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Riot: Live In Japan (reissue)

Having returned from hiatus and delivered two predominantly US styled power metal albums in The Privilege Of Power and Thundersteel, Mark Reale and his band Riot decided to mark that era of the band with a live album. Hence in 1992 Live In Japan (recorded in both Osaka and Tokyo) arrived, showcasing a tour which took place two years before and highlighted the Reale (guitar), Tony Moore (vocals), Bobby Jarzombek (drums), Peter Perez (bass) and Mike Flyntz (guitar) line-up. Unsurprisingly the set list concentrates on the two most recent albums of the time, the likes of "On Your Knees" "Metal Soldiers", "Johnny's Back" and "Runaway" delivered in ebullient fashion. Moore, known for his banshee wail voice, certainly hits the heights and while during the aforementioned "On Your Knees", which opens the set, he does veer close to losing control, once that high octane beginning has been and gone, he settles into imperious form. Flyntz was a reasonably new addition to the line-up, however he teams up with Reale, the fulcrum of the band, in convincing fashion, the pair a brutal riff machine of no little guile. Factor in the powerhouse pummelling of Jarzombek and boisterous basswork from Perez, making his Riot debut here, and the performances are confident slabs of metal and rock which grab the ear in razor sharp fashion. Earlier tracks from the Riot catalogue also get an airing, "Rock City", "Tokyo Rose" and "Outlaw" beefed up and laid down mightily.

In terms of sound, the production keeps things simple and raw, the feel of an especially good bootleg a welcome one, although the crowd noise does seem to fade in and out with little consideration for whether it sounds authentic. Interestingly the "show" opens and closes with backstage, pre and post show, chatter between the band, the album seemingly arriving from Riot's perspective. It's an odd idea that kind of adds to the show's opening but detracts from its close. Although I do like the guitar solo "Ladies And Gentlemen...Mark Reale" and drum solo "Skin & Bone" having track titles, even if the idea of splitting the sides of the vinyl record half way through Jarzombek hammering round his kit does lose its relevance on a CD reissue.

As the original pressing did, the album actually closes with a studio cover of Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water" (although we do hear the band talking about playing the song live in the post show chatter), where The New West Horns add a different dimension and help deliver a really good version of an over heard song.

Riot would continue to evolve their line-up and tinker with their sound as the years passed, Moore being replaced by Mike Dimeo on next album Nightbreaker for example. However as a snapshot of the Privilege... and Thundersteel era of the band, Live In Japan is pretty much bang on the money.

Track Listing
1. Minutes to Showtime
2. On Your Knees... In Tokyo!
3. Metal Soldiers
4. Runaway
5. Tokyo Rose... In Osaka!
6. Rock City
7. Outlaw
8. Killer
9. Skins & Bones, Part 1
10. Skins & Bones, Part 2
11. Johnny's Back... In Tokyo!
12. Flight of the Warrior
13. Ladies and Gentlemen... Mark Reale
14. Japan Cakes (guitar solo)
15. Narita
16. Warrior
17. The Dressing Room the Encore Begins... In Tokyo!/The Encore Continues...
18. Smoke on the Water... In New York

Added: August 30th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Riot V online
Hits: 1735
Language: english

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