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3.89 | 14 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1990

Filed under US Power Metal


1. On Your Knees (6:37)
2. Metal Soldiers (6:40)
3. Runaway (5:11)
4. Killer (4:52)
5. Dance of Death (7:17)
6. Storming the Gates of Hell (3:42)
7. Maryanne (4:55)
8. Little Miss Death (4:11)
9. Black Leather and Glittering Steel (7:06)
10. Racing With the Devil on a Spanish Highway (Revisited) (7:16)

Total Time: 57:51


- Tony Moore / Vocals
- Mark Reale / Guitars
- Don Van Stavern / Bass
- Bobby Jarzombek / Drums

Guest/Session Musicians:

- Joe Lynn Turner / Vocals (track 4)
- Randy Brecker / Horns
- T. M. Stevens / Bass
- GE Smith / Guitars
- Jon Faddis / Horns
- Dave Bargeron / Horns
- Ron Cuber / Horns
- Lawrence Feldman / Horns
- Bob Held / Bass (track 8)
- Greg Adams / Horns
- Emilio Castillio / Horns
- Steve Kupka / Horns
- Lee Thornburg / Horns
- Steve Gross / Horns

About this release

Released by Epic Records, February 28th, 1990.

Reissued by Metal Blade in 2015.

Executive producer: Vince Perazzo
Producers: Steve Loeb
Additional producers: Mark Reale, Rob Hui
Engineering: Rob Hui, Nick Sansano, Chris Shaw, Kirk Yano, "Metal" Dan Wood, Dave Swanson, Jason Vogel, Kenny Almestica, Glenn Zimet
Art direction: Alan Weinberg
Cover art: Don Ivan Punchatz
Mastering: Roger Lomas
Photography: Mark "Weiss Guy" Weiss, Lisa Powers

Thanks to adg211288, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The Privilege of Power (1990) is the seventh full-length album by US power/heavy metal act Riot. It was the second album to feature the vocals of Tony Moore; the next would not be until Immortal Soul (2011). As the follow-up to ThunderSteel (1988), an album that is widely considered a classic of the USPM genre, The Privilege of Power had big shoes to fill. 25 years later and history tells us that The Privilege of Power never quite made it out of ThunderSteel's shadow - and I think there's a good reason for that - but you know what? I think this is a great album worthy of a place in any metalhead's collection. And it also has something quite unusual going for it.

First though, the problem. The Privilege of Power makes use of a rather excessive amount of sampling between the actual songs which actually proves to be a hindrance to the flow of the album. Right from the get-go you have to sit though the sound effect of someone flicking through TV channels (which includes a quick bar of the A-Team theme) before you even start to get a semblance of a band playing and even then it takes a while for the opener On Your Knees to really get going into the storming USPM track that it is. This is a common occurrence for the album. The strength of the songs saves it, but I think that The Privilege of Power would be a more immediately enjoyable experience without it or at the very least a lot less of this sort of thing. It makes the album need time to grow on the listener which it may not otherwise have required.

Now for the unusual. On this album Riot decided to feature as guests...a horn section. Yep, a horn section on a traditional/USPM record. I can't say that I know of any other band that has done that. The effect is distinctly different from the symphonic metal style that has since become prevalent. This is one of those things that, on paper, I think I'd be a bit sceptical about, but it actually works, quite well even.

At its heart though, The Privilege of Power is an excellent collection of power and heavy metal tracks. Personally speaking I find that the faster USPM stuff like Storming the Gates of Hell hits the spot much more, but this is well crafted no matter the direction it takes, though Metal Soldiers sounds a little too like a long lost Judas Priest song for comfort while with Maryanne the band moves quite close to commercial territory. Joe Lynn Turner also pops up during Killer for a duet with Tony Moore.

I really like The Privilege of Power but it's definitely the sort of album one needs to approach with some patience, and give it at least three listens to sink in too. Do that and I'm sure you'll find the same highly recommendable album that I did.
Riot followed up Thundersteel with this album, which at points comes across as an unabashed celebration (or, if you're less favourable to them, shameless rip-off) of Judas Priest. Despite being occasionally accompanied on some tracks by the famed Tower of Power horn section, for the most part the classic Judas Priest sound informs the compositions; Metal Soldiers, in particular, sounds spookily like something from the Killing Machine or British Steel era. Good, entertaining stuff, but hardly very original, and whilst it's a good homage to Judas Priest, it doesn't quite measure up to the real thing to my ears. Still, the Al di Meola cover version the album's capped off with is interesting.

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