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Riot V > Outlaw / Rock City > Reviews > DeathRiderDoom
Riot V - Outlaw / Rock City

No Better Intro to Classic Riot - 82%

DeathRiderDoom, June 18th, 2009


Legendary US pioneers Riot set the standard (though too few noticed) with their solid debut in 1977 – the same year punk began to sweep even mainstream markets in the UK and Europe. Blowing much of the riff-raff away with an attack of speed, aggression, technical proffiency, little did Riot know they were on their way to becoming one of the most revered cult heavy metal acts of all time. After following up with the strong Narita, in 1979 Riot were at somewhat of a crossorads with what to do with themselves; record label difficulties had plagues the band, and the mainstream music market was awash with disco and new wave wannabes, however the band was snapped up by Elektra and set on building the thrilling ‘Fire Down Under’, where they had to blend their powerful, speedy and heavy metallic sound, with a chorus heavy, accessible and melodic sound; what you get is the awesome track outlaw.

This track showcases elements of the band well – the mood setting extra touches of guitar play show the mainstream buyer they haven’t picked up just another ‘Grand Funk’ single, or a moronic, label influenced new wave act - and the absolutely immaculate, larger than life chorus is sufficient to melt even the most dorky, no-idea rock fans. That chorus – is the absolute showpiece of this excellent hard rocker. The sleazy subject matter, molded into a huuuuuuge hook with that chorus are a thrilling combination – and definitely represent early Riot superbly. The vocal arrangement of Esperanza’s two takes is done well – with the second take being just at that right level of audibility – and reverbed correctly. Meanwhile, the verses pump out heaviness with excellently mixed, thundering drums, skillfully mixed with Esperanza’s trademark vocals. Vocal harmonies in the second verse kick ass too. Absolutely one of the most memorable Riot songs I can think of (out of the earlier stuff), and a great introduction to the band – outside of the godlike Thundersteel recommendation, of course.

Riot hits their stride with the ‘Fire Down Under’ album, proving they have the tenacity to stick it out under some tough conditions, and produces one of their highest regarded albums to date. Anyone buying this single at the time would have no choice but to cough up for the forthcoming full-length, based on the pure quality and ambience of this thriller. The inclusion of an already live favorite in ‘Rock City’ is a good choice of b-side too – though not of the best live quality. The remix of the track of the far more recent ‘Nightbreaker’ is well-done too (with perhaps a weaker vocal performance). This proves the tracks importance, however. Anyway, if new to Riot – what better starting point (aside from ‘Thundersteel!’). An excellent songwriting collective showcases their skill with this strong cut.