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Riot V - Unleash the Fire

by Eric Loranger

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Ever since 1975, Riot has been rocking with the best of them, touring with heavy hitters and putting out some well-regarded albums. Now with their latest lineup, featuring Todd Michael Hall as the group's fifth lead vocalist, Riot is going by Riot V to mark that distinction. Nearly 40 years in, the group sounds as heavy and fast as ever on their latest release, Unleash the Fire.

With a sound reminiscent of Riot's Thundersteel era, featuring Iron Maiden type riffs and vocals, Unleash the Fire continues where 2011's reunion album Immortal Soul left off. However this album is more unique in that it marks the band's first release after the passing of founding guitarist Mark Reale. The album is dedicated to him and the guitar work definitely pays him homage; you get the impression he would have approved.

Unleash the Fire bursts forth with lead track "Ride Hard Live Free," setting the energy level high with a driving drum beat and Riot's trademark guitar harmonies. "Fall From the Sky" reminds the listener of Maiden's "Run to the Hills" at times, a very melodic singalong song. "Bring the Hammer Down" has a bit of a death metal touch to the riffs, reminiscent of Amon Amarth. The rest of the album holds down the sound nicely, if a bit repetitive.

This album will please fans of Riot, as well as those seeking a triumphant sounding power metal album, though it may not be for everyone. The guys don't really break any new ground here, and their sound mostly stays around the same territory throughout, Still Unleash the Fire serves its purpose as an old-school metal call to arms and should have you head-banging in no time.

Order your copy here.

Riot V - Unleash the Fire
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