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Riot (later known as Riot V) is a metal band from Brooklyn, NY, United States that was formed in 1975 by guitarist Mark Reale with the original line-up being completed by Guy Speranza (vocals), Phil Feit (bass), and Peter Bitelli (drums). They recorded a four track demo together in an attempt to get included on a compilation of new rock bands. They were turned down but Riot was signed by producers Billy Arnell and Steve Loeb to their Fire-Sign Records label. There were some line-up changes, with the introduction of second guitarist Louie Kouvaris and a change of bassist to Jimmy Iommi and then Riot released their debut album, Rock City, in 1977. Their music over the years has varied from hard rock to traditional heavy metal to US power metal.

Soon though Riot were losing what momentum they had gained and in 1979 were on the verge of a
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RIOT Discography

RIOT albums / top albums

RIOT Rock City album cover 4.07 | 12 ratings
Rock City
Heavy Metal 1977
RIOT Narita album cover 4.17 | 14 ratings
Heavy Metal 1979
RIOT Fire Down Under album cover 4.59 | 14 ratings
Fire Down Under
Heavy Metal 1981
RIOT Restless Breed album cover 3.45 | 10 ratings
Restless Breed
Heavy Metal 1982
RIOT Born in America album cover 3.25 | 8 ratings
Born in America
Heavy Metal 1983
RIOT ThunderSteel album cover 4.24 | 28 ratings
US Power Metal 1988
RIOT The Privilege of Power album cover 3.89 | 14 ratings
The Privilege of Power
US Power Metal 1990
RIOT Nightbreaker album cover 3.38 | 8 ratings
Heavy Metal 1993
RIOT The Brethren of the Long House album cover 3.50 | 9 ratings
The Brethren of the Long House
Heavy Metal 1995
RIOT Inishmore album cover 4.29 | 8 ratings
Heavy Metal 1997
RIOT Sons of Society album cover 3.00 | 4 ratings
Sons of Society
Heavy Metal 1999
RIOT Through the Storm album cover 3.10 | 5 ratings
Through the Storm
Heavy Metal 2002
RIOT Army of One album cover 3.25 | 4 ratings
Army of One
Heavy Metal 2006
RIOT Immortal Soul album cover 4.06 | 8 ratings
Immortal Soul
US Power Metal 2011
RIOT Unleash the Fire album cover 4.06 | 8 ratings
Unleash the Fire
US Power Metal 2014
RIOT Armor of Light album cover 4.20 | 5 ratings
Armor of Light
US Power Metal 2018

RIOT EPs & splits

RIOT Riot Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Riot Live
Heavy Metal 1982

RIOT live albums

RIOT Riot Live album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Riot Live
Heavy Metal 1989
RIOT Live In Japan album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Japan
Heavy Metal 1992
RIOT Shine On album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Shine On
Heavy Metal 1998

RIOT demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

RIOT re-issues & compilations

RIOT singles (2)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Heavy Metal 1977
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Heavy Metal 1981

RIOT movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

RIOT Reviews

RIOT Fire Down Under

Album · 1981 · Heavy Metal
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"Swords and tequila, carry me through the night. Swords and tequila, carry me through the fight!"

Riot immediately established their own unique sound on their 1977 debut, and continued delivering the goods on their second album two years later. Another two years later, and the band blasted into the 80's with one of the greatest classics of traditional heavy metal. Fire Down Under not only marked the last album with vocalist Guy Speranza and the final album of their masterpiece trilogy, but it also happened to be the best of the bunch and the band's magnum opus.

What makes Fire Down Under stand out from the first two is just how it does pretty much everything the first two did, but with all of it turned up to 11. Everything is just exploding with heavy metal fury, even the moodier moments have an electrified presence about them. From beginning to end, this album is 37 and a half minutes of pure metal energy, with not a single weak moment. The moodier songs on the album take the form of "Feel the Same" and "Altar of the King". These tracks manage to maintain the high energy of the album while being absolutely beautiful at the same time. "Feel the Same" especially, with its somber main riff and Speranza's stunning vocal performance. It even makes me tear up sometimes.

The album begins with the one-two punch of "Swords and Tequila" and the title track. The former has always been my favorite Riot tune, it has such addictive hooks and it's impossible to not want to sing along to it. The title track is a blistering piece of early speed metal that will shred your skin right off. "Don't Bring Me Down" sounds a bit like classic Aerosmith on steroids, while "Don't Hold Back" and "Run For Your Life" are treats of the classic galloping riff. The only song that takes a bit of time to get used to is the finale of "Flashbacks". However, once you get past the talking at the beginning and focus on the blistering distortion and later catchy riff, it closes out the album really damn well.

Even though Riot's terrible mascot is staring you right in the face on Fire Down Under, somehow it works this time around. It almost seems to speak: "Yeah, our mascot sucks, what you gonna do about it?". If that was the intent, you can't get much more metal than that. Even if you still can't get past the cover art, at least give Fire Down Under a listen. If you don't, you're missing out on an amazing classic album that no self-respecting metalhead should miss.

RIOT Narita

Album · 1979 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
"Road Racin'. Movin' on down the line. Shiftin' gears, racin' through space and time"

Two years after Riot's phenomenal debut Rock City, the band continues at a steady pace with the amazing sound they set up with the debut. Keeping the heavy metal and hard rock blend in tact, not a whole lot has changed. It's another delivery of late 70's metal of the highest quality.

If you've heard any song from this album, it's probably either the instrumental title track or the classic "Road Racin'". I didn't mention this in my review of their debut, but Riot was probably a big influence on the NWoBHM, and the instrumental title track sure fits right in. "Road Racin'" is a classic and legendary song for a reason, immediately it just sucks you in with the electric drilling main riff. One of the greatest moments on the album is the absolutely blistering cover of Steppenwolf's classic "Born to Be Wild". Riot adds in so much personality and so much more fun to the song, with a pumping bassline that pops right out of your speakers, Speranza's fun vocal performance, and killer guitar work. Not to bash the original, but Riot's cover really hits it out of the park. The muscular "Kick Down the Wall", "Do It Up", and "Hot for Love" are other highlights.

Honestly there isn't a whole lot more I can say about the album without repeating what I said in my review of their debut. Riot retains their unique sound, their fun personality, and everything else great about them. However I would say that I prefer the debut, as only the last song on the album was on the weak end and it was short. There's only one weaker song on this album too, but it's the longest one. "Here We Come Again" isn't bad by any means, but six minutes is way too long for a song that doesn't hold up to the rest of the album.

Again, ignore the even more atrocious cover art and have yourself a blast with Narita. The best in Riot's masterpiece trilogy was to come very soon though, and there's no escaping the fire down under.

RIOT Rock City

Album · 1977 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
"Shine, shine on, Warrior."

Exploding onto the quickly growing metal scene in 1977, Riot unleashed the first taste of their high octane traditional metal with their debut Rock City. By this time, heavy metal was evolving out of it's development stages, and into a second wave of bands that propelled the genre into the 80's and into a more focused sound. So along with Judas Priest, Scorpions, Motorhead, and Heavy Load, Riot brought heavy metal into a truly "traditional" sound.

Already Riot feels very comfortable in their own sound, as this debut is not far off from the band's legendary classics like Narita and Fire Down Under. Influences from Sweet's heavy metal moments can be heard, as well as some more hard rock leaning moments reminiscent of bands like Led Zeppelin and UFO. Overall though, it can easily be compared to what Judas Priest would be doing on Killing Machine just a year later.

The album opens right up with a one-two punch of "Desperation" and "Warrior", which have everything that's great about late 70's metal. The title track follows with a more hard rock sound, though the solo is pure metal all the way. "Angel" and "Heart of Fire" are a couple more high energy bursts of classic metal, especially the latter. It just explodes right out the door, and has an absolutely driving main riff that pulses with energy. While it's close with that song, the best on the album would probably have to go to "Overdrive", which has such a massive drum sound that makes it impossible to not stomp your foot.

Something that I absolutely love about the first three Riot albums, is how much personality there is. A lot of that personality comes from Guy Speranza's vocals. He has such a unique voice and has the perfect combination of metal attitude and beautiful melody. The closest comparison I can make is James Young of Styx, who sang on the band's heaviest tracks. "Overdrive" and "Heart of Fire" have that great heavy metal attitude blended with wonderful melodies, while "Gypsy Queen" has one of the most beautiful melodies in 70's metal.

Like with many debuts, Riot's is another one that has gone underrated. Ignore the atrocious cover art, and get ready for a ride of awesome classic metal that screams of personality. It's a great start to a fantastic career. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

RIOT The Privilege of Power

Album · 1990 · US Power Metal
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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 The Privilege of Power

Album · 1990 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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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