’ (2014) and ‘Vampiro’ (2016) as the main highlights. The latter was a bit of a risk since it’s the sequel to their acclaimed ‘Noseferatu’ (1989). Thrashier than its antecedent, ‘Vampiro’ proves Helstar is far from done. They did time at our facility in 2011 and now they’re back! Add in the prospect of a new album in 2019 and there’s more than enough reason to rock out to Helstar.