Riot - Through The Storm

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Metal Blade
Catalog Number: 3984-14399-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:11:00

Through The Storm is Riot's 15th album, including live releases, since they got their start in 1977. Their sound is classic hard rock that keeps to its 80s roots while throwing in some progressive metal elements here and there. There is also a bit of speed metal in the mix with the heavy, rapid-fire percussion, fiery guitar solos of "Burn The Sun," though the level of melodicism keeps it well away from true speed metal territory. I have been unfamiliar with Riot, so this album and their style comes to new to me, though there is something very familiar sounding about them, from vocals to guitars to arrangements (and I don't mean the covers they've included on this set) ? unfortunately, I can't place the reference.

I'll add this bit of comment for those who are equally unfamiliar with the band ? 80s in this case doesn't mean hair metal, but it also doesn't mean Iron Maiden either. Lyrically, the subject matter falls somewhere in the "warrior" territory. Not quite as overt as say Manowar, or Rhapsody or even Blind Guardian for that matter. It's hard to place as there aren't any of the familiar set pieces here ? but we do get mention of swords, knives, fighting, etc. It's more putting a heroic spin on real world situations?

Mike DiMeo has one of those rough, whisky-harsh, bluesy kind of singing voice. But it isn't hard to listen to, fitting nicely between melodic smoothness and sandpaper rough. Guitars (Mark Reale, Mike Flyntz) are at the forefront throughout, blasting leads here and there, with the bottom end provided by bassist Pete Perez and drummer Bobby Rondinelli. Each piece is full of highly-combustible energy, even the somewhat sultry sounding "Chains (Revolving)." The title track comes closest to melodic prog metal, and is my favorite track on the album, aside from a tender acoustic rendition of George Harrison's "Here Comes The Sun." The other cover track here is UFO's "Only You Can Rock Me," which features guest Josh Pincus (Ice Age) on parpy keyboards, presenting a lighter sound.

"Let It Show" is a heartfelt power ballad that steers clear of syrupy sentimentalism. Reale provides the string arrangements that add a little more depth to this track as well as an emotionally charged guitar solo. For the most part "To My Head" reminds me of classic Def Leppard (circa Pyromania and earlier) with a tinge of Kiss. Ah, but the heartbreaking emotive guitar pre-solo (for lack of better term) is quite tasty (of the sort I love from Gilmour and Rothery, for instance? but not really like them).

"Essential Enemies" gives yet another look, darker, chuggier, with distorted vocals and shimmery, watery guitar effects. A bit of a grunge, nu-metal aspect, to go along with it's slinky, blues-metal sound? Soundgarden meets Whitesnake if you will (would that make it gardensnake?). And we get a Celtic-metal feel with the guitar-led instrumental "Isle Of Shadows" ? guitars that are both classical in style, and also oftentimes remind me of classic Brian May.

It's an album that one finds is very good and enjoyable to listen to, but does not lead one to hyperbole. Okay, doesn't lead me to hyperbole ? my cohort Dave was more taken with this than I. But, it is a good, solid release that doesn't disappoint those who are new to the band. Since neither Dave, RIPZ (who also tackled this CD), nor I are familiar with the band, long time fans may have a different perspective.

Turn The Tables (5:21) / Lost Inside This World (4:43) / Chains (Revolving) (4:42) / Through The Storm (6:13) / Let It Show (4:37) / Burn The Sun (4:26) / To My Head (5:58) / Essential Enemies (3:48) / Only You Can Rock Me (3:56) / Isle Of Shadows (4:07) / Here Comes The Sun (3:20)

Mike DiMeo ? lead vocals
Mark Reale ? electric guitars, acoustic guitars, keyboards
Mike Flyntz ? electric guitars
Pete Perez ? bass guitar
Bobby Rondinelli ? drums

Additional musicians:

Tony Harnell ? backing vocals
Yoko Kayumi ? violins, varied speed violin, keyboards, recorder
Josh Pincus ? keyboards (9)

Rock City (1977)
Narita (1979)
Fire Down Under (1981)
Restless Breed (1982)
Born In America (1984)
Thundersteel (1988)
The Priviledge Of Power (1990)
Riot Live (1993)
Night Breaker (1994)
The Brethren Of The Long House (1996)
Inishmore (1998)
Shine On (1999)
Live In Japan (1999)
Sons Of Society (1999)
Through The Storm (2002)

Genre: Melodic Metal

Origin US

Added: January 27th 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 820
Language: english


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