Released: 2014, SPV
Reviewer: Helias Papadopoulos
Riot is a very special case of a band that could not "charm" the great masses as much as it deserved, was not able to make record sales to the same levels as Iron Maiden or Metallica, but in my humble opinion, this band is equal to the fore-said metal giants.
A couple days ago the new album UNLEASH THE FIRE came into my hands. I was very curious to hear what RIOT V (it is a new incarnation of their band, launched by the remaining members) can offer to us after the big loss of its leader Mark Reale. On the previous album IMMORTAL SOUL (2011), the line up was exactly the same as THUNDERSTEEL album’s one (1988) and PRIVILEGE OF POWER (1990) with the great addition of Mike Flyntz on guitars and everyone said that something big is coming out. But after the death of Mark Reale, we thought that if they continue to exist under the name Riot, there would be a great chance to keep the band with perhaps the sole purpose to regurgitate the glorious past.
But now UNLEASH THE FIRE blew up like a bomb over our heads, or rather our ears. The good and old Riot have a new album out reminiscent of the best and most creative days. This band set out to impress us once again. Although the band has none of the original members in the line up, it manages to gives us generous sounds that we could not see in our wildest dreams as the time passing changes and the synthetic capacity of certain artists either decline or get some strange roads sometimes, isn’t it?
The 80's atmosphere that pervades the album, keeps the legacy of Mark Reale alive, giving the band the recognition it deserves. The voice of vocalist Todd Michael Hall is fantastic and fits perfectly with the style of the band. He is a singer who has already left his vocal mark with Harlet, Reverence and Jack Starr's Burning Starr. Here's a singer whose crystal voice renews the band together with the other members to give us an album full of everything Riot that we love and have adored for all these years. Of course, you have to listen to all the songs of UNLEASH THE FIRE because they are true metal diamonds. But if I had to recommend one of these would be the opening 'Ride Hard Live Free', 'Immortal', 'Metal Warrior', 'Land of the Rising Sun', the amazing power ballad 'Until we meet again' where you can listen to unjustly departed Mark Reale’s voice and laughter.
I let these glorious guitar lines flow over me. The dynamics of Riot V’s new album, UNLEASH THE FIRE are simply staggering. UNLEASH… is a calculated piece of power metal art, with strong musicianship and a production job skilfully left just on the right side of raw and dirty rock n roll as only Riot can deliver.