Out from Argentina hails Riff, the main and more successful project of guitarist/ vocalist Norberto Napolitano, better known as Pappo. He is arguably the best guitarist to ever come out from Argentina, and he was an excellent musician. He formed Riff on 1980, along with guitarist Boff, drummer Michel Peyronel and bassist Vitico. On a concert called “Adiós Pappo’s Blues, Bienvenido Riff” (“Goodbye Pappo’s Blues, welcome Riff”) the formation of the band was announced.
Ruedas de Metal
, released on 1981, is Riff’s debut album. It displays a classic hard rock approach bordering the edge of metal at times, and it does it greatly. It’s definitely a landmark in the Argentinean rock scene, for it was a bang at its time. It brought the powerful rock, distorted guitars and freshness of something new. At a time when Hard Rock was barely appearing in the country, this band was the epitome of all the genre.
As usually, Pappo’s guitar work is exquisite, especially at the time of soloing. He delivers ell crafted and polished ones, and nice riffs as well, for example on Sordidez
. Plus, he is a very good songwriter, this proved from the very first track Ruedas de Metal
. The title track is probably the best song off the entire album, which fortunately holds its starting level thoughout. Rhythm guitarist Boff Serafine does it well too, using a variety of effects and solidifying the structure of the music.
Another positive aspect of Ruedas de Metal
is the rest of the instrumental section of the band. Bassist Vitico is pretty good at this, his lines are always audible and add a lot to the music. And Michel Peyronel is one of the finest drummers of the Argentinean Rock scene, with his interesting fills and multidemsional style, helped by the song structures. All this makes for some truly amazing headbanging moments, and catchy moments on the album, such as the chorus on Mucho Por Hacer
and the main riff for Necesitamos Más Acción
Furthermore, production is very good too, since every instrument is audible and there is a perfect balance between them and the vocals, something that adds a lot to the general sound of the album. Talking about vocals, they are something quite controversial. Pappo was a man who made music for fun, and he did not have the best of the voices, but to put it plainly, he did not give a *** and sang all the same. Whilst something genuine, this is one of the weakest components of the band’s sound when analyzed individually, but ultimately the vocals flow well with the music. On Sordidez
, the vocals are taken by Vitico, and this does not make a big change honestly. And the lyrics are just funny for the most part, although sometimes they have some political content, especially on following albums.
Ruedas de Metal
marks the beginning of one of the most influential bands of the country. This debut album is packed with all the elements that distinguishes Pappo’s music, and it is a Hard Rock gem which defines the genre, and at its time burst on the Argentinean musical scene with a bang. This is definitely one of the essential albums for the genre, and strives to be regarded as the best Riff album, along with Contenidos and the not-so popular VII. This is the beginning of something great, indeed.