I remember, I am still your man.
Another round and don't say when,
'til we hit the ground and ride again,
nothing's changed and nothing stays the same."
One Word Review: Everlasting
Riot's Immortal Soul is my favorite Heavy Metal album of 2011. The first time I listened to it, it was clear that this was something special. A sense of class imbues the whole album. It is hard to pinpoint exactly, but listening to the songs fills me with a sense of righteousness and gives me the clear impression that something special happened when the album was recorded. It just gels.
The album has a good balance of fast and not quite so fast songs. Riot, the song, is one of the fast and furious ones. It opens with a sweet guitar melody, a dual guitar attack, followed by a frenzied instrumental assault. When the vocals enter the sound, the effect is one of being pushed back in the seat, as the song speeds ahead and leaves everything in the dust. The song dutifully displays the tightness of the rhythm section, the most excellent guitar interplay between Mark Reale and Mike Flyntz and Tony Moore's crazy voice. Riot gets the album off to a flying start.
Just a few notes on the players:
Singer Tony Moore is one of a kind. His voice is charismatic and unique. He sings in a register that is incredibly high and he does this with a lot of feeling. His high pitch voice sometimes feels as if it is teetering on the brink of breaking, but somehow he keeps it together and makes it work. For that he gets my profound respect. He gives the album an important part of its unique essence.
Another essential elemnent is the guitar sound of Mark Reale (R.I.P.) and Mike Flyntz. Right from the start the guitar melodies are in focus. These guys play fast with a melodic touch and conjure a whole bunch of memorable dual lead sections and melodious guitar solos. Omitting a mention of the superb rhythm section, laid down by Bobby Jarzombek on drums and Don Van Stavern on bass would be a heinous crime, as both do an excellent job.
As the dust settles after the opening song, the foundation has been laid for a most exciting album.
Still Your Man bashes one over the head with an opening drum solo, before taking the listener back in time, to the Thundersteel album, and a re-acquaintance with a character off that album. This is done in the most outstanding way, keeping the feel of the original intact while adding an air of melancholy. I love that chorus, both musically and lyrically. There is a great crunch to the guitar, while the lyrics have a recognizable air of reminiscence about them.
Crawling, as the title implies, slows down (slightly). The song has a fantastic build-up and when the chorus hits, with multiple vocal layers, the effect is worth savoring. A brilliant guitar solo makes up the middle section of the song. That is one of the things I like about the band, their ear for melody.
Wings are for angels soars skyward with a vigorous vocal performance by Tony Moore, backed by an effective rhythm guitar and manic drumming. The song has a great way of evolving and I love how the guitar and bass both go nuts in the last verse of the song. Moore please.
Fall Before Me has been a personal favorite since my first listen to the album. The opening verse sets the atmosphere right away and the build up to the chorus is very satisfying. The chorus is to die for. The way the downtuned guitar leads the entrance gives it a certain heavy feel and Tony's vocals are filled with feeling. He brings a deep sense of melancholy to the song.
It was not my plan to go through all the songs on the album but I have to comment on a few more favorites before I wrap it up,
Immortal Soul might just be the most melodic song on the album, with an effective chorus and the dual guitar solo of Insanity is wonderful in a Judas Priest kinda way.
"Hello! It's Whiskey Man!!"
Whiskey Man is another favorite. A perfect drinking song with very funny lyrics. It has since become a staple at the Sweden Rock Festival camping ground. From the opening guitar riff to the final "mmm yeah", this song is a riot. I've only found one flaw: The line "Please call me Whiskey Man" should clearly have been "Police call me Whiskey Man". I'd been singing that until I read the lyrics. Great idea for a song, brilliant execution, mmm yeah.
Echoes is yet another favorite and a fitting finale to the album. Tony Moore gives it his everything here and it is a wonder that it works. I feel a deep sense of melancholy harbored in the song and overall it brings a chilling feeling whenever I hear it. That chorus is simply breathtaking.
Throughout the album, both rhythm guitar and guitar solos are played in a most excellent way. During the verses of most songs, the rhythm guitar provides a heavy base with a lot of crunch, whereas the guitar solos are brilliantly fast and melodic, often leading to a dual guitar-solo attack, shredding abound.
Immortal Soul is well played, tight as balls, fast as a shark and powerful as a two ton heavy thing. It holds the very essence of Heavy Metal in a tight grip, and for that I salute the band. This is one of those rare albums which feels classic right from the first few listens.
Sadly, Riot is no more as founder Mark Reale passed away in 2012. Riot V has been formed in the ashes of Riot and a new album is planned for 2014. Tony Moore has been replaced by Todd Michael Hall but the rest of the guys are the same. I am very happy that they have decided to keep this going and I expect greatness.
With a song in my heart and a whiskey in my hand, I raise a toast to the late Mark Reale. This album will live eternally in my mind.
Echoes on the wind,
faces reflected in mirrored eyes,
another soul I might have been.
Strangers to me now,
Far from this vision of love…
Written By Steen
Online: Monday, November 25, 2013
Still Your Man
Saturday, February 1, 2014 - Rodrigo De Marqui
Fuckin Great album!