June 7, 2022

Now one band that you could most definitely fill a couple of reference books with history, information and legacy is Riot. The American hard rock band was formed as far back as 1975 by guitarist Mark Reale with the debut Rock City coming out in 1977 and the album that everyone seems to have Narita following on in 1979. The list of former members is huge and contains a number of sad and untimely deaths too but the band left a huge legacy with some genuinely thrilling American hard rock. While Riot have been bastions of hard rock, they did venture into power metal territory in the late 1980’s and, to cut a very long story short, the band effectively finished in 2012 when Reale passed away. The band gently morphed into Riot V in 2013 and is still performing today with former Riot members Mike Flyntz and Don Van Stavern leading the new version.

To Riot V we can now add Riot Act as the Riot legacy is ever extended with this new offshoot featuring former guitarist Rick Ventura (from 1979 through to 1984) with Don Chaffin vocals, Paul Ranieri on bass and Claudio Galinski on drums. The former Riot guitarist Louie Kouvaris who was with the band from 1975 to 1978 was also involved in the set up of the new band but he sadly passed away in 2020, yet another casualty to Covid and another fine musician taken too soon.

This new band offers up music based on the ’70s and early ’80s Riot so you get more of the original no nonsense hard rock that the band specialised in so that this new release is pretty much old school hard rock with short, sharp and most immediately hitting metal that punches in the gut and takes you immediately back to those smoke and booze filled bars of yesteryear where the music was loud, beer was cheap and guys in denim could head bang to their hearts content! Rick Ventura is as impressive as you would expect him to be with his incendiary lead breaks and churning riffs with Don Chaffin having a powerful and pleasing voice with just enough of a touch of Guy Speranza about his delivery to make you fondly reminisce about the original version of the band.

As an extra and very pleasing touch the new band has re-recorded twelve original Riot songs with all of the tracks taken, rather tellingly, from the band’s first three albums. They are all cracking versions and it’s great to hear the new band’s take on these rock classics but I rather suspect most Riot fans will have a listen and them move straight on to the original versions, it’s human nature to go for what we know especially when it is so nostalgic! These recordings also feature the last ever work of Louie Kouvaris so there is an element of poignancy about the work but the music if buyount and upbeat so this leads you to celebrate Kouvaris and the great music he has left us. It’s also nice to report that Riot V guitarist Mike Flyntz appears as a guest on the album with a new solo on the newly recorded version of 49ER which was originally on Narita.

It’s good to see that Closer To The Flame opens a new chapter in the band’s ever growing story which continues to be written and will continue for many years to come.

Closer To The Flame

  1. Closer To The Flame (3:22)
  2. Wanted (4:06)
  3. Straight For Your Heart (3:30)
  4. Smoking Gun (3:54)
  5. Almost There (4:21)
  6. Stand Or Fall (3:18)
  7. Love Come Round (2:53)
  8. Angelina (3:05)
  9. Right Between The Eyes (2:58)
  10. Rock Love And Roll (4:25)

Bonus Disc – Classic 1979-1981 Riot tracks

  1. Rock City (3:43)
  2. 49er (5:40)
  3. Sword And Tequilla (3:46)
  4. Overdrive (4:47)
  5. No Lies (4:13)
  6. Tokyo Rose (4:05)
  7. Warrior (6:02)
  8. Don’t Hold Back (3:15)
  9. White Rock (2:57)
  10. Outlaw (4:07)
  11. Road Racing (4:59)
  12. Altar Of The King (3:33)