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Riot: The Brethren Of The Long House (reissue)

Moving further away from the power metal output of recent albums, Riot seemed to rekindle their rock roots on the underrated The Brethren Of The Long House, an album inspired by the struggle between the European settlers and native population of what went on to become America. Therefore across an album where Native American musical themes are hinted at we get strong nods to Powerslave era Iron Maiden, Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow and a little Thin Lizzy. From the line-up which recorded Nightbreaker, four (and a bit) members returned, Mark Reale (obviously) and Mike Flyntz proving once more a formidable guitar pairing, bassist Pete Perez settling in nicely and singer Mike DiMeo once more proving his soulful bluesy voice was perfect for the direction Riot were now headed. The "bit" comes in the form of drummer Bobby Jarzombeck who does feature on a number of tracks on the album, although he departed before its completion, leaving John Macaluso to complete the job.

The album itself is something of an under appreciated entry in the Riot story, the release receiving little fanfare when it arrived and not much in the way of critical acclaim. However in hindsight, while I doubt we'll ever see it as one of this band's best, there's no denying that it is one of their most ambitious and diverse offerings. Yes we get the straight up metal of "Glory Calling" and "Wounded Heart", however the title cut is a dead ringer for a classy slice of Thin Lizzy, as the double guitar lines weave and win over, while "Santa Maria" is a piano/vocal/acoustic/Latin infused ballad. Not content with that variety, "Rain" proves a tearjerking slowie and "Shenandoah" evolves into something you might expect to find on the Freddie Mercury/Montserat Caballe collaboration album Barcelona; DiMeo covering himself in glory in the process. That said, it is album opener/closer "Last Of The Mohicans" which best illustrates the album's lyrical ethos.

As was often the way with Riot, we also get a cover version thrown in for good luck, the Phil Lynott/Gary Moore single "Out In The Fields" given a decent, if rather pointless workout, although the reissue bonus cut of "Sailor" does prove much more interesting.

The Brethren Of The Long House may well be seen as more a footnote, than a vital part of the Riot back catalogue and yet if proof were needed that even when this band weren't creating headlines and making the critics froth, they were still a band turning in great performances and cracking songs, then this is it.

Track Listing
1. The Last of the Mohicans
2. Wounded Heart
3. Rolling Thunder
4. Rain
5. Holy Land
6. The Brethren of the Long House
7. Blood of the English
8. Out in the Fields
9. Ghost Dance
10. Shenandoah
11. Glory Calling
12. Mohicans Reprise
13. Santa Maria

Added: August 30th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Riot V online
Hits: 2006
Language: english

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