The surviving members of the most recent lineup of legendary US metal pioneers RIOT are back and are set to release a brand new studio album, ‘Unleash The Fire’, on Steamhammer / SPV on October 27th. The album will be unleashed as a digipak CD with one bonus track, a double gatefold coloured blue vinyl version, also with one bonus track (and the CD in a cardboard sleeve), plus as a standard jewel case CD and download.
‘Unleash The Fire’, the follow up to 2011’s reunion record ‘Immortal Soul’, is the first release from the band without the late great founding guitarist Mark Reale, who finally lost his life long battle with Crohns disease in 2012. The band were encouraged at the request of Mark and the Reale estate to forge ahead in his honour, to keep the music and spirit of RIOT alive, and have dedicated this new offering to him.
‘Unleash The Fire’ promises to please fans of the ‘Thundersteel’ era of RIOT, as main song writer and long-time Reale music collaborator Don Van Stavern does much of the writing - as he did on ‘Thundersteel’ and ‘The Privilege of Power’. Don is joined by long time RIOT band mate, song writer and Reale’s guitar partner of over 20 years Mike Flyntz, to create what they feel is something they are proud to call a RIOT record, with which Reale would have readily concurred.
RIOT V's lineup also features new vocalist Todd Michael Hall (Burning Starr, Reverence), RIOT's Army Of One drummer Frank Gilchriest (Virgin Steele, Liege Lord), plus virtuoso guitarist Nick Lee, a former Mike Flyntz guitar student. The continuing members decided to alter the name to RIOT V to mark the fifth chapter of the band's long history, as well as Todd Michael Hall being the group’s fifth singer.
Bursting out of New York City at the end of the Seventies with three ground-breaking albums in succession, 'Rock City' (Capital), 'Narita' (Capital) and 'Fire Down Under' (Elektra), featuring vocalist Guy Sperenza, and then another iconic period with ‘Restless Breed’ (Elektra) and ‘Born In America’, featuring vocalist Rhett Forrester, RIOT quickly became one of the biggest cult metal bands in the world. Stunning performances in the UK at the first ever Castle Donington Festival in 1980 with Rainbow & Scorpions, and Port Vale supporting Ozzy Osbourne the following year, plus support slots with the likes of Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Rush and Kiss 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. Guitarist
Mark Reale recruited metal bassist Don Van Stavern (S.A. Slayer) and collaborated
on songs for the widely-acclaimed release ‘Thundersteel’ (1988). Reale and Van Stavern joined vocalist Tony Moore, drummer Bobby Jarzombek and Mark’s guitar cohort, Mike Flyntz who completed the twin axe attack. RIOT was reborn, and followed ‘Thundersteel’ two years later with the jaw-dropping conceptual album ‘The Privilege Of Power’ featuring an elite list of guest performers.
With the departure of Van Stavern and Moore, Reale shifted gears with a new look RIOT featuring vocalist Mike Dimeo, bassist Pete Perez and drummer Frank Gilchriest. This line up released RIOT's "Army Of One" album and toured regularly, but eventually, following many industry, media and fan requests for the reformation of the legendary ‘Thundersteel’ and ‘Privilege of Power’ power metal line-up, Reale contacted former members and the plan was put into action!
RIOT’s classic ‘Thundersteel’ line-up reformed for a limited reunion in 2009 and delivered another ground breaking disc ‘Immortal Soul’, released on Steamhammer / SPV in November 2011. Classic Rock Society reviewed the album in their Jan / Feb 2012 issue, stating that “This is classic Riot and as good as anything they did back in their glory years such is their enthusiasm and energy. This is no mere cash in on an established trademark but a continuation and extension of a glorious career and shows that they have much to offer for many years to come. Aspiring new bands should listen to ‘Immortal Soul’ and set their yardstick against it and if they can get even half way as good then they will be special indeed.”
Already in 2014, this new onslaught of RIOT V have already headlined sold out shows in Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain, headlined the Headbangers Open Air, Metal Assault and Metal Apocalypse festivals, plus played special guest slots at the Bang Your Head festival with Twisted Sister & Anthrax, and Metal Days festival with Megadeth & Volbeat.
RIOT have had a tumultuous history of member, label and management changes throughout the band’s 30 plus year career, but one thing’s for sure; a band’s longevity is through good music, and if this new record is any proof, they will be around for many more years to come.