Riot V is about as straight forward as American metal gets. This bands roots can be traced all the way back to 1975 in New York city. “Armor of Light” is the bands sixteenth studio album. Quite an impressive catalog of metal indeed. As the years have gone by some European style power metal has crept into their sound, but to me this is good ole fashion metal. Riot’s line up now consists of Todd Michael Hall (Vocals), Don Van Stavern (Bass), Mike Flyntz (Guitar), Nick Lee (Guitar) and Frank Gilchriest (Drums). We get some straight metal vocals from Hall who can also crank it up a few notches when needed. The dual guitar attack of Flyntz and Lee give you a great metal sounds. Lots of raw power chords, riffs and solos are spread all over the album. It is great to hear albums like this still going strong. We get twelve songs and over fifty minutes of metal bliss!
Victory starts us off on our journey through the album. A great dual guitar opening gets this song rocking right away. Then the drums kick it into high gear. The pace of the song really picks up. Some great chorus vocals lead us into the first verse. This reminds me a lot of early Iron Maiden. The song is relentless as the guitar and drums crush right through you. It has a very strong chorus and some great guitar solo work. I love it when a band has dueling guitar solos. The musicianship on this album is top notch. This song is perfect to get the album off to a very strong start. Hall’s vocals are also a highlight of this song. He also has a couple good screams and who does not like a good metal scream?
The next song I want to talk about is Messiah. The song starts with a bit of chaos and then the guitar tears into you. Once again, we have that relenting double bass drum. This is a little bit more of an anthem. Hall’s vocals are more straight forward metal on this song, but still very good. This song simply brings heavy metal at you non-stop from start to finish. Once again, we get blistering guitar solos. If you love a lot of guitar work and solos with your metal, you will love this album! I wish you could turn on the radio and hear metal like this shredding the air waves like it used to be. These guys are great at bringing that classic metal sound.
Heart of a Lion is another standout song on the album and is another great classic metal song. Hall once again singing more with the straight forward metal voice, but he has a way of tweaking it just enough that it never gets repetitive. The backing vocals on the chorus with Hall leading the way once again just scream classic heavy metal. There is more great guitar work and we have another really good song all around. This album never stops delivering the goods as you listen through it.
Caught in the Witches Eye is another song I want to talk about and I just love on this album. It starts with some serious dark sounding power chords. This song really feels like late seventies heavy metal. It boarders on doom metal a bit, and that really makes the song stand out. It has a very catchy chorus that also has that late seventies Black Sabbath feel. This is a song I always listen to twice when listening to the album. The song pulls you in unmercifully and won’t let go. Even the guitar solo is a little darker than most the album. The groove of this entire song is special.
“Armor of Light” does not bring any big surprises, but that is just fine. If you love that old classic metal sound and need a new album to add to your collection to switch it up a bit, this album is for you. It is rock solid through the entire album. It is simply a great album to listen to and think about metal from the past and how great it was. There are some more modern metal sounds mixed in here are there, but for the most part this is classic metal well done. This is definitely an album I would recommend.
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