Sons of Society
More or less led by guitarist Mark Reale, Riot has been flying the heavy-metal flag for more than 13 years now, with lineup changes almost equaling that number. As loathe as I am to admit it, Sons of Society is my first introduction to the band, and hardly an auspicious one at that. Immanently enjoyable for genre fans, Sons of Society finds Riot fully capable of Euro-metal (Accept, Helloween, early Judas Priest) derivation, mostly mane-shaking mid-tempos (exception: the burning “Dragonfire”) and clean, agile riffing; with the latter, there’s almost too much control, wholly lacking any sort of passion or general craziness. Mike Dimeo’s vocals are all bluesy and soulful, not unlike David Coverdale’s, but the album’s focus seems to be on Dimeo: Even if it’s merely a bunch of moans or “ooohs” and “aaahs,” his pipes fill nearly every second of nearly every song, whether it be three minutes or six. Further compounding this tactical goof, Riot’s too-compact songwriting hardly breathes the way killer power metal should. I don’t know — color me unimpressed.
Metal Blade Records, 2828 Cochran St., Suite 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065-2793; http://www.metalblade.com