|Review: Riot - Immortal Soul|
Year released: 2011
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: November 28, 2011
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
I'm not too familiar with the works of old 80s stalwarts and legends Riot, having only heard a few albums, but this is just fucking AWESOME. Melodic metal by way of the gods. Reunited with their classic Thundersteel singer Tony Moore, the band put out a whole album of excellent intricate, classy and melodic heavy metal that I just can't stop playing. It just got into my head and wouldn't leave. Argh! But on to the review.
Riot's hard rock roots are always in evidence here, but leavened with a healthy dose of pumped up metal, complete with dazzling leads and super-hooky choruses. The lyrics are great – witty, well written and intelligent, and Tony Moore delivers them with the wide-eyed enthusiasm that can only be described as a pure love for metal. The attention to melodic detail is really amazing, and every song utilizes a combination of rhythmic hooks and vocal lines that sync up into the catchiest tunes you'll hear all year.
One thing I really like about this is Tony Moore himself, and although I've already said a little about him, let me elaborate – his vocals on this album are grade-A amazing. He doesn't sound like he's 20 anymore and his voice isn't as sleek as it used to be, but he works with what he has and varies a lot between high pitched shrieks and a more relaxed mid-range that just rules. There's just a really innocent, peppy way he sings the vocal lines on here that just works, and you can tell he really put his whole self into this performance. Not that the rest of the band didn't, though – one reason this is so awesome is that it sounds on fire with passion. Not really a quantifiable criteria, as different things will sound passionate to different people, but really I think it's hard to argue with the sheer iron will of Immortal Soul.
Pretty much every song is a standout on this thing, from the high speed opener "Riot" to the anthem "Still Your Man" and the Egyptian-style riffs of "Crawling." "Wings Are For Angels" blows the speakers with its careening tempo and screaming chorus. "Whiskey Man" is a clear winner of a song with its bluesy guitar lines and down-to-Earth hooks, and the title track rules too, with cool lyrics and a hypnotic, syncopated groove. "Insanity" possibly has my favorite lyrics on the whole album. But it's "Fall Before Me" that really comes out as the greatest track on offer, with its huge, emotive chorus and slow-burning patriotic marching feel. Just a really great song.
Really I don't have a whole lot left to say about Immortal Soul besides ‘BUY IT!' The band is on fire and the album is chock full of some of the best metal you'll hear all year. It's really rare that a band this old comes out with an album that hits this hard, but Riot have done what many people considered highly unlikely at best. And we love them all the more for it. Go hear this album; it's worth your time if you like any kind of melodic metal. One of the year's standouts.
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