RIOT - THUNDERSTEEL (Epic)
Back in 1977 Riot released their very first album. The band received a good fan base but never really broke through in that era. Although they played some cool kind of Hard Rock they never could compete with bands like UFO, MSG, Scorpions and Judas Priest. The album ''Fire Down Under'' was fantastic and Riot received plenty of success because of it (was this the very first Speed Metal album?). It might be one of the best albums of the year 1981... A few years later also the Thrash Metal movement was devastating and the guys of Riot understood speediness and heavy riffs were important to steal the souls of the Metal fans.
A perfect answer to the changing interests of the fans was the album ''Thundersteel''. The title track gave a perfect solution to what was asked by the crowd. The song has very good 'up tempo' rhythms and the refrain was extraordinary. The incomparable vocals of singer Tony Moore, high pitched and very strong, overwhelmed the listener. Also the guitar riffs, fast fingered and genius played, impressed me and made the song one of my favorite Metal songs. Riot delivered a refreshing sound in 1988 and I remember I turned the LP time after time, completely obsessed by it. With 'Fight Or Fall' another fast song is represented. Once again the riffs are pretty thrashy and once more Tony Moore's vocals lines are blowing the listener out of his chair. Riot keeps on playing traditional Heavy Metal but the empowerment by the production and rapid compositions gave them the flair of a Speed Metal band, or should we say this was typical US Power Metal?
On each song the refrains are so intelligent written that this record has an extremely addictive effect. Same counts for the astonishing guitar solos, the strings are pulled with a precise feeling to bring the listener in an emotional mood! Another important character is played by drummer Bobby Jarzombek, hitting hard his snare on very exciting tempi and leaving you speechless behind because of the way he plays the double bass drums. Slowing down with the mighty 'Sign Of The Crimson Storm' Riot goes back to its roots by adding melodic refrains on a solid base of pure Heavy Metal instruments. I keep on repeating Tony Moore did an outstanding job and he delivered uncountable mind blowing moments to this disc. The range of his timbre is pretty incredible, going from very high to low but without losing the strength and clearance of his beautiful voice.
By putting a heavy foot on the gear pedal Riot takes off with 'Flight Of The Warrior' which made it obvious this was the new path to Riot's destination...or not? I'™d like to talk about one more particular song, 'Buried Alive'. Wow, this is awesome! I told you before that I like songs that are capable to let me use my imagination; this is another perfect example. The intro owns some evil attractiveness and the start rhythm and refrains are outstanding! No matter how dark and creepy these lyrics are, the musical arrangements fit perfect on it. Every time I hear the song some horrible feeling overwhelms me, as if I am the man in the grave, breathing my last air... Superb!
The follow up album ''The Privilege Of Power'' was another good album but soon after Tony Moore left the band. It took years before this remarkable singer came back to the scene with a band called Faith & Fire. In Riot he was replaced by Mike DiMeo. Although this is a great singer too he slowly changed the style of Riot who became more and more a melodic Hard Rock band. Pretty normal if you ask me because his voice is too melodic for playing 101% true Metal! Never again a magical album like ''Fire Down Under'' or ''Thundersteel'' was released and the authentic Metal elements vanished each time a new album was released.
Riot was forced to play a role in the underground movement, their latest albums never gave them huge achievement. They received a status of being pure Metal warriors because of their history but the newer works proves they're not into this kind of music anymore. A pity if you ask me because this band had so much potentials and opportunities. I keep on dreaming for another pure Heavy Metal release with screaming guitars and surprising vocals.... Be sure the guys know the crowd likes the older tunes as I remember Mike DiMeo said 'You like this huh?' after they just played 'Thundersteel' on stage.
My Points: 100 / 100