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Riot – Thundersteel
Legendary and pioneering heavy metal act riot reached the high point of their sound with the staggering ‘Thundersteel’ in 1988 – a true gem of masterfully played speed/heavy metal that is among the top classic metal albums of all time. Much of this of this credence is due to the album’s possession of these numbers – several high carat precious gems of varying types constituting the treasure trove that is the other-worldly ‘Thundersteel’ full-length.
A great little sampler, with four songs – every track on this brawny demo is strong – with the phenomenal ‘Fight or Fall’ and ‘Thundersteel’ perhaps taking the cake. A nice touch including so many songs on what is really an EP, as opposed to anything else. Riot is really on par with these numbers – an excellent decision to go ahead and release all of these ones as one package – though purchasers of the full-length may feel gypped to some degree. Who in their right mind would turn down a recording contract to these guys after hearing this collection? ‘Sign of the Crimson Storm’ has a thumping majesty that is only really equalled by bands like Dio – being godlike in its power. The mind-blowing title track is an example of one of heavy metal’s stronger moments – every element being strong – particularly the memorable vocals that will be begging you to sing along – even when you’re listening to it on headphones walking down the street and don’t wanna seem like a weirdo. Well, you don’t have a choice – the undeniable power in this one will make you unable to resist.
What stands out on this one is the pace and fury which is present in comparison to their earlier albums – I know, the date is your obvious reason here, but we mustn’t forget that Riot carved out their status as creators of (admittedly energetic) somewhat generic 70’s hard rock, that though strong, was still pretty ‘committed’ to its cause. The tracks on this one don’t just see the infusing of some speedier or harder elements – as can be common of legendary acts like Saxon, that have earlier roots – they see a complete revolution in sound, with little in common with ‘Narita’ or other earlier outings. Sometimes older bands are afraid to complete depart from their older, classic sound with Whitesnake being an example, yet like Black Sabbath when hiring Ronnie James, Riot takes on a new approach that steps things up to phenomenal, god-like heights delivering songs with intense feeling and passion. Truly a great collection of some of Riot’s best stuff on this demo.