Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2022
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Metal eagles take flight and burn the night! - 93%

hells_unicorn, November 23rd, 2022
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, No Remorse Records

It shouldn't matter if speed metal has been done repeatedly since the mid-80s, so long as those who continue the tradition hold to the tradition of keeping things as over the top as possible. Or at least that is the ideal that modern revivalists of the old ways have been living by, and heaven/hell love them for it, as it has continued to yield a plethora of highly impressive albums that successfully walk that line between being an overt throwback and a modern continuation of the craft. Canadian madman Riot City are among the more recent outfits to rise to these enviable heights via an approach that has all of the trappings of the mid-80s glory days, but also exploits the tools of present day recording technology to further refine this kinetic approach to bringing the reactor into the red into something even more dangerous. Though having toiled in the underground for several years since their 2011 inception, 2019 saw their sound become fully codified with the conception of their beast of a debut Burn The Night, packing a sonic punch formidable enough to rival Judas Priest circa 1984 and arriving to rave reviews.

Though the album art showcases a clear affinity for the visual trappings of Screaming For Vengeance, the auditory execution that unfolds once the play button is struck bears a stronger resemblance to this band's namesake Riot, bridging a rather auspicious divide between the more archaic frenzies of 1981's Fire Down Under and the unrelenting chaos with an occasionally haunting edge of 1988's Thundersteel. The unenviable task of handling much of the guitar work and also being the glass-shattering principle screamer of the fold falls to founder and mastermind Cale Savy, whom nevertheless delivers a stellar showing reminiscent of what Kai Hansen brought to Walls Of Jericho, though more embodying the smooth swagger of Guy Speranza (R.I.P.) when in his cleaner mid register while going full Halford mode the rest of the time. Obligatory moments of dueling melodic guitar lines out of the Iron Maiden playbook come into the picture fairly frequently, but for the most part this is a classic speed affair with bitting speed metal riffs and unrelenting fury from behind the kit courtesy of Chad Vallier, perhaps better known for his work with fellow Canadian outfit and heavy metal revivalist act Traveler.

Yes indeed, this cyborg eagle definitely has some teeth to it, as one uncompromising kill shot of metallic goodness lands after another, all but leaving any prospective listener a pile of laser-scorched ashes in the process. Shorter bursts of old school fury like "Livin' Fast" and "329" land the closest to the early 80s approach, and also feature the most infectious hooks out of the bunch, though Savy's insane shrieks raise some accessibility issues for any amateurs looking to join in while heading out to the highway. Meanwhile, the truly frenetic speed metal mayhem that lands closer to the stylings of mid-80s mainstays such as Exciter and Acid in the daunting monster of a title anthem "Burn The Night" and the soaring riff machine "Steel Rider" definitely take the cake for technical high-jinks, with the guitar work actually getting a bit wild even by Tipton/Downing standards and almost wandering into Jason Becker territory. But those looking for the ultimate knockout punch need look no further than then brilliant closer "Halloween At Midnight", which has all the bells and whistles of a full on homage to the Thundersteel sound and sees Savy's vocal gymnastics sounding dangerously closer to that of Tony Moore, to speak nothing for the brilliant cacophony of unforgettable twists and turns the guitars lead this thing through.

Rarely is it the case that a debut outing by any band hits the mark of perfection, and while this doesn't quite do so, it gets dangerously close and stands as one of the better slabs of metal to be rolled out in 2019. Those who crave that old guard speed metal ideal that was set by the likes of Agent Steel, Helstar and Riot, as well as newer entries by the likes of Enforcer and Metalian that have been helping to carry on the tradition, this is about as good as it can get. Surprisingly enough, this outfit would not reprise this specific format in the years that would follow, as Cale Savy would end up pulling a Kai Hansen and tap someone else to take over lead vocal duties, but it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that this is a band that has a lot more to say as the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal continues its plunge into its second decade in existence, and any newcomers looking to join in on the fun would do well to take note of this ravenous metallic eagle of an entry and take plenty of notes.