Review Summary: While A Distant Thunder may slightly edge it in terms of quality, Nosferatu is Helstar's most prolific album for a reason.
Nosferatu is often considered to be Helstar's flagship with respect to their extremely solid output of speed metal during the '80s and since the post-2000 reunion. While it doesn't outdo the generally more successful A Distant Thunder, it's still without a doubt a highlight of the 80s metal scene and an excellent demonstration of technical musicianship combined with more than competent song-writing.
Musically, Nosferatu is much the same as their preceding effort. Guitars play thrashy riffs with twisty technical sections, while the drums and bass lay an excellent foundation for the soaring (and standout) solos and vocals. Here, however, everything feels a bit more cohesive and, simply put, experienced; there are no longer so many riffs that don't quite fit (like in Genius Of Insanity
's intro), and thus everything feels a little more consistent in quality. Despite this, A Distant Thunder also identifiably felt somewhat less bloated; a lot of the tracks here feature quite extensive instrumental intros, and not in quite such effective moderation as before. Rhapsody In Black/Baptised In Blood
, To Sleep, Per Chance To Scream
, Harker's Tale
, and Perseverance And Desperation
all have blistering opening instrumental sections, but they're all rather similar, save for the former, and considering all these tracks are consecutive, there's a strong chance that the album gets a bit dull compared to the preceding effort. The second half, however, has comparatively few of these sections and it takes away from the album that the pacing really falls into two halves, rather than having the tracks better distributed.
Despite this issue, though, the album is extremely strong on the merit of the songwriting. The tracks manage to sustain their lengths equally well as on A Distant Thunder, and the song lengths are a little shorter overall, helping to keep the tracks from becoming stale. Add this to the generally high quality of each track and a decent amount of variety in tempo around the album, and it's not hard to see why this album is considered quite so highly as it is.
Aieliaria and Everon
Rhapsody In Black/Baptised In Blood
Harker's Tale (Mass Of Death)
Perseverance And Desperation