Unleash The Fire marks the return of legendary New York City metal band Riot, two years after the passing of founder and guitarist Mark Reale. Now going by the moniker Riot V, Reale and family encouraged the remaining members to keep the heavy metal going. The band features members from the successful Thundersteel era including Mike Flyntz on guitar and Don Van Stavern on bass. They're joined by new vocalist Todd Michael Hall, former Flyntz guitar student Nick Lee, and returning Riot drummer Frank Gilchriest.
Long time fans will find Unleash The Fire familiar. It carries on the tradition of melodic heavy and power metal that Riot kicked into gear with the Thundersteel era. Many of the songs are racing and, of course, loaded up with the twin guitar solos, which we all love. Metal Warrior, Bring The Hammer Down, and the title track are good examples of rumbling power metal with solid guitar solos.
Some fans might find the latter third of the album more akin to the Riot's early albums (some of my favorites). Both Return of the Outlaw and Take Me Back seem to turn more on a hard rock groove than power metal, at least to these ears. Then there's a distinct metal anthem which backs off on the speed and showcases Hall's vocals. Overall, Hall has a good metal voice, bit high pitched at times, but never screamo or out of control. This song has a partner in the hymnlike ballad Until We Meet Again, another song dialed back and nearly somber at the start, only to be lifted by a strong vocal arrangement and sharp guitars. Finally, all editions of the album include a live recording of Thundersteel as a bonus track. Overall, continuing the tradition that Mark Reale began, Unleash The Fire is another fine heavy/power metal treatise from the new Riot V.
Continuing the tradition that Mark Reale began, Unleash The Fire is another fine heavy/power metal treatise from the new Riot V.
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