Saturday 26 May 2018

Album Review: RIOT V - Armor of Light

Riot V - Armor of Light

01. Victory
02. End of the World
03. Messiah
04. Angel's Thunder, Devil's Reign
05. Burn The Daylight
06. Heart of a Lion
07. Armor of Light
08. Set The World Alight
09. San Antonio
10. Caught in the Witches Eye
11. Ready to Shine
12. Raining Fire

This was a weird one. I remember buying the first Riot album Rock City when I was a teenager. I read about the band somewhere, saw their 1977 debut album in my local record shop and took a punt on it.  It had a psychedelic album cover showing what appeared to be a half-man, half-seal creature holding a battle axe in front of a burning post-apocalyptic city. I quite enjoyed the album and filed it away in my CD collection where it's sat for a very long time. In all honesty, I haven't really thought about Riot since. That was until recently when I saw their new music video in the trusty YouTube sidebar. I gave it a watch out of curiosity and was impressed enough to check out Armor of Light.

I've done a little research, and Riot added the V after their name when original guitarist and founder member Mark Reale passed away in 2012, leaving no original members. They've also released a lot of albums over the years, so naturally the band has progressed musically quite a lot. What they do now is more Power Metal than the traditional Hard Rock / Metal I associated them with. 

Armor of Light is great! It's as ridiculously over the top and wonderfully bombastic as the record cover would suggest (totally happy the seal dude is still around!). Opener Victory sets the tone with its triumphant guitars, leading into a kick drum heavy assault on the senses. The soaring vocals deliver some seriously powerful, yet catchy melodies, that rival Virgin Steele, Manowar or any other of this scene's 'big guns' you'd care to mention. 

Other highlights include Angel's Thunder, Devil's Reign which is a glorious Heavy Metal anthem, Burn The Daylight which sounds like Rainbow with a massive injection of bass drum kicks, and the slightly darker Set The World Alight which makes me want to dig out my Stratovarius and Queensryche records. 

Caught In The Witches Eye is also fantastic with its nice Metal riffing. The song has a little more space to breathe as the usual barrage of kick drums has been toned down a little on this one, giving it a more Traditional Heavy Metal feel.

I'm really pleased that I reconnected with Riot, as this is a genuinely superb Power Metal album and it totally hits the spot when I'm in the mood for this kind of music.


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