Ok I want to be crystal clear with this: I love RIOT and I love their RIOT V reincarnation, the band that continues the legacy of Mark Reale and kept the flame burning. I have catched them live both with Todd Michael Hall and with Mike DiMeo during their “Inishmore” tour (or was it “Sons of Society”, I really cannot remember) and I always loved and enjoyed listening to their songs.
And as much as I hate writing this, I find no particular reason for this release. Yes, I understand the band has a special bond with Japan, they have always enjoyed success there and they already have two live albums recorded in the Land of The Rising Sun. And I understand that albums like these are usually the aftermath of a successful tour and serve as a memorabilia for both the fans and the band, yet in 2019 I cannot see the reason for a live album. There are countless of videos on youtube, lots of them are of high quality, where you can witness almost every great show. And with the bazillions of new albums that come out every day, live albums and compilations are not a priority for most buyers (at least that my understanding).
Frankly I feel that somehow the band is trying to exploit the increasing success they enjoyed during the previous years and they just keep releasing stuff. They have already released another live album with their performance at Keep in True festival (I was there!) and three albums with archived songs from their early days, which makes this the fifth release after the “Armor of light” album in 2018. Apparently they do believe that the fans are capable of paying lots of money to listen to live and alternative versions of their songs which is OK, but leave me out of this.
As far as this release is concerned i cannot say much. If you have seen RIOT V live then you know that their performance is incredible. The songs both the new ones and the old ones sound even better when they are performed live and the flawless voice of Todd Michael Hall elevates them to even higher levels: songs from “Thundersteel” (the band performs the full “Thundersteel” album among other, due to the 30 year anniversary) sound massive and even the earlier stuff like “Road Racing” or “Swords and Tequila” have a contemporary power metal edge that carries away the listener. The sound quality is crystal clear and it flows naturally. Listening to the album I thought I was there watching the band playing live.
There is a deja vu feeling since this is their usual set list and all the songs are included in the live album of their KIT performance. I think that it would be better if we could listen to a couple of different songs like “Restless Breed”, “You Burn in Me”, “Born in America”, “Altar of The King”, “Outlaw” and more DiMeo songs (my favorite RIOT era) like “Soldier”, “Twist of Fate”, “Wounded Heart”, “Liberty” and my all time favorite RIOT song “Glory Calling”. But that’s just me.
Anyway don’t get me wrong, this is not a waste of money. Should you buy it, you get a first quality product, but I feel its is not a priority. Until then shine on!