Metal Blade [Release date 30.06.17]
Riot are a US heavy metal band that formed in the mid 70s and came to the fore in the late 70s and early 80s, before moving into a more power metal direction. The band have reformed twice, and continued to record with an ever rotating line-up. Since the death of founder member and guitarist Mark Reale, the band have continued as Riot V with no original members. 1979’s Narita is still widely considered a classic and essential listening.
These late 90′s albums get an overhaul with bonus tracks, and are packaged excellently. How reissues should be.
1997’s Inishmore (released in Japan 2 months before the US release) is conceptually based on Celtic and Irish sagas and legends. Alongside guitarist Mark Reale are vocalist Mike DiMeo, guitarist Mike Flyntz, bassist Pete Perez and drummer Bobby Jarzombek.
The intro is atmospheric, building into Angel Eyes, with some excellent guitar interplay and a fast rhythm driven by machine-gun drums. Some of the guitar harmonies in Liberty stand out. Unashamedly straight down the line power metal and often all the better for it; a couple of tracks sees the guitars stumble over each other a little but beyond that it’s a fantastic album and better than most of the 90s metal trends. ****
1998’s live album Shine On, here expanded from 17 to 20 tracks, opens with some Celtic violin (a hint of Thin Lizzy’s Black Rose) before diving into the aforementioned Angel Eyes, it’s a blistering and well received set. There’s a hint of melodic power metal, and the cover of Danny Boy gets an airing too. Warrior from the debut is excellent, although the set as a whole is light on early material. ***1/2
Sons Of Society, the band’s eleventh studio album, was originally released in 1999, and here restores the track Queen, absent from original releases outside of Japan.
Snake Charmer is the worst kind of opening intro, sounding disjointed, but the album quickly settles into some wonderful and solid power metal with excellent guitar work. The vocals have power and range, and some of the guitar work is really rocking. A couple of neoclassical scales nod to Ritchie Blackmore. ***1/2
All three albums really deserve to be explored and a plethora of extra tracks make for essential listening. If only the whole catalogue got this treatment.
Review by Joe Geesin
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