There are certain bands that Rick just KNOWS I love, and if one of their albums pops into our Ever Metal inbox, he will send it over to me without even asking! One such band is Riot V!
I became a fan when I first heard ‘Flight of the Warrior’ a few years back (I always said I was born FAR too late!!) and have loved them ever since, reviewing AND interviewing them for Ever Metal.
Now, despite my love of the heavy/power metal band from the USA, reviewing this album always had one drawback for me. It’s a LIVE album! My consensus about live albums is that (and you can quote me on this!) “THEY ARE POO!” None of the so-called classic live albums from Kiss Alive II, to Queen’s Live Killers to Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous did ANYTHING for me. Some might call me a philistine for saying that, but I also know there will be a fair few people who will agree with me. I get used to singing along to a track as they have recorded it and then along comes a live album where the singer thinks he can just sing the songs as he wishes….and all my timing goes out the window!! So, this album automatically drops a point for being a live one! Sorry!
Ok, just a brief history on the band. Riot were formed in the USA by guitarist Mark Reale in 1975. (Mark, unfortunately, died in 2012 but I am sure that he would be immensely proud of the Riot V legacy that still lives on.) Their debut album “Rock City” was released in 1979 and was mainly appreciated in the UK where NWOBHM was bursting onto the scene. But there was another country that welcomed the album with open arms and that was Japan.
‘Warrior’ was released as a 7” EP in Japan and the song has been Japan’s heavy metals fan’s favourite for 40 years. To further reinforce the relationship between band and country came the release of their second album “Narita”, which was named after the people’s struggle with the government over the construction of New Tokyo International Airport at Narita.
So, what better country to release a live album from and on March 11th, 2018, Riot V played their six album “Thundersteel” in its entirety at Club Catta in Japan.
The first thing I will say about this album, though, is that at 1 hour and 50 minutes long, that’s 23 tracks, you certainly would have got value for money with this gig!!
The second thing I will say, is that this is not like any other live album I have ever heard! And that, my friends, is a good thing.
Now, this is going to sound like the ramblings of a mad woman but the thing I absolutely hate about live albums (apart from the lyric thingy mentioned above) is the crowd noise. I know this is necessary to give the album that live, raw sound but when it kind of overtakes the lyrics and music, it’s all a bit of overkill. This album, however, doesn’t have this. Yes, there is the sound of the crowd after each song (as there should be) and at the “crowd participation” bits (another pet hate of mine!) but it is not so much in your face as I have heard on other live albums. I don’t know if this is because the producers have turned down the sound of the crowd while the band are singing or because the Japanese fans are actually silent at these times! Whichever it is, it’s a good thing in my eyes (or should I say ears!?)
Another thing I don’t understand about live albums is why the band actually release them when they have obviously been pretty dire on the night! I’m guessing this is a contractual obligation or something of that nature, but I would have thought releasing a decent recording would be a better idea. Anyway, the reason behind me making this point is that Riot V need not worry.
This is a brilliant live album. The band sounded absolutely fantastic, Todd Michael Hall’s voice holding out for the whole of the 1 hour and 50 minutes. Those who are Riot fans will know that this is nowhere near the original line-up, far from it, but they play so well together, if you close your eyes, you could almost believe it was the original band up on that Japanese stage.
All the hits are included on this album, from ‘Thundersteel’, to ‘Angel Eyes’, to ‘Johnny’s Back’ to ‘Road Racing’ and ‘Swords and Tequila’. I, personally, love all these tracks and many more in addition and the only gripe I would have with this live album is that the track ‘Outlaw’ has not been included (my second favourite track after ‘Angel Eyes’) but the rest of the album make up for this one little misdemeanour.
So, what did I think of this album? Hated it!! Ha ha only joking. As live albums go it was actually very good. It originally dropped one point for being live but in my opinion, it doesn’t drop any more. I might be a tad biased being the big Riot V fan that I am but do me a favour and give it a go yourself. Hopefully, you will agree with me.
I have never seen Riot V live in concert (hint hint guys! I’m in London by the way!) but one thing this album did do, was make me want to see these guys live! Hopefully this will be something I can do before I pass over to the heavy metal gig in the sky, but in the meantime this album will be a necessary substitute.
Riot V – one of the best, underrated bands ever!!
Armour Of Light
Ride Hard Live Free
On Your Knees
Fall From The Sky
Wings Are For Angels
Land Of The Rising Sun
Take Me Back
Fight Or Fall
Sign Of The Crimson Storm
Flight Of The Warrior
On Wings Of Eagles
Run For Your Life
Swords And Tequila
Originally posted on Ever Metal