RIOT - "THUNDERSTEEL" (1988)
(Running time: 46:20 minutes; 9 songs)
("Metal Blade Records"; CD):
(2.) "FIGHT OR FALL"
(3.) "SIGN OF THE CRIMSON STORM"
(4.) "FLIGHT OF THE WARRIOR"
(5.) "ON WINGS OF EAGLES"
(6.) "JOHNNY'S BACK"
(8.) "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE"
(9.) "BURIED ALIVE (TELL TALE HEART)"
Hey guys, yes, I know that this post was meant to come up @ the last day of February 2018 or so but after it seems like I was sort of too enthusiastically last week and that this fucked up influenza that I've mentioned last week gives its comeback this days and is playing ping-pong or hide'n'seek with my immune system and so I'm currently struggling a bit to just keep going and that's why this post is just now coming up, not as the last February 2018 post but as the first March 2018 post. And this post is all about the next load of the newest posting series up here, the "CLASSICK(S) OF THE MONTH", yes, and so now here we go. And this month I will introduce you all to the album that was "PAINKILLER" before there was "PAINKILLER". And of course I am talking about JUDAS PRIEST's larger than life masterpiece "PAINKILLER", yes, and the album that I will no introduce to you pretty much was/is all what "PAINKILLER" was/is but just sort of two years before. So, yes, you see that's all more than justified to finally pay tribute up here to this outstanding album of divine might that was and is and always will be "THUNDERSTEEL" the 1988 masterpiece of/by New York City legends RIOT. The aggression, the energy, the attitude, the high octane songwriting, the full force songs, the sheer heavyness, the high skilled musicianship, yes, that's all totally on "PAINKILLER" levels and also the compositorial ways hold steady similarities and are also totally 'on-balance' and that alone is impressive enough and also a statement of its very own. So if you are searching or looking for maybe sort of the blueprint that JUDAS PRIEST (maybe... sort of) had and used to compose and arrange "PAINKILLER" or maybe at least used to draw some inspirations from them, just maybe, then don't search or look any further because here you finally have it. And now enough of the lifechanging "PAINKILLER" of/by JUDAS PRIEST, here's the groundbreaking one that came before, here's RIOT's "THUNDERSTEEL"...
I discovered RIOT first in the 1990's via some compilation-albums back then and then my first ever album of them that I knew and had was their evergreen classic "BORN IN AMERICA" and then later on their smasher "SONS OF SOCIETY". RIOT were (or as RIOT V still are) roughnecked Hard Rock and Heavy Metal veterans that were (and, again, as RIOT V still are) around since the late(r) 1970's and they pretty much always held a somethimes more stronger, sometimes less stronger (1970's) Hard Rock influence in store... at least before and after 1988... and then "THUNDERSTEEL" came and conquered with relentless and mercyless speed and power filled full force Heavy Metal with incredible high octane levels and harsh heavyness non stopp. I love earlier RIOT albums (especially for example "BORN IN AMERICA" and "FIRE DOWN UNDER") as well as later RIOT albums (like for example "SONS OF SOCIETY" and "ARMY OF ONE") but "THUNDERSTEEL" always held and still holds and will forever hold a special place in my heart but not only there because (from my point of view) also in general in RIOT's very own discography because never before and never again after this very one here RIOT sounded like on "THUNDERSTEEL", on this earthshaking monster they've created and unleashed in 1988. No what-so-ever Hard Rock influences to be noticed on "THUNDERSTEEL", no THIN LIZZY marks or what the hell else ever, but instead of this full power Heavy Metal with biggest loads of Speed Metal in it and thundering heavyness as well as some good loads of hymnal and hard hitting MANOWAR styled Power Metal and this all delivered in a very own way with a strong own character and a very uniqie tone/toning to it all. "THUNDERSTEEL" was and is not just an absolutely fantastic but also an 'amazingly' impressive and also just sheer outstanding album and definitely sort of truly 'one of a kind'. I currently have it or finally have it here in form of the damn great 2015 rerelease edition done by the (al)mighty "METAL BLADE RECORDS" that I desperately wanted to have because I simply really, really like this re-release editions.
"THUNDERSTEEL" takes off going out all guns blazing with the damn phenomenal title-track "THUNDERSTEEL" itself/himself, sharp hitting, sharper cutting, heavy hitting, a deadly strike full of huge tension and power with lightning riffing and larger than life amounts of intensity. One mighty hellblazing monster of a song. "FIGHT OR FALL" then is a hymnal fist in the air anthem with high impact guitars and above all the everything and everyone else outshining vocals. Like MANOWAR going all out attack in a sheer Speed Metal way. "SIGN OF THE CRIMSON STORM" then is one of my personal über-hits here on "THUNDERSTEEL", a smooth and yet incredible heavy forward galloping smashing hymn full of hugest amounts of power and attitude and with brilliant arranged verses and outstanding refrains. "FLIGHT OF THE WARRIOR" follows and storms forwards'n'onwards without taking any prisoners driven into the fight by stunning drums, shredding guitars, and brilliant and expressive vocals to kneel down to. Then "ON WINGS OF EAGLES", another pure platinum full throttle and full force slasher rages on like a wild-fire that simply bruns down'n'out everything with boneshaking drums, alarm siren lead vocals and dirty rocking and even dirtier rolling guitar riffs. The 'masterly' arranged "JOHNNY'S BACK" with a forceful smacking bass work on top of it all then takes a little bit the pace out and slows a bit down and shines with superb songwriting and 'imploringly' vocals that just make showers... sheer floods... of goosepimples run down your neck and back. "BLOODSTREETS" then is an atmospheric masterpiece full of dramatic tensionbuilding and a really huge dramaturgy and another 'simply' perfect song here on "THUNDERSTEEL". Then follows the almighty "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE" and this is forward pushing pure Heavy Metal with biggest melodic arrangements in perfection. Then this masterpiece album is closed by the epic'n'dramatic "BURIED ALIVE (TELL TALE HEART)", one hell of an outstanding atmospheric longrunner. And all and each song(s) shine in an absoultely unique and characteristic and very bright light. Totally self-conatined and stand-alone.
The whole album is marked by the totally bright shining, diverse, clear and clean sung melodic, soulful and highly charismatic lead vocals that enrich and cultivate "THUNDERSTEEL" in a damn very, very massive and sheer impressive way and that deliver the brilliant verses as well as the fantastic refrains just perfect(ly). Then the heavy and yet highly melodic guitars also really shine as well and this in all ways'n'manners, no matter if we take the riffing work and the rhythm structure or the highly melodic and really singing leads as well as the sheer pyrotechnical solos, yes, this is all nothing but purest platinum and (again) nothing but perfect. The massive rhythm section is then all backing it up with strong muscles and heavy loads of beefy'n'bulky meat to the backbone and is stunning as well as highly diverse, too. Diversity, perfection, an own identity, and pure(st) platinum, yes, all this terms also lead us to the passionate, soulful, and playful songwriting that is not only intense, atmospeheric, tight, and to the point as well as totally on point but that's also multi-layered, highly diverse, nicely varying, and multi-faceted and offers so many surprising moments, rousing elements, and grapping twistsn'turns all along the ride that it just conquers again and again and again time after time after time. Yes, and that RIOT were (andof course still are as RIOT V) absolutely high(est) skilled musicians should here and now definitely need no further explanation anymore anyhow anyway. First class and interesting lyrics, a very cool comic artwork styled artwork, and a smacking production sound we finally get on top of it all, turning this all into the complete package and this still today.
RIOT's "THUNDERSTEEL" is a timeless classick and a perfect album, a turly larger than life masterpiece... and sadly somehow an album that time sort of forgot about; and in general if this world would be a better and a more just place to live then RIOT (or today RIOT V) would be anyhow far bigger than they are and were anyway. However, okay, maybe (and just maybe) I can help to change this a very little bit with this very post here and now and if you really should not know RIOT's "THUNDERSTEEL" so far then by any means make sure to change this finally as soon as possible and also make sure that this groundbreaking piece of perfect (Heavy) Metal finally becomes a part of your record collection and this best right now. Also RIOT's "THUNDERSTEEL" was, is , and will always be one of the most precious gifts of the Metal Gods high above and now: "BANG THAT HEAD THAT DOESN'T BANG!!!"
RIOT - "THUNDERSTEEL"
RIOT - "JOHNNY'S BACK"
RIOT - "BLOODSTREETS"
RIOT - "FLIGHT OF THE WARRIOR"
RIOT - "SIGN OF THE CRIMSON STORM"