Texas-based metal veterans HELSTAR have issued the following update:
“It’s been a few months since we’ve issued an update and there are several news items we’d like to share with you HEL-raisers on what to expect in 2013!
“As many of you know, early in the new year we will set sail from Miami onboard the largest floating heavy metal festival 70000 Tons Of Metal. We are proud to have been invited and look forward to this awesome opportunity, but why stop there? Since we’ll be in the area, we decided to schedule several onshore gigs in Florida as well! Our first stop is the city once described as the ‘damnedest town this side of Hell,’ aka Tampa, at the legendary Brass Mug on Saturday, January 26th, followed by the Metal Cruise Pre-Party (also featuring FLOTSAM AND JETSAM) at Miami’s Grand Central on Sunday, January 27th. After we return from the high seas of metal, we’re heading southeast of Orlando to the city of Melbourne, where we’ll wrap up on Saturday, February 2nd at The County Line Saloon.
“On a more somber note, after several years of enduring a stomach-related illness, our bassist, Jerry Abarca, continues to fight an unrelenting battle to regain his health and will take an extended break from the band for the foreseeable future. We had all hoped that he would have fully recovered by now, but the reality is that he is still very ill. This was made painfully obvious to us on our recent tour of Europe when he had to be hospitalized again and missed the biggest show of the entire run. To continue in this manner would be unfair to everyone involved, Jerry, his family, our fans, and the rest of the band. And while we will all miss him onstage, it would be highly selfish for us to continue to place such stress on him and his family just to keep the status quo. As a ‘family’ first and foremost outfit, we are all very supportive of him putting the band aside to focus on his personal health and the welfare of his family and we wish him all the best on the road to recovery.
“To meet our upcoming performance commitments, we are happy to announce that the musician selected to fulfill the bass obligations for our upcoming shows is none other than Mike LePond of SYMPHONY X. Some of you familiar with James‘ [Rivera, vocals] history already know that he and Mike have previously worked together in the bands SEVEN WITCHES and DISTANT THUNDER. Mike is a close friend of ours and he currently has some down time, so we reached out to him and he gladly obliged to join for these shows. While there are many great bass players in the world, we feel there is only a handful who possess both the caliber of musicianship necessary to fill such large shoes and who also fit the mold of HELSTAR. So with that, we welcome Mr. LePond onboard with open arms and know that our fans will too!
“Thus, we will forge ahead at full throttle in 2013! Our return to the East Coast metal markets is in the works for March, with a Brooklyn, NY show confirmed for Saturday the 9th at Saint Vitus Bar, plus a couple of other gigs tentatively slated for the same weekend. A Midwest run may follow soon after, and in between all of this, the next HELSTAR album is already being crafted! More updates are yet to come!”
HELSTAR released “30 Years Of Hel”, a DVD containing footage of the band’s March 24, 2012 30-year-anniversary hometown show at Warehouse Live in Houston, on October 2 in North America (August 31 in Europe) via AFM Records. The DVD+2CD set includes footage of the band performing songs spanning its entire career, including material from the often-overlooked “Multiples Of Black” release. The package also features interviews with each bandmember, as well as with the entire group, conducted by “Robb’s MetalWorks” and focusing specifically on this milestone.
The “Toward The Unknown” performance from the “30 Years Of Hel” DVD can be seen below.
HELSTAR released its latest album, “Glory Of Chaos”, in November 2010 via Germany’s AFM Records.
Formed in Houston in the early ’80s, HELSTAR cut its teeth playing backyard parties and small club gigs. It soon became apparent that HELSTAR had much more to offer then its contemporaries. Combat Records snapped up the band and released HELSTAR‘s debut, “Burning Star”, in 1984. Next came “Remnants of War”, followed by HELSTAR‘s breakthrough album, “A Distant Thunder”, in 1988. The success of “A Distant Thunder” ultimately set up HELSTAR‘s most critically acclaimed album, 1989’s “Nosferatu”.