Riot V – Armor Of Light (Review)

Riot V – Armor Of Light (2018)

Riot’s history as a band is the stuff of metal legend, thanks to decades of perseverance through bad breaks and tragedy. But musically I’ve been largely unfamiliar with the band’s career beyond the early Guy Speranza-fronted albums of the late 70s/early 80s. With the passing of founding guitarist Mark Reale in 2012 there is now no-one left from those early days. But the US band, respectfully renamed Riot V due to Reale’s passing, have vowed to carry on his good work.

And on their latest album Armor Of Light they do a pretty good job of it. Like a more polished version of 1988’s Thundersteel, it’s upbeat melodic power metal akin to Gamma Ray or Dragonforce. Todd Michael Hall’s soaring Kiske-esque vocals deliver some instantly memorable choruses with high-flying aplomb. Songs like Victory, End Of The World, Heart Of A Lion and Angel’s Thunder, Devil’s Reign sound like the sort of warring, singalong stuff that will go over a storm at festivals. The guitar soloing is superb too: jousting, harmonized Helloween-type stuff.

But there isn’t quite enough killer riffing here, and it all starts to go through the motions in the second half. The band is too content to chug along with the double-kicks, and many potentially interesting parts are drowned out by the relentless drums. But there’s good pure metal fun to be had here. The first side is a blast, I guarantee you a good two or three songs that will instantly embed in your brain and warrant further listens. A solid effort rather than a great one; but if the goal is to uphold the legacy of Reale and Riot then it achieves its aim. I definitely want to catch up and hear more.

19 thoughts on “Riot V – Armor Of Light (Review)”

  1. I’m quite interested in Riot… familiar with Restless Breed, but a few albums have been added to the list over the last while (thanks mostly to their album covers!!)… and yeah, definitely a colourful history there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Are you a wizard? I was wondering about this Riot V and its check-it-out potential just yesterday!

    Your Dragonforce comparison has given me my (negative) answer however. It is precisely the tendency to relentlessly chug along with the double-kicks that put me off the power-speeder ilk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s a negative comparison for me too. They’re not that ridiculous but there are definite similarities in the rhythm, guitar solos and the big cheesy choruses. You should check the video out though, there are some really good songs on it and I liked it more than I expected. But the double kicks are all over everything!


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