Tonight is a special one boys and ghouls ’cause we’re bringing you a double dose of classic metal shredding with Army of One and Through the Storm bonus edition releases from metal legends Riot out now! Let’s take a heavy trip down metal memory lane as we first delve into Riot‘s Army of One Originally released in 2006, Army of One still hits as hard as any contemporary band while staying true to it’s old school shred roots. On that note let’s take a look back and see just why that is yeah? Despite it’s “European” metal sound similar to bands like Judas Priest and Iron MaidenRiot began its journey founded in New York in the mid 1970s by a rowdy quintet of young musicians ready to make a name for themselves. Despite many line-up changes since then, the spirit of the band has remained the same; sweet guitar solos, kick ass metal jams in general and powerhouse vocals leading the charge on stage and in the studio. Power metal has been around for a while now and it’s because of heavy metal warriors like the guys of Riot who’ve stuck to their guns and made metal with real teeth. Consider for a moment the very impressive fact that they dropped an album in 2006 before the “resurgence” of power metal in more recent years that would have fit in perfectly in the 80s while also not feeling dated or “already been done”.  With explosive tracks like “Knockin’ at My Door” or “One More Alibi” showing you how to throw down hard without being a fuckin bummer and showing why the phrase “power ballad” shouldn’t be a dirty one, one can easily see how they’ve lasted the test of time without losing a step along the journey despite a tough road traveled. Take one listen to the shred work in the track “Shine” and you’ll hear the kind of solo only experience and skill can produce. One of the most admirable traits of the band too, aside from the quality music, is the ability to carry on despite many line-up changes and personal tragedies (R.I.P. Mike Reale and Rhett Forrester). “But Kaizer,” you say, “I’m kinda slow so I’m not sure if I’m sold yet!” to which I say GOOD ’cause we ain’t done just yet…..

Get ready for another dose because we got a whole ‘nother album for ya ready to go. 2002’s Through The Storm is also back with a rhythmic vengeance. For the sharp students in class I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “if this one came out first then why the hell are you talking about it second?” Good on you for paying attention but there’s one major reason why I decided to do this one second: the year in which it came out originally. Now think back to 2002 – you probably forgot all about it but it was a shaky time for metal. The nu-metal incursion was kinda leveling out, which left some great bands by the wayside and some truly shit bands sprouting up faster than you could ridicule them. Not to mention this was also the year band’s like Fear FactoryAlice in Chains and Megadeth (temporarily that is) called it quits in one way or another. Also, one of the greatest modern era frontmen Dave Williams (Drowning Pool) died, on top of a slew of other metal related deaths and misfortunes. There were few bands kickin that straight up metal at the time; Black Sabbath  dropped an album, DioBlack Label SocietyMotorhead, In Flames, but in general the scene was overtaken by a mix of nu-metal and emo kids deciding they wanted to add blast beats to their music. This is important, because without the few names I already mentioned and Riot themselves standing as the heavy metal vanguard, who knows if the pendulum would have swung back the other way like it did. Without bands like Riot sticking true to their guns and doing what they do best, some of your favorite bands today may never have been inspired to stay true to the path. Not only that, but unleashing savage tracks like “Turn the Tables”, “Burn the Sun” and “Through the Storm” is just another notch on their belt showing that great drumming, sick bass, amazing solos only a deaf man could deny and the “blow the roof off this joint” vocals hadn’t and weren’t ever going out of style. Through the Storm  is a testament to what a band can craft if they stay hungry even after making it and never giving up on kicking ass.

These two classic albums, now back with new material like sick instrumentals, a lit live track and raw tracks that show just how little studio magic this band has ever needed, you’d be remiss to not delve into these albums. This is literally listening to dope metal history in the making. Why anyone wouldn’t want to be refreshed on a band they know is dope or see why this particular band has kicked so much ass for so long is beyond logical thought. You’re looking at 30 tracks of badassery here and the only real question is: Are you ready for it?

Tracklist (Army of One):
1.Army of One
2.Knockin’ at My Door
3.Blinded
4.One More Alibi
5.It All Falls Down
6.Helpin’ Hand
7.The Mystic
8.Still Alive
9.Alive in the City
10.Shine
11.Stained Mirror
12.Darker Side of Light
13.Road Racin’ (Live)
14. Still Alive (Instrumental Rough)

Tracklist (Through The Storm):
1.Turn the Tables
2.Lost Inside This World
3.Chains (Revolving)
4.Through the Storm
5.Let It Show
6.Burn the Sun
7.To My Head
8.Essential Enemies
9.Somebody
10.Only You Can Rock Me
11.Isle of Shadows
12.Here Comes the Sun
13.Follow You (Demo)
14.Army of One (Instrumental)
15.Shine (Instrumental)
16.Blinded (Instrumental)

Rating:
Army of One – 4.5 outta 5 axes
Through the Storm – 4.5 outta 5 axes

 

Written by Ken Kaiser for Bloodrock Media on September 18, 2017