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Riot: Army of One

US heavy metal legends Riot are celebrating their 30th year in the heavy metal world since their inception in 1976. Though they have gone through numerous member changes over the years, the band has maintained a fairly consistent lineup since the early 90's. With the exception of drummers, from the amazing Bobby Jarzombek to the super awesome John Macaluso and back to Jarzombek (only to be replaced by Virgin Steele drummer Frank Gilchrist on this album), the guitar tandem of Mark Reale and Mike Flyntz, the underrated bassist Pete Perez, and the amazing vocalist Mike DiMeo have defined the sound and character of Riot for the last ten-plus years.

Despite their unquestioned musical strength, Riot has never been too big Stateside since the very early 80's. They have had a loyal following in Europe in the 90's and Japan for the past couple of years. From traditional heavy metal discs to more melody-driven power-inspired releases, Riot have morphed from album to album, opting for a decidedly more European sound. Army of One certainly retains this direction, but also harkens back to a noticeable American rock sound during certain moments. The band has without doubt undergone a less heavy yet more hard rock-inspired phase recently, with strong reference points being Rainbow and Deep Purple. The first song, also one of the fastest and most energetic on the album, pounds you into submission with a Dio era Rainbow vibe going on, utilising killer dual lead work, and ferocious bass playing.

Those interested in the band's heavier work displayed on albums like Inishmore should have a listen to "The Mystic", featuring awesome guitar work, some really agressive singing, and long instrumental breaks. Even the material recalls the days with Jarzombek behind the skins. Sadly, while the best on the album, this song does not fit the overall flow of Army of One. It feels far too isolated among all the multiple-chorus 80's pieces. There is also a neat instrumental cut, "Stained Mirror", with effective guitar work by band leader Mark Reale. The song also receives some keyboard support in its climax towards the finale.

The band's fans in Japan and Europe will love this album, while in the USA, they will continue to be constantly unrecognised, with the exception of their loyal cult fans following them wherever they go.

Track Listing

  1. Army of One
  2. Knockin' at My Door
  3. Blinded
  4. One More Alibi
  5. It All Falls Down
  6. Helpin' Hand
  7. The Mystic
  8. Still Alive
  9. Alive in the City
  10. Shine
  11. Stained Mirror
  12. Darker Side of Light

Added: September 22nd 2006
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Riot website
Hits: 4539
Language: english

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