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Riot V: Live In Japan 2018

It’s been seven years since Riot V decided to make the brave decision to continue onward without their main-man and founder Mark Reale after the guitarist’s sad death in 2012. Two studio albums have arrived since that time, the band who are fully sanctioned by the Mark Reale Estate, releasing Unleash The Fire in 2014 and Armor Of Light four years later. Now comes the first live offering from this configuration - Todd Michael Hall (vocals), Mike Flyntz and Nick Lee (both on guitar), Don Van Stavern (bass) and Frank Gilchrist (drums) - and with it being titled Live In Japan 2018, it once again shows clear links with the band’s past, what with the 1992 live offering also being called Riot - Live In Japan!!

Now, I actually saw Riot V on this tour, albeit not in Japan, on a night where everything seemed to stack against them. What set the tone was the band’s flight from mainland Europe into Scotland being long delayed, resulting in them arriving in the venue long after they were already meant to have hit the stage. Problems at customs and items going missing meant that even then some of the quintet arrived after their bandmates and that instruments had to be borrowed from the support acts. That their resultant performance - which thanks to the band’s determination and the venue turning a blind eye to curfew wasn’t cut short by even one song - was a thing of majestic glory, was nothing short of miraculous given the day that had led up to that moment.

Thankfully Riot V Live In Japan 2018 arrives without any of that drama but what it does illustrate is that no matter the circumstances Riot V deliver and they do so in the most impressive manner; a 23 strong song set romped through with an intensity you can barely take in. Not simply basking in the glory of their past, over a quarter of this set is taken from the two albums since singer Todd Michael Hall joined the band. More importantly the likes of “Armor Of Light”, “Land Of The Rising Sun”, “Metal Warrior” and “Messiah” slot into a show that consists of classics such as “Thundersteel”, “Fight Or Fall”, “Sign Of The Crimson Cross” and “Run For Your Life” with consummate ease - even if the between song fade outs are a little annoying. Given that the line-up here includes Van Stavern it’s no real surprise that it’s the Thundersteel era of the band that’s focused on, especially with that Power Metal sound continued on into the current version of the long running outfit. However we do also get older classics such as “Road Racin’”, “Swords & Tequila” and “Warrior” and I’d suggest that fans of most versions of Riot will find plenty to excite them here.

The band themselves are incredibly tight, the guitar duo totting their blazing axes with an irresistibly precise intensity, while the rhythm section veers from powering bulldozer to intricate scene changer; the clear understanding between the foursome making this live document a thoroughly exciting experience. However, it’s singer Todd Michael Hall that is simply impossible not to single out, this frontman an engagingly likeable presence with a voice that really should see him as one of the most eminent singers in Heavy Metal. High notes are always within his controlled reach, while a low end authority seems equally to be his natural habitat. That he can also bring an authority and theatricality to everything his voice touches not only shows his class, but shines a light on the excellent material this band have at their disposal.

Live In Japan 2018 is not only a great way to discover (if you haven’t already) the superb new music Riot V have created since coming together or a wonderful way to celebrate this underrated band’s back catalogue, it’s also a stunning live album from start to finish. In fact I’d go as far as to say that it’s the best I’ve heard all year!

Track Listing

1. Armor Of Light

2. Ride Hard Live Free

3. On Your Knees

4. Metal Soldiers

5. Fall From The Sky

6. Wings Are For Angels

7. Land Of The Rising Sun

8. Take Me Back

9. Messiah

10. Angel Eyes

11. Metal Warrior


1. Thundersteel

2. Fight Or Fall

3. Sign Of The Crimson Storm

4. Flight Of The Warrior

5. On Wings Of Eagles

6. Johnny’s Back

7. Bloodstreets

8. Run For Your Life

9. Buried Alive

10. Road Racin’

11, Swords And Tequila

12. Warrior

Added: August 15th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Riot V online
Hits: 599
Language: english

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