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Riot - "Through The Storm"
Metal Blade 2002

If you're familiar with the legendary band Riot, then you know what to expect. These legends just can't let you down. The same old proven formula has been used again. Nothing new was invented. It's classic heavy metal stuff that survived through the seventies and up till now. Melodic, pure old school guitar performance of Mark Reale (the only original member in the current line-up) and Mike Flyntz. An equal electric crossfire from the first beat to the end, captured inside 10 songs (plus U.F.O.'s cover "Only You Can Rock Me" as the eleventh track). Those 10 brand new songs are once again strong and compactly structured pieces with fantasy and the band's usual double guitar harmonies involved on every step. Mike Dimeo with his slightly raspy vocals (reminiscent of Coverdale) brings a hard rock feeling into band's sound. Especially "Let It Show" as a whole, has a pure hard rock beat. A piece with a great acoustic intro theme.

Songs, based on strong and expressive riff themes jump straight into the ears. Among all of the compositions, the most impressive one is "Chains (Revolving)" with a great melancholic chorus. As for the new changes in the line up: Bobby was replaced with Bobby. Well, drummer Bobby Jarzombek (now with Halford) was replaced with the rock legend Bobby Rondinelli (Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, uf and that's not all). A great replacement. Don't get me wrong, Jarzombek rules. But let's talk about Rondinelli now. The drummer blasts his drum kit in a way that it seems as if he would know the Riot guys since forever. The rhythm section is dynamic and very alive with a fat bass line production.

An instrumental, "Isle Of Shadows" is a song that I was waiting for. A pure melodic Celtic victory piece - Riot's trademark at it's best. Fast arpeggios are fluidly blazing inside the nice double harmony motives. But that's not all. The guys are really enjoying what they're doin'. The last song is a fantastic acoustic guitar composition that closes the circle, and could be used as a movie soundtrack. And in the end I must add, that the band also uses nice keyboard arrangements to fulfill the sound and to raise the atmosphere in the songs ("Through The Storm" for example). The band can also sound aggressive and sharp as heard in the diverse drama "Essential Enemies", where Dimeo sings through effects in prechorus as well. Uff, the climax reaches it's boiling point here.

Riot will never surrender. They are once again representing a "bad to the bone" heavy metal experience. A soulful experience of more than just experienced guys. This output is highly recommended for all of you, who are drowning in the sea of newcomers on the power metal scene that deliver only copies without soul. Melodic and fantastically balanced essential metal based on the hard rock roots of seventies. No sugary candy included. Just pure feeling.

Author:   Aleš

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