Let the Mayhem being - The lord of Chaos James Speaks out.
There's no doubt about it but Helstar are one of the godfather's of Power Metal along side Omen and such other bands like Liege Lord, early Fates Warning, and the list goes on. It would be fair to say that Metal Blade Record's pretty much had the finest Power Metal bands back in the 80's. Helstar hailing from Texas have been around since the early 80's and released some of the finest albums that any Power Metal band could ever produce, with such albums like 'Remnants of War', 'A Distant Thunder', 'Nosferatu' and recently albums like 'King of Hell' and their awesome new album 'Glory of Chaos' which is about to shake the world of Heavy Metal and cause totally chaos. Released on AFM Records, this new album could be one of their finest releases to date. I managed to catch up with front man James Rivera about the new album and to find out what the future hold's for one of the finest if not thee finest Power Metal act. Here is what James had to say to the following questions.
Well James as always it's always great talking to you, Love Helstar and I always will love their music, I pretty much grew up on it. So let's start this update interview by asking you just how successful was the bands return last album 'King Of Hell'?
"Well it actually did really well for us, better than we predicted, considering what is well nowadays and from what we understand it did really well for the band. I really can't compare sales standards to what they use to be back in the 80's as things change."
From the 'King Of Hell' CD which songs stand out for you and why?
"Well I would have to say that my favourite song is 'Wicked Disposition' because of the vibe of the song, and the story line of the song, but I really think it is the whole vibe of the song with the guitar riffs, and it just has that cool sound to it."
Did the band do much touring for that release over here in Europe? I remember you saying that the UK could be included but it actually never happened, why was that?
"Well we were never approached by any agents over there in the UK, we actually got rejected by Bloodstock (Ed: No fucking way? I guess they might think you would blow the rest of the bands off stage haha!) Maybe you're right Jason, haha!! We actually did a small tour of Europe in May but it mainly went through Germany and Holland, Italy and a few other places. The biggest crowd reaction we got besides Germany was Holland. We actually did the tour on our own with local bands supporting us. It was suppose to of been a package tour with a tour bus and a band from Sweden but their tour bus broke down so we ended up doing the tour all by ourselves."
I really hope that you get the chance to tour the UK or at least play Bloodstock next year, I really can't wait to see the band live after been a fan since I was 16yrs old James!!
"Yeah we would love to play in the UK, hopefully next years Bloodstock, only time will tell? We could actually do a couple of dates in the UK before actually going over to Europe, that would be really cool."
I have noticed that Metal Blade records have recently re-issued the 'A Distant Thunder' & 'Nosferatu' CD's as a double package with a bonus live DVD from Xmas, how do you feel about that reissue?
"Well the label don't need my approval as they own the stuff and they did at least ask for my input which was very respectful having me do some liner notes and I came up with the cover concept and they re mastered it. I actually wanted to remix it but they wouldn't go that far."
The DVD for that reissue was recorded on Xmas day in 89, which was also released as a official live CD so it's great to finally see it on DVD finally.
"Yeah it was fun doing that show from what I can remember. I mean what else you going to do on Xmas day? A Helstar show now that's cool and it was sold out!!"
After the reunion you recorded 'The sins of the Past', have you ever thought of redoing the 'Multiples in Black' album? That was a pretty good album, but suffered with 2 producers and 2 studios, it kind of lacked in sound in the finally end product.
"Well there are trax from that album that we may end up re-recording and it we took the song 'Good day to Die' and re-recorded it the way it should of sounded back in the early 90's it would sound great. Dave Ellefson from Megadeth produced it and he cut it in half for radio play so the original version is a killer track that I think we may redo at some point."
So let's talk about the new amazing album 'Glory of Chaos', so why the title for this album? Were there any other titles in mind?
"Well I think it just fitted the whole message that we are trying to send out, as far as our presentation and our new record is considered with the intensity and aggression and I think the title is pretty much saying 'People fucking things up', and in the U.S. right now things are pretty much fucked up! It's all the politics, and everything in general is fucked up over here. The title was actually the first one that came to mind, we never considered using another title, we just thought the title summed up what was happening in the world. Larry came up with the title and we went with it straight away. We did have some other titles but none of them really stood out so I really can't remember them."
Who did the art work for this new album?
"It was the same artist who did the 'King of Hell' CD, his name is Janne Pitkanen and we gave him the title for the CD and he created to artwork from what I had told him. When Metal Blade re-released the CD's we have spoken about we created a shield for our band that has a satanic skull inside the star which is now our symbol. So we sent him that and he came up with the idea of the chaos symbol and we fell it love with it the minute we all saw it. The whole end results is the chaotic symbol of the Illuminatie."
So swiftly moving on.., let's talk about the songs on the new album, where they wrote a s team effort or do you write the lyrics whilst Larry and Rob write the music? What songs on the new album stand out for you and why?
"No we actually write as a team, Larry and myself split the lyrics between us and the whole album was pretty much wrote for some time now and it was written in about 3 months. Each song on the album has a strange meaning and one song is about the denial of all the child molestations going on in the catholic churches which is titled 'Angels fall to Hell', the next song 'Pandemonium' is about the new media and how they blow up all the negativity in the world just for higher ratings. The song 'Monarch of Bloodshed' is about terrorists, the song 'Bone Crusher' is about the mosh pit which is a cool metal song. We have a song called 'Summer of Hate'' which is about Charles Manson, 'Dethtrap' is about a movie I saw called 'Cube' which is about a massive cube which had lots of rooms in it and the people are trapped in it. Each room has a booby trap. Next is 'Anger', which is a personal situation which Larry has a lot of anger towards, so I won't mention any names. Next is 'Trinity of Heresy', which is about the devil and his opinions to why he was cast out of heaven and he still doesn't understand what happened to this day. Next is 'Alma Negra', which is a Spanish song & it means 'Black Hole' and is about the evil entity that has possessed serial killers and the outro at the end 'Zero One' is about something I saw in that film '2012' were when everything ended there were only so many survivors left and that was the first day of the new beginning of life again. Answering your question about my favoirite songs on the new records, well each day is different but right now I would say it's a toss between 'Dethtrap' and 'Pandemonium' & 'Summer of Hate'."
As I only have a promo of the new album, who produced the new album? Was it a band thing? Was Bill Metoyer involved?
"The album was recorded and produced by us, with the help of Craig Douglas at Origin Sounds studio here in Texas and it was mastered here by Achim Koehler in Germany. We are very happy with the end results but you can always say that you want more from the production sand that you wish you had more time."
What new bands have influenced you I ask this because it is typical Helstar sound but with a darker approach, what bands have influenced you to become a heavier and darker band now?
"Well I have always listened to bands like 'Dark Tranquility', 'Dimmi Borgir', 'Cradle of Filth', & Rob likes 'Lamb of God' a lot and bands like 'Forbidden', 'Nevermore', so we pretty much grow with the times."
Are you planning on doing a promo video for the new album? If so which song?
"Well we will see how things will go first and then decide that song we will do a promo video for, it might be for the songs 'Bone Crusher' or 'Pandemonium' with live footage with stuff off the news added to it."
Does the new album feature any special guest appearances? If so by whom?
"No not at all on the new album, but if time allowed it we may of considered it, we almost had Juan from Agent Steel doing a guitar solo on the record for a Saxon cover 'Heavy Metal Thunder' and we also recorded another cover song 'Animal Magnitude' The Scorpions."
The question most fans would like to know is... when will the band be recording and releasing a live DVD? You have a big back catalogue now of stuff that could be recorded and put out? Will it happen with the new CD?
"Well I am hoping that will be our next project once the new album is released, that is another idea we have in mind."
So what's the future plans for the band? Any festivals coming up in 2010 or 2011?
"Well we have nothing planned yet, we will see what will happen once the record has come out. When I get home I will be recording the next Seven Witches album with Jack Frost & Mike La Pond from Symphony X will play on the next album."
As always James, it's a pleasure interviewing you, do you have anything to ad? Thanx again and may Helstar reign!!
"Yeah, thanx for the interview Jason, I hope we meet again soon. To our fans thanx for the support, enjoy the new album and come and see us live if you can."
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