Metal Blade

This is some serious heavy metal stuff, very much in the style of American classic metal, but only better, with a new approach and feel to it. Riot, a Californian band that has survived numerous line-up changes, yet known for making quality music since the late Seventies, again lives up to the expectations of its small yet ardent fan base in this new release, Inishmore, by not falling victim to the fast-changing musical styles of this decade, but sticking it out.

As known with other Riot albums, Inishmore is characteristic of pretty good song-writing and extraordinary guitar parts. Mark Reale and Mike Flyntz, who share the guitar duties on this album, surely belong to the class of virtuosos, and Inishmore stands parading their precision, power, speed and dynamics. Note that although the guitar playing is excessive, it’s not indulgent — Riot seems to have it well balanced. Not only the guitar, Riot has employed Hammond organs very well too. (The combination of Hammond organs and melodic speed metal reminds you of Deep Purple in their “Highway Star” days!) It sure is a riot listening to this album!

Though every track in the album has its fair share of guitar solos and instrumentals, the few that really stand out and make you want to go back and play it over and over are: the two instrumentals, “Black Water” and “Inishmore,” the killer solo that lasts almost a good minute in “Liberty,” and “Angel Eyes.”

Mike Dimeo, the new vocalist, sounds like David Coverdale at places, but not quite fierce. A woman does backing vocals in some of the tracks, giving a little poppish tinge — this happens to be the only aspect that I didn’t quite like about this CD. But all in all, Inishmore is definitely a part of the Bring-Metal-Back movement and a real treat for all classic metal enthusiasts. Highly recommended. Metal Blade Records, 2828 Cochran St., Suite 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065-2793;

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