Riot was founded way back in
time, back in 1975 by Mark Reale and he has been the leader and main songwriter
for this heavy metal institution all the way until he passed away in 2012. So
the future for Riot looked very bleak to say the least, but lo and behold: a new
album is out now, under the moniker: Riot V and a great one I might add.
People will forever discuss
when they had their hay-days: some swears to their early days with albums like
"Fire Down Under" (1981) and "Restless Breed" (1982), while other prefers the
double pack of "Thundersteel" (1988) and "The Privilege of Power" (1990), but
almost everyone agrees on the fact that they have been on a downwards pointing
slope for quite some time.
People have been coming and
going in Riot and the band consists today of Mark's longtime songwriting partner
Mike Flyntz (Guitars), who together with new guitarist Nick Lee (a former
student of Mike's) have written twelve brilliant Riot songs that captures the
essence of the band very well: fast-paced razor-sharp guitar riffs, great
melodic guitar leads and harmonies. The signature high-pitched vocals are this
time done by Todd Michael Hall (Burning Starr,
Reverence) and he maintain the standard set by so many before him (I count at
least six!). The rhythm section is also occupied by two well known faces: Don
van Stavern (Bass) and Frank Gilchriest (Drums).
While the cover and lyrics are smeared with
clichés bordering to embarrassing, this is all about the music! And on that
level they deliver some of the best true heavy metal I have heard this year -
not that I dig deep into that sub-genre - and this tops what many consider to be
the premier band in this sub-genre, HammerFall - at least in my humble opinion.
A very well written album that not many had seen
coming and without a doubt their best album since "The Privilege of Power" and a
great testament to the legacy of the late Mark Reale.