Ever since I first heard “Flight of the Warrior” (many years after its release I hasten to add. Yet another band I was late to the party for!) I have been a huge fan of Riot and having the chance to review their latest three releases (re-workings of three previously released albums) was something I just could not turn down.
Often hailed as one of the most unluckiest bands in heavy metal, Riot are an American heavy metal band, founded in New York City in 1975 by guitarist Mark Reale. But after recording their first album, “Rock City,” and having support slots with the AC/DC and Molly Hatchet, the band were unable to maintain momentum and were on the verge of splitting up by 1979.
This was the year, however, that the New Way of British Heavy Metal scene appeared and the band came to the attention of renowned DJ Neal Kay, who spread the word about them in Britain. British fans brought up imported copies of “Rock City” and this encouraged the band to record their second album “Narita”, released in 1979.
Although having a long running successful career, they reached their peak of popularity in the early 1980’s, touring with the likes of AC/DC, Molly Hatchet, Sammy Hagar, Kiss, Vandenberg, Black Sabbath and Rush and 1981 saw the release of their biggest selling album, Fire Down Under, which reached the top 100 of the billboard chart.
Initially their sound was straight forward heavy metal but after the release of 1988’s Thundersteel album, their musical direction changed to more along the lines of power metal (with a bit of good old American rock n roll throw in.)
There have been various personnel changes over the years, vocalists Guy Speranza and Rhett Forrester both suffering untimely deaths, and the passing of founding member and band leader, guitarist Mark Reale due to complications with Crohn’s Disease in 2012, resulting in no original members left in the band.
This, however, didn’t stop the remaining members carrying on and in 2013, they re-launched themselves as “Riot V”, the name Riot having been laid to rest at the request of Mark’s father, and in 2014 released the album “Unleash the Fire,” the first without Reale.
Now, in 2017, the band are back with the re-issue of three of their classic back catalogue, “Inishmore”, “Shine On” and “Sons of Society”. These two studios (Inishmore and Sons of Society) and one live album (Shine On) are melodic power metal gems and are a must have addition to any fans collection, all three albums re-mastered by Patrick Engel for optimal sound quality.
The two studio albums show Riot at the top of their game. I must admit I hadn’t heard of these albums (despite being a huge fan. Shame on me!) but I must say that they have shown another side to Riot that I didn’t know existed.
Originally released in 1998 and 1999, respectively, it wasn’t the era of Riot that I had initially been introduced to and I just have to say one thing…….I missed out! These albums are fantastic, American power metal at its best, and, despite the various line-up changes the band had endured, unmistakeably RIOT!
Built on Celtic legends, Inishmore is atmospheric and conceptual, the guitar intricacies and pounding drums make this straight power metal at its best, while Sons of Society is solid, with excellent guitar work and powerful vocals. Inishmore has now also produced my favourite Riot song in Angel Eyes (possibly also overtaking previous personal favs Outlaw and Flight of the Warrior.)
The live album Shine On is a re-working of the 1998 album, extended here to 20 tracks from 17, but gives the listener the opportunity to hear this awesome band live, something which I have unfortunately never done.
If you haven’t heard of Riot before, where the hell have you been for the past 40 years??? But if you have, then go get yourself these re-issues. They will be a superb addition to your collection and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
This band have been through a lot to get where they are and really are true metal soldiers. They will keep marching and fighting the good fight to continue to bring you the music you’ve come to know, love and expect!
1. Black Water
2. Angel Eyes
4. Kings Are Falling
5. The Man
6. Watching the Signs
7. Should I Run
8. Cry for the Dying
9. Turning the Hands of Time
10. 15 Rivers
11. Red Reign
13. Inishmore (Forsaken Heart)
15. Danny Boy
16. 15 Rivers (Acoustic Demo)
1. Black Water (Live)
2. Angel Eyes (Live)
3. Soldier (Live)
4. The Man (Live)
5. Kings Are Falling (Live)
6. Bloodstreets (Live)
7. Watching the Signs (Bonus Track) \[Live]
8. Swords and Tequila (Live)
9. Cry for the Dying (Live)
10. Inishmore (Forsaken Heart) \[Live]
11. Inishmore (Live)
12. Danny Boy (Live)
13. Liberty (Live)
14. Gypsy (Live)
15. The Last of the Mohicans (Intro) \[Live]
16. Glory Calling (Live)
17. Thundersteel (Live)
18. Nightbreaker (Bonus Track) \[Live]
19. Outlaw (Live)
20. Warrior (Live)
Sons of Society
1. Snake Charmer
2. On the Wings of Life
3. Sons of Society
4. Twist of Fate
5. Bad Machine
6. Cover Me
8. The Law
9. Time to Bleed
13. Sons of Society (Instrumental Rough Mix)
14. The Law (Instrumental Rough Mix)
15. Time to Bleed (Instrumental Rough Mix)
16. Somewhere (Instrumental Rough Mix)
17. Promises (Instrumental Rough Mix)
Originally posted on Ever Metal