Released by: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: April 28th, 2018
Don Van Stavern – bass (1986–1990, 2008–2012, 2013–present)
Mike Flyntz – guitar (1989–2012, 2013–present)
Frank Gilchriest – drums (2003–2007, 2014–present)
Todd Michael Hall – lead vocals (2013–present)
Nick Lee – guitar (2014–present)
2. End of the World
4. Angel’s Thunder, Devil’s Reign
5. Burn the Daylight
6. Heart Of A Lion
7. Armor of Light
8. Set the World Alight
9. San Antonio
10. Caught In the Witches Eye
11. Ready To Shine
12. Raining Fire
There are few bands out there that when I see they have a new album I instantly know it’s going to be great. It may not be their best ever, but at the very least you know what to expect and you know that it is guaranteed to entertain. One of those bands is Riot (now Riot V,) and it seems that they’re one of the best-kept secrets in the metal world. Not to say they haven’t achieved International success on some level, but Riot isn’t one of those band names as noted and name-dropped as Maiden or Priest, though I think they’re just as deserving of such recognition. And frankly, I don’t care if you agree with that assessment or not. Despite numerous line-up changes and the tragic loss of key members over the years (band creator Mark Reale passed away in 2012, while original singer Guy Speranza and most know vocalist Rhett Forrester both passed away much to young) they have forged a fantastic career, starting as a straightforward metal band, later morphing into a Power Metal style, they’ve always maintained a great sound and an excellent melodic feel. The band has released their 2nd album as Riot V (so named as singer Todd Michael Hall is the group’s 5th singer) entitled Armor of Light, and to my ears, it is indeed a true metal victory for this band.
Right off the bat Riot V jump full force into delivering a high impact album full of stunning guitar playing from Mike Flyntz and Nick Lee, one of the more recent vocal greats in Hall, and a brilliant rhythm section provided by drummer Frank Gilchriest and longest running member Don Van Stavern on bass. As with any Riot album past and present you’re easily going to get a fantastic mixing of a metallic assault, high and powerful vocals, and a driving power sound all with a perfect splash of melodic hard rock approach to give it that instant hook and appeal. With tunes like “Messiah,” “Set the World Alight,” and “Ready To Shine” Riot V shows no signs of throwing in the towel and calling it a day. Their sound is as fresh and vibrant as it always has been.
This is one of those bands I’ve always cheered on and hoped for bigger and better things. It’s not too late for the late Mark Reale’s band to dominate the music world, and hopefully, Armor of Light will drive them to that point. Otherwise, they’re still going to create some kickass music that is sure to keep the fans happy for years to come. I can’t fathom why anyone wouldn’t adore this band when after nearly 40 years in one incarnation or another they’ve kept the Heavy Metal spirit alive!
Written by: Chris Martin