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RIOT V Unleash The Fire

    Horace Cordier
    Senior Member

  • RIOT V Unleash The Fire

    Released by: Steamhammer/SPV
    Released on: October 27th, 2014.
    Purchase From Amazon

    RIOT, one of NYC's earliest and greatest metal acts, go all the way back to the mid-1970's with 1977's "Rock City". Through decades and a number of vocalists and other players, the one mainstay was guitarist Mark Reale. RIOT's first successful phase culminated in the brilliant "Fire Down Under" LP in 1981. That ferocious statement of intent landed them on tours all over the UK and Europe blowing the likes of Sammy Hagar off stages. After a less successful run with new vocalist Rhett Forrester in the mid-80's where the band attempted a bluesier sound Reale created RIOT's second masterpiece - 1988's techno-metal marvel "Thundersteel".

    "Thundersteel" showed RIOT in a spectacularly aggressive mood. Proto-speed metal with vocalist Tony Moore operating in an insane upper range it went toe-to-toe with albums like JUDAS PRIEST's "Painkiller" and more than held its own. Tracks like "Bloodstreets" and "Johnny's Back" were perfect meldings of unchained aggression and stinging melodic guitar leads and propulsive drumming. After one more messy record - "The Privilege Of Power", this lineup fell apart and Reale soldiered on with other setups until 2011. Reale reunited the Moore fronted lineup that year for "Immortal Soul". This was a terrific comeback. It looked like things were were finally looking up.

    Sadly, Reale, a longtime sufferer of Crohn's disease died in 2012 and with his family's blessing the band decided to carry on and keep his legacy alive under the new RIOT V moniker. Vocalist Moore was unable to continue due to personal reasons but the band have recruited new guy Todd Michael Hall who's a dead ringer for Moore. The songwriting is handled by bassist Don Van Stavern and guitarist Mike Flyntz (lynchpins of the "Thundersteel" era music writing) who have written a great CD that's a fitting tribute to the spirit of Mark Reale. This is flashy and slick speed metal with great vocals and top tier riffs. RIOT was always about the metal with melody and they dish it up here with gusto. Opener "Ride Hard Live Free" is a bit lower in the muscle department but by track two and "Metal Warrior" these guys are pushing at full power. The guitar solos are old school but beautifully crafted and the whole vibe is classic HM. Of the two tributes to Reale the best is the genuinely moving "Until We Meet Again".

    The other highlights are ridiculously catchy "Return Of The Outlaw" and the panzer blitz of "Fall From The Sky". Those with a taste for great playing and epic metal songwriting will dig this one. The limited edition ends with a cracking live bonus track of the band doing "Thundersteel" in front of a crazed German crowd.

    Recommended. Highly. Taste the steel.

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