Review Summary: I mean, holy sh*t do these guys sound like Priest.
Back in the ‘90s when KK Downing, Ian Hill, Glen Tipton and whoever the hell was drumming for Judas Priest at the time purportedly got sick of Rob Halford’s diva-esque daintiness and booted him to the curb like a tranny prostitute at the Vatican, they screwed up big time. Oh sure Ripper Owens had himself a Priest tribute band and Marky Mark eventually made a really sh*tty movie about his hiring starring Zakk Wylde, the drummer from Slaughter, the bassist from Dokken, and about 100 c-level actors, but they should have listened to Riot’s speed metal thrash-tastic masterpiece “Thundersteel” because vocalist Tony Moore sounds more like Halford than Halford did on 60% of Priest’s albums. I mean, holy sh*t does this guy sound like Rob Halford. Riot never made it big in the metal scene because they were trying to sound British and they were absolutely not British, and it’s a damn shame because they ripped off Priest (particularly “Painkiller” and “British Steel” even though “Painkiller” hadn’t been made yet) better than Rob Halford could have if he had hired Downing and Tipton’s guitar teachers and formed his own Priest tribute band. I really can’t stress this enough. These guys really, really, really really really sound like Judas Goddamn Priest.
I mean, Jesus Harold Christ these guys sound like Priest. From the fast tradeoff riffs, that quintessential barely audible bass groove, the cheesy lyrical subject matter, and the Halford patented “ok I’m going to start this song singing in a similar tone to my speaking voice and then all of a sudden I’m going to scream like a prison bitch facing a group of horny convicts with a free hall pass from the warden” vocal approach, Riot never fails to ape their British heroes. The song “Thundersteel,” aside from being 100% certified badass with its lightning riffs and ferocious cheesy metal ballyhoo would probably be the 2nd or 3rd best song on “Painkiller.” After hearing this song it’s highly plausible that Downing and Tipton were lamenting “dude have you even HEARD “Thundersteel” while they were writing “Painkiller” and arguing for the 8754th time about who was a better guitar player and how ridiculous Halford looked in chaps. “Flight of the Warrior” is all “Screaming for Vengeance” era Priest with its catchy yet heavy riffing and enormous melodic chorus. “Bloodstreets” is the quintessential ‘80s British sounding metal ballad that makes you want to drive around at night; kind of like Priest’s “When the Night Comes Down,” Saxon’s “747,” and Diamond Head’s “In The Heat of the Night.” It's melodic, it's dark, it has terribly placed screams and ridiculously bad lyrics, all required components for a NWOBHM power ballad even though these guys are American. Owing more to their talents, like previous metal heroes Dokken (and Priest), Riot brandished an ability to write songs that would perfectly fit 80’s movie montages. “Johnny’s Back” would have been the perfect accompaniment for a montage where a bunch of horribly dressed dudes did really metal things without any purpose whatsoever, kind of like 75% of all ‘80s movie collages. “Fight Or Fall” and its call to arms chorus and inescapably badass palm muted riffing should have been in a cheesy slasher flick montage, the one where a group of teens band together to make their plan to thwart the villain even though all but one of them is going to die in a predictable, grotesque, and awesomely cheesy manner. It’s like “Dream Warriors” only way more metal. Seriously, this happened and nobody knows about it. Pretty much every second of “Thundersteel” owes itself to a very obvious influence, but it is far better executed than almost any other blatant rip-off album ever.
Goddamn it Riot sounds like Priest and I can’t get over it. Aside from that it’s tempting to compare them to other rad underground acts like Anvil and Diamond Head, but the former had a documentary made about them where they played their one song about 574 times to empty clubs while in their 50s and the latter is one of the best bands ever but are only known because of Metallica. Nobody knows about Riot. Have you even heard Riot" It’s too bad Halford wasn’t as big of a d*ck as Robert Plant because when Plant thought David Coverdale was ripping him off he bitched about it incessantly and in the process made Coverdale a lot more famous then he previously would have been. Come on Bob. Throw Tony Moore a bone already and talk some sh*t, because while Riot should probably be in the metal Hall of Fame we can accept any attention at this point.