Riot – Rockworld (Rare & Unreleased 87-95)

Riot – Rockworld (Rare & Unreleased 87-95)
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 27/03/2020
Running Time: 1:16:13
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
9/10

If you know me, and have read reviews by me in the past, you will know that I am a big, no humungous, fan of Riot (in all its connotations). The band were resurrected in 2015, after the death of founding member Mark Reale, under the name Riot V. Ever since I first heard ‘Flight of The Warrior’ blasting out through my laptop’s speakers (far too many years after its original release unfortunately) they have maintained their place in my top ten of bands…EVER!

Founded in New York in 1975 by guitarist, Mark Reale, they have undergone various line-up changes, suffered tragedy after tragedy and, in my opinion, really should have been bigger than they were/are. The deaths of vocalist Rhett Forrester in 1994 and Guy Speranza in 2003, were followed by the death of Mark, himself, in 2015 after complications with Crohn’s disease, and even as late as 2020, Lou Kouvaris, former guitarist with the band from 1975 – 1978, passed away after contracting the deadly Coronavirus which, as we know, has caused a worldwide pandemic.

But still they pressed on and 45 years and sixteen studio albums later (the last “Armor of Light” being released on April 27th, 2018) thankfully they are still with us and still making music.

This album was by no means just quickly thrown together as the following statement from Giles Lavery on Jan 8th, 2020 from Los Angeles testifies:

“In mid-March 2016, I was asked to organise and catalogue the considerable archives of the late Mark Reale. As a lifelong Riot fan this was an exciting prospect. Little did I know this would turn into almost a year of working through cassette tapes (mostly unlabelled), VHS cassettes and ancient reel to reel formats…from this many never heard before songs and pieces of music were unearthed.”

Released on March 27th, 2020, this album is a compilation of rarities, from alternatives to album versions of tracks, demo tracks and outtakes that never made it to final albums. All tracks have been remastered by Patrick W Engel and the cover artwork has been provided by Jan Meininghaus.

The album kicks off with the track ‘Rockworld Theme’. Rockworld was a music TV show from the late 1970’s and Riot were approached to compose and record a track for the main theme. How many of you knew that, eh? And what better track to name the album after.

The second track ‘Bloodstreets’ is one of my favourites on the album. It is a Thundersteel era track (no wonder it’s one of my favourites coming from a time when this masterpiece was recorded) but this has a different ending to the album version. Instead of the guitar solo playing out at the end, this version has the chorus repeat itself on a loop.

‘Medicine Man’, ‘Magic Maker’ and ‘Faded Hero’ (another of my favs from the album) were demos recorded for the follow up to “Privilege of Power” prior to Tony Moore leaving the band. They give us just a glimpse of “what could have been” if Moore hadn’t left.

‘Sylvia’, ‘Good Lovin’ and the instrumental ‘Creep’ were all demo tracks from the “Nightbreaker” sessions, but none made it to the final release, although, in my opinion ‘Sylvia’ is a fantastic track.

The last two tracks on the album, ‘Medicine Man’ and ‘Magic Maker’ (different versions to the ones mentioned above) feature Jag Panzer vocalist, Harry ‘Tyrant’ Conklin, and were recorded when the band were looking for a replacement for Moore, a job that eventually went to Mike Dimeo who sang the tracks on the “Nightbreaker” album.

I tend to find rarities albums a bit hit and miss. Either the quality is very poor as the recordings are years old or, and I have seen this, there are three or four versions of the SAME song. Ok, they might be rare recordings, but do we really need that many versions? This album doesn’t do that.

I loved this album and felt like it was taking me on a journey through time (well…1987-1995 anyway!) It shows the what if’s and but’s that could have taken this band onto a completely different path, leading them to who knows where! But, I, as a Riot fan, am glad they are where they are!

This really is a must have for any die-hard Riot fan and I am so incredibly grateful to Rick for passing it over to me for review. I wait with bated breath for anything new this fantastic band release and I really do hope that I get to see them at a gig sometime soon.

Go check it out and see if you agree with me, you know you want to!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Rockworld Theme
02. Bloodstreets (Alternative Version)
03. Buried Alive (Tell Tale Heart) (Alternative Version)
04. Runaway (Instrumental Early Idea Demo)
05. Killer (Tony Moore Vocals)
06. Maryanne (Rough Mix)
07. Medicine Man (Tony Moore Vocals)
08. Magic Maker (Tony Moore Vocals)
09. Faded Hero (Tony Moore Vocals)
10. Sylvia (Outtake)
11. Good Lovin (Outtake)
12. Creep (Instrumental Outtake)
13. Instrumental 1994 (Brethren Outtake)
14. Medicine Man (Tyrant Sessions)
15. Magic Maker (Tyrant Sessions)

LINKS:
www.areyoureadytoriot.com/
www.facebook.com/riotrockcity/
www.twitter.com/riotvmetal

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Riot V

Interview with Riot V
by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

I have been a fan of Riot ever since I first heard Flight of the Warrior a few years ago and getting the chance to interview them was a dream come true for me. The band have had some ups and downs over years but have come through it fighting. Here I talk to them about some of those tumultuous years.

Hi, I’m Dawn King from Ever Metal. I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to us and I hope you are all well?

Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview.  We are doing well. We have been busy writing and recording our new album, so we have not played out live as much this year as we did the last couple of years. 2018 should be a great year for us and keep us busy!

Ok, being the huge Riot fan that I am this is a bit of a dream for me, but, for those who have been hiding in a remote cave for the past forty years, can you give us a quick background of the band?

Bursting out of New York City with three ground-breaking albums in quick succession ‘ROCK CITY’ (Capitol), ‘NARITA’ (Capitol) and ‘FIRE DOWN UNDER’ (Elektra), RIOT quickly became one of the biggest metal bands in the world. Stunning performances in the UK at Castle Donington and Wacken Festivals and support slots with Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Rush, Kiss to name and few cemented their reputation as the hottest ticket to see.

With the Eighties developing into a metal-fest, a new-look new-sound RIOT bounced back transforming from an edgy hard rock band into a power metal assault and released the widely-acclaimed release ‘THUNDERSTEEL’ (Sony) and RIOT was reborn! ‘THUNDERSTEEL was followed by with the jaw-dropping conceptual album ‘THE PRIVILEGE OF POWER’ (Sony) featuring an elite list of guest performers (Rainbow’s Joe Lynn Turner, Tower of Power horns and Saturday Night Live band leader G.E Smith).

RIOT’s classic ‘Thundersteel’ line-up reformed for a limited reunion in 2009 and delivered another ground breaking disc ‘IMMORTAL SOUL’. Released by major metal heavy weights Spv/ Steamhammer & Avalon/ Marquee, and a successful Tour with performances on the prestigious Royal Caribbean 70,000 Tons of Metal oceanliner concert and appearances at Sweden Rock and Metalway festivals solidified RIOT’s long sought after return a success, but success doesnt come without tragedy. RIOT‘s journey has never been easy, with personal changes and the untimely deaths of frontmen Guy Speranza, Rhett Forrester as well as the passing of long time guitarist Mark Reale who finally lost his life long battle with Crohns disease in 2012.

Through the storm of life’s obsticles the guys successfully continue to raise the flag in honor of the RIOT legacy of music, fallen band mates and the fans who have been demanding RIOT for years. This new onslaught released the highly acclaimed comeback record “Unleash the Fire” which entered the Hard Rock 100 Billboard charts at 75 and Rolling Stone Magazine gives it a 4 out of 5 and most media including Burrn! Rock Hard and Aardshock calling it album of the year! This new line up Riot V consisting of original long time members Donnie Van Stavern and Mike Flyntz joined by amazing newcomers Todd Michael Hall, Frank Gilchriest and Nick Lee headlined sold out shows in Germany, Greece, Spain and Italy and rocked the prestigious festivals Sweden Rock Festival (Sweden), Rock Fest Barcelona (Spain), Loud Park (Japan), Keep It True, Metal Assault, Headbangers Open Air (Germany), Fall of Summer (Paris), Metal Apocalypse, Bang Your Head with Twisted Sister/ Anthrax, Metal Days with Megadeth/ Volbeat, two appearances onboard 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruiseship Festival and top it off with appearences with with Judas Priest, Motley Crue and Def Leppard, Journey to name a few!

With reissues on Sony, EMI & Metal Blade, RIOT are consistantly on radio and metal charts worldwide, as well as being a part of New York Citys Top 20 Most Influencial Metal Bands, 100 Best Metal Albums of All Time, 100 Best Metal Bands of All Time and numerous mentions on VH1’s That Metal Show with Eddie Trunk and staff sighting RIOT as one of the inovaters of Metal music in America and beyond! Whew! 

I have heard you being described as one of the unluckiest bands in heavy metal! How would you react to this?

It depends on your perspective. There are many bands that make no mark at all and Riot has been fortunate enough to influence other musicians and reach many people around the world throughout a very long career. Although, I understand the question, because even though Riot has had successful albums, the band never really broke big enough to turn their success into a lot of money for Mark Reale or the others involved. There have also been unfortunate events that made things more difficult, like original lead singer Guy Speranza leaving the band after their 3rd successful album or management difficulties, etc.

There have been numerous changes in personnel over the years including the untimely deaths of vocalists Guy Speranza and Rhett Forrester, and also that of founding member guitarist Mark Reale. How have you had to adapt as a band as a result of these changes?

Throughout his time with the band, founding guitar player Mark Reale, dealt with a lot of line up changes. He maintained a collaborative environment, so the bands sound evolved over time depending on the members involved. That is a big reason why there was a shift in the bands sound from a more hard rock sounding heavy metal to a power metal sound on Thundersteel (1988) when bassist Donnie Van Stavern start contributing his song writing talents.

Mark’s passing in 2012 was a big blow to the band, but Donnie worked with Mark as early as 1984 and current guitarist, Mike Flyntz, has been in the band since 1989, so each brings something new to the band, but also have long enough history with the band to be true to the original music.

Obviously the passing of Mark must have been very hard for you, on a personal and professional level. How did you find the strength to regroup and make the comeback you did?

(Donnie) It took me awhile to decide to come back. Before Mark’s untimely passing he stayed with me and we would write music and discuss the future of the band. There was also talk of carrying on as he new he was sick. Mike actually played most the guitar on Immortal Soul, because Mark was to sick to play. Through a lot of soul searching, chats with his father Tony, and Tony’s comment of “Don’t let the music die with my son” we decided to forge ahead. I started managing the band at that time and contacted the labels and agents and everyone was supportive and still onboard. It helped us heal and kept the spirit alive for him and the fans

I read it was at the request of Mark’s family that you laid the name “RIOT” to rest. How has this affected your popularity and reputation as a band? And have there been any legal issues with this name change?

Tony Reale, Mark’s father, wanted his son’s music to live on, so he is very supportive of the band continuing. He didn’t want the name retired so much as he just wanted something to signify the change. Donnie and Mike wanted to do something as well, as a sign of respect for Mark. The Roman numeral V was added to signify this as the firth era of Riot, since Todd is the fifth singer. There are no legal issues because Tony owns the name and passed it along to us, so we actually own it now.

The album “Unleash The Fire” which you released in 2014 was the first without Mark. How did that make you feel individually and as a band?

(Donnie) We knew we had to make an incredible record after Mark’s passing, so my mindset was to create an album with Fire Down Under and Thundersteel style combined. Mark taught me a lot about Riot style of writing, so basically I just followed his advice and created what I think he would call a great Riot album and be proud of.

Your sound has changed over the years. Are you happy with the direction the band is going in now?

(Donnie) Riot incorporated a lot of different styles. Guy era was edgier metal/ rock, Rhett era was kind of southern hard rock, Tony was metal and DiMeo was a more Rainbow-like bluesy style. When I decided to continue, I went with my era and style – riffy Power metal with an upper register singer and continued to write in that vein. Todd Michael Hall fit right in and saw the vision.

So 2017 saw the re-release of Inishmore/Shine On and Sons of Society. Why did you decide to re-release these particular albums?

(Donnie) Metal Blade records approached us about the reissues as they do quite a few, so we thought it would be a good idea to release these for the oldsters and maybe some that haven’t heard these. These titles were contractually free and clear and the money goes to Mark’s estate, so it helps his father Tony out as well

Are there plans for any new material to be released?

We are currently writing and recording our new album and hope to have it released shortly after the start of 2018. We recently switched labels so the release got pushed back a bit.

What about a tour? I have seen you have some festival appearances this year, is there any chance you will be coming to british soil? Bloodstock next year maybe??

We are definitely looking to book more shows to support the new album, so we hope to play shows in the UK during 2018. We have Belgium and Spain and a small tour towards the end of 2017. We have talked to Bloodstock and others. We are confirmed for Loud Park, Rock Fest Barcelona, Sweden Rock, Headbangers Open Air (Headline), and yes we will finally return to the UK!

Speaking of festivals, which is your favourite festival to play and why?

It is difficult to pick a favorite, because they are all special for different reasons. The Keep It True Festival in Germany is one that sticks out, because they limit the size and it is always packed. Rockfest Barcelona was great time too and Loud Park in Japan has been a great show for us as well. There are too many to name.

There has been talk of heavy metal dying. What are your views on this? Do you think it will ever die out completely?

There was a time when heavy metal was very huge in the USA and I think the fickle nature of popular culture will prevent that from happening again or at least not for a long time. However, there are still a lot of heavy metal fans around the world, despite the fact that the music world now consists of so many different little niches. I am quite sure some version of heavy metal will always be around.

The rock and roll lifestyle and heavy metal kind of go hand in hand but what I would like to know is…..what’s it gonna take to make you guys riot?

A great 2018, electricity, a flight to your location, a bottle of tequila and thousands of screaming fans Rioting!!

Well, thank you for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?

(Donnie) Just announced, RIOT will be inducted into the prestigious Heavy Metal History Hall of Fame 2018! Past inductee’s include Scorpions, Randy Rhoads, Lemmy, Slayer and others!

Soooo THANK YOU and all the amazing fans that have supported us and stuck with us throughout the long years because we wouldn’t be here without you! We will see you soon!

Shine On!

Thank You
Dawn

LINKS:

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Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Riot – Inishmore / Shine On / Sons of Society Reissues

Promo Pic

Riot – Inishmore / Shine On / Sons of Society Reissues
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 2017
Running Time: 3.46:41 (all three albums)
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
9/10

Ever since I first heard “Flight of the Warrior” (many years after its release I hasten to add. Yet another band I was late to the party for!) I have been a huge fan of Riot and having the chance to review their latest three releases (re-workings of three previously released albums) was something I just could not turn down.

Often hailed as one of the most unluckiest bands in heavy metal, Riot are an American heavy metal band, founded in New York City in 1975 by guitarist Mark Reale. But after recording their first album, “Rock City,” and having support slots with the AC/DC and Molly Hatchet, the band were unable to maintain momentum and were on the verge of splitting up by 1979.

This was the year, however, that the New Way of British Heavy Metal scene appeared and the band came to the attention of renowned DJ Neal Kay, who spread the word about them in Britain. British fans brought up imported copies of “Rock City” and this encouraged the band to record their second album “Narita”, released in 1979.

Although having a long running successful career, they reached their peak of popularity in the early 1980’s, touring with the likes of AC/DC, Molly Hatchet, Sammy Hagar, Kiss, Vandenberg, Black Sabbath and Rush and 1981 saw the release of their biggest selling album, Fire Down Under, which reached the top 100 of the billboard chart.

Initially their sound was straight forward heavy metal but after the release of 1988’s Thundersteel album, their musical direction changed to more along the lines of power metal (with a bit of good old American rock n roll throw in.)

There have been various personnel changes over the years, vocalists Guy Speranza and Rhett Forrester both suffering untimely deaths, and the passing of founding member and band leader, guitarist Mark Reale due to complications with Crohn’s Disease in 2012, resulting in no original members left in the band.

This, however, didn’t stop the remaining members carrying on and in 2013, they re-launched themselves as “Riot V”, the name Riot having been laid to rest at the request of Mark’s father, and in 2014 released the album “Unleash the Fire,” the first without Reale.

Now, in 2017, the band are back with the re-issue of three of their classic back catalogue, “Inishmore”, “Shine On” and “Sons of Society”. These two studios (Inishmore and Sons of Society) and one live album (Shine On) are melodic power metal gems and are a must have addition to any fans collection, all three albums re-mastered by Patrick Engel for optimal sound quality.

The two studio albums show Riot at the top of their game. I must admit I hadn’t heard of these albums (despite being a huge fan. Shame on me!) but I must say that they have shown another side to Riot that I didn’t know existed.

Originally released in 1998 and 1999, respectively, it wasn’t the era of Riot that I had initially been introduced to and I just have to say one thing…….I missed out! These albums are fantastic, American power metal at its best, and, despite the various line-up changes the band had endured, unmistakeably RIOT!

Built on Celtic legends, Inishmore is atmospheric and conceptual, the guitar intricacies and pounding drums make this straight power metal at its best, while Sons of Society is solid, with excellent guitar work and powerful vocals. Inishmore has now also produced my favourite Riot song in Angel Eyes (possibly also overtaking previous personal favs Outlaw and Flight of the Warrior.)

The live album Shine On is a re-working of the 1998 album, extended here to 20 tracks from 17, but gives the listener the opportunity to hear this awesome band live, something which I have unfortunately never done.

If you haven’t heard of Riot before, where the hell have you been for the past 40 years??? But if you have, then go get yourself these re-issues. They will be a superb addition to your collection and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

This band have been through a lot to get where they are and really are true metal soldiers. They will keep marching and fighting the good fight to continue to bring you the music you’ve come to know, love and expect!

TRACKLISTING:

Inishmore
01. Black Water
02. Angel Eyes
03. Liberty
04. Kings Are Falling
05. The Man
06. Watching the Signs
07. Should I Run
08. Cry for the Dying
09. Turning the Hands of Time
10. 15 Rivers
11. Red Reign
12. Gypsy
13. Inishmore (Forsaken Heart)
14. Inishmore
15. Danny Boy
16. 15 Rivers (Acoustic Demo)

Shine On
01. Black Water (Live)
02. Angel Eyes (Live)
03. Soldier (Live)
04. The Man (Live)
05. Kings Are Falling (Live)
06. Bloodstreets (Live)
07. Watching the Signs (Bonus Track) \[Live]
08. Swords and Tequila (Live)
09. Cry for the Dying (Live)
10. Inishmore (Forsaken Heart) \[Live]
11. Inishmore (Live)
12. Danny Boy (Live)
13. Liberty (Live)
14. Gypsy (Live)
15. The Last of the Mohicans (Intro) \[Live]
16. Glory Calling (Live)
17. Thundersteel (Live)
18. Nightbreaker (Bonus Track) \[Live]
19. Outlaw (Live)
20. Warrior (Live)

Sons of Society
01. Snake Charmer
02. On the Wings of Life
03. Sons of Society
04. Twist of Fate
05. Bad Machine
06. Cover Me
07. Dragonfire
08. The Law
09. Time to Bleed
10. Queen
11. Somewhere
12. Promises
13. Sons of Society (Instrumental Rough Mix)
14. The Law (Instrumental Rough Mix)
15. Time to Bleed (Instrumental Rough Mix)
16. Somewhere (Instrumental Rough Mix)
17. Promises (Instrumental Rough Mix)

LINKS:

riotv-band2

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities