RIOT V – Mean Streets

RIOT V – Mean Streets
Label(s):
Atomic Fire Records
Released Year:
2024
Type:
Full-length
Tracklist:
1. Hail To The Warriors2. Feel The Fire3. Love Beyond The Grave4. High Noon5. Before This Time6. Higher7. Mean Streets8. Open Road9. Mortal Eyes10. Lost Dreams11. Lean Into It12. No More

It is now RIOT V‘s third album with the same line-up.

And it’s the BEST of this gang so far!

Todd Michael Hall (vocals), Mike Flyntz (guitars), Nick Lee (guitars), Donnie Van Stavern (bass) and Frank Gilchriest (drums) have reached the point, after ten whole years, to give us not only another enjoyable album but to make a statement that they stand the test of time in the best way possible – delivering TRUE heavy metal while honoring the legacy of this ICONIC band.

I’ve read more than a dozen reviews for “Mean Streets” and not one of them is less than flattering, most of them being really enthusiastic. Indeed, RIOT V have made a glorious return!

I have to admit that initially, with the first singles I heard, I was wary. Not anymore! Having listened to the whole album, all twelve songs, I’m now smiling with consent. “Mean Streets” is an ABSOLUTE hit! And let me tell you why, through a brief presentation of the songs…

Opening track “Hail To The Warriors” is an epic, anthemic power metal song that leaves you totally pleased – simple as that! It is followed by “Feel the Fire”, a rhythmic, catchy mid-tempo song that sounds really great if you don’t mind the riffs being so reminiscent of JUDAS PRIEST‘s “Grinder” – see that as a tribute gesture and everything’s fine, I suppose. After all, Donnie Van Stavern states clearly “When I wrote the music for ‘Feel The Fire,’ I wanted to bring back the early RIOT rock days musically with a ZEPPELIN / PRIEST kind of vibe”.

However, I wonder why the next track, “Love Beyond The Grave”, a strong, dark song that fits perfectly to the sound the band has established, was the third single that came out before the album’s release; I find it MUCH better than “Feel The Fire” that was the choice for the second single – first one being “High Noon”. “High Noon” isn’t bad at all, it showcases speed and sharpness but it seems to lack what could make it really remarkable. “Before This Time” is a melodic and well-developed song; the rich, notable chorus is combined ideally with playful, smooth riffs, a nice display of the of the band’s mild side.

After that, right in the middle of the tracklist, “Higher” truly begins to bring the bar higher, with all its stylish force and emotional might. Next one is title-track “Mean Streets”, my own favorite! It brings Johnny and his riders’ band back to our lives and that’s when my heart got pierced by roaring thunder-steel; this is a tear-jerking song, full of nostalgia, warmth and strength. “Open Road”, a suitable thematic sequel to “Mean Streets”, although mellow and tuneful, it also stands as a well-built heavy metal hymn. Things are getting wild again with “Mortal Eyes” and “Lost Dreams” that are both fast and punchy, straight as an arrow, without missing the target for even a second!

Well, by now, you should be more than convinced this is an album you will listen again and again, and not one of those that will be soon forgotten, gathering dust.

And the last two songs simply confirm that. “Lean Into It” brings to mind the good old sound of RIOT’s first albums, and final track, “No More” offers a perfect, powerful uplifting ending.

Honestly, I find that “High Noon” and “Feel the Fire” were not the best choices for being the first two singles of “Mean Streets”. In my humble opinion, they are some of the less strong songs in the album, which as a whole is really AMAZING! But since every metalhead would want to listen to THIS album in its entirety -one of the mostly anticipated metal releases of 2024 for sure- what anyone says may be insignificant; it is already uploaded in the band’s YouTube Channel and you can witness for yourselves what it is all about!

Personally, I would say that with “Mean Streets”

…the kings are back to claim the land again!

This serious metal stuff – this is RIOT, with a V for VICTORIOUS!

“Mean Streets” was released on May 10th by Atomic Fire Records on both CD and LP.


Check the discussion about the album in our forum pages.


You can order both CD and LP here.

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