Riot – Army Of One (2006, Toshiba-EMI)
- Army Of One
- Knockin’ At My Door
- One More Alibi
- It All Falls Down
- Helpin’ Hand
- The Mystic
- Still Alive
- Alive In THe City
- Stained Mirror
- Darker Side Of Light
- Road Racin’ (Recorded live at Club Citta, Kawasaki, Japan, 1998)
Total Time – 73:04
Mark Reale – Lead Guitar & Acoustic Guitar
Mike DiMeo – Vocals
Mike Flyntz – Guitar
Pete Perez – Bass
Frank Gilchriest – Drums
Bruno Ravel (Danger Danger, Westworld) – Keyboards
Tony Harnell (Westworld, ex-TNT) – Backing Vocals
Andy Aledort – Second guitar solo on ‘Alive In The City’
Riot official website
Johnny’s Back – The unofficial Riot website
Riot is one of the most under-rated bands to come out of the late ’70s/early ’80s Rock scene in New York. Riot has been plagued with bad management deals, no label support, personnel changes, and deaths. Aside from these terrible circumstances, founding guitarist Mark Reale has steered Riot to success in Japan (where they are still considered a U.S. legend), Europe, and regional success in the U.S. (San Antonio, TX and New York). Riot’s first four albums are considered classics and essential for fans of U.S. Hard Rock/Heavy Metal:
- Rock City (1977)
- Narita (1979)
- Fire Down Under (1981)
- Restless Breed (1982)
On to the new album…..
The title track opener leaves me cold: all speed, no feeling. A track like this just bores me because sounds a mess. It doesn’t make me feel good about the rest of the album, an opener should grab hold of the listener. Army Of One was probably picked as the opener because it’s the title track and the Japanese just love that speed metal. Knockin’ At My Door, Blinded, and One More Alibi all gear to the classic late 70s/early 80s Riot sound, a bit of swagger is added to the pounding double bass drums. Sometimes it’s all about attitude…..
It All Falls Down is another speedy tune full of the double bass drum attack and machine gun riffs. I like it, it has an edge. Helpin’ Hand is the ballad, not bad but doesn’t grab hold. The Mystic is another speed wankfest and Still Alive is mid-paced but sounds like I’ve heard it all before. Shine mixes mid-paced melodic with the speed chugging drums. Stained Mirror is a nice instrumental showing off Reale’s talents, he’s one of those great U.S. guitar players that no one remembers.
My two favorites are Alive In The City and Darker Side Of Light. I just get that old school vibe from both. I really enjoy the melodic side rather than the speed so these two fit the bill. I could hear this with material from Fire Down Under-era or Restless Breed-era Riot. A live version of Road Racin’ rounds it all out, it’s tacked on as a bonus track for the Japanese market.
Basically, it’s U.S. Heavy Metal/Power Metal…..something Japanese fans gobble up like candy. One song the band is racing along a speedy Power Metal highway and the next is more classic Melodic Hard Rock/Metal with some speed but more groove and attitude. When the band blends the speed with more melodic elements, the song and album just get better. For me, I prefer the classic melodic style rather than the speed. Army Of One is an album that’s a nice blend of the two styles, it’s a good album. I like it a lot more than the previous offering, Through The Storm (2002).
This album was dedicated to original Riot singer, Guy Speranza, who died of cancer in November 2004. (R.I.P.)