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Knightriot – Beware of the Knight (Reissue) Award winner

Knightriot
Beware of the Knight (Reissue)
by Fred “Cage” Bonanno at 15 August 2022, 8:38 PM

Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, brothers Jeffrey and Danny James formed NYTRO in 1985, but realized to find fame and fortune, soon uprooted, and moved to the heavy metal mecca, Los Angeles, the magical land of heavy metal nightclubs, Whiskey A Go Go, The Troubadour and The Roxy. Completing their line-up and changing the band’s name to KNIGHTRIOT, they released their debut demo “Speak No Evil” in 1989 and “Beware the Knight” one year later.
Straight forward metal with Christian oriented lyrics were the two main features that formed the band’s overall trademark. The third and final demo was released in 1993, “Killing Time”.
With no major record deal and heavy metal starting to give way to the “grunge” phase, KNIGHTRIOT called it quits. Fast forward to 2022 when the Arkeyn Steel Records team have remastered from scratch and reissued all three demos into this compilation album “Beware the Knight” of 14 original songs and one cover. The album includes a booklet chronologizing the history of the band complete with all lyrics.

The opening track gives us a clear indication where this album is taking us, “Bitterfield (Hell on Earth)” is a nice fast paced beat and tempo with beefy vocals and meaty guitar soloing surrounded by pommeling drums. Whenever a song has Lucifer in the title, I’m hooked and have to dive in and see where the song takes me, “Lucifer’s Child” is a mixed tempo with choppy guitar riffs and devilish vocals that give a dark, errie edge to this hypnotic song, the guitar solo is slow and melodic and perfectly gives the song some bite. The lyrics translate the message “You’re falling apart at the seams, you sold your soul and your dreams, you’re Lucifer’s Child”. Taking a metal swipe at ZAGER AND EVANS 1969 pop classic “In the Year 2525”, a song about “mankind doing himself in”, starts out with heavy drum presence, a kick ass guitar solo give this remake an excellent hard spin of the original, which was a snore. “Holy Avenger” is a straightforward head banging rocker with gritty riffs and in-your-face kick ass guitar solo from Jamie Purpora, you can feel the band’s heart and soul flowing throughout. “Wasted Youth” starts out with a baby crying to really got my attention before taking me back to the 60’s with an IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA sound, complete with muzzled vocals and a fuzzy psychedelic guitar spin. Nice retro sound.

I came away with a definite 80’s power metal vibe from this album, riff driven guitar work, gruff and vibrant vocals partnered with galloping rhythms and bombastic drumming. This band could be twin brothers of MANOWAR musically, minus the leather speedo’s, bare chests, and testosterone. Like fellow Christian rock bands STRYPER, SKILLET and P.O.D., their lyrics are emotional, thought provoking and emphasize the worlds relationship with GOD, the GODLESS and blind faith. It's a shame KNIGHTRIOT never signed to a major label, with the right promotions and backing, they could have made a mark in the 80’s/90’s metal scene. I’ll leave you with the band’s creed. “Living without faith you know you take your chances. Every day’s a question. How will you survive? Children of the world, the answer lies above you. You gaze into the stars, but you cannot see the light”

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Bitterfield (Hell on Earth)
2. The Sacred Legend
3. Beware the Knight
4. Lucifer’s Child
5. Serve Thy Master
6. In the Year 2525
7. Rock Hard
8. Holy Avenger
9. Kiss the Black
10. Wasted Youth
11. Killing Time
12. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
13. The Ballad of the Unsung Hero
14. Sultana
15. The Second Coming
Lineup:
Jeffrey Michael James – lead vocals
Jamie Purpora – lead guitar
Danny James – bass guitar
Jeremy Crowther – drums
Christopher Blake – guitar
Record Label: Arkeyn Steel Records
     


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