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Riot – Army of One (Reissue)

Riot
Army of One (Reissue)
by Mick Michaels at 02 October 2017, 4:06 PM

Metal Blade Records has re-released the 2006 RIOT album “Army of One” with “Army of One Bonus Edition.” The re-mastered album contains two bonus tracks and features former singer Mike DiMeo, who actually recorded the album in 2003 and left before its official release in 2006. “Army of One” also stands as longtime bassist Peter Perez’s last album with the band and drummer Frank Gilchriest’s first. RIOT, now called RIOT V since the passing of founding member Mark Reale, are veteran New York rockers spanning over 40 years of delivering the goods to Metal fans worldwide. Since RIOT’s 1988 release “Thundersteel,” the band has garnished more of a Power Metal sound and style. “Army of One” continues that tradition but also finds itself including elements of rock and radio friendly choruses… not that that is a bad thing. The album opens with the title track “Army of One.”  Double bass pounding under fast paced guitar riffing provides the backdrop for DiMeo’s granular vocals. There is an under lying feel of JUDAS PRIEST’s “Rapid Fire” from “British Steel” to the verse sections.

Track 2, “Knockin’ at My Door,” starts off with that signature RIOT guitar and moves into an AOR style packed with melody and harmony. Easily something that could have seen the light of day on an FM radio rotation list somewhere. Track 4, “One More Alibi,” follows the same format as “Knockin’ at My Door.” The song rips in with a solid, traditional Heavy Metal riff and beat that could have easily been an 80’s classic.  But the song then turns 360 and opens up with more melody and harmony, which we soon find is a reoccurring theme throughout the album.  Again, not a bad thing… depending on who you talk to of course. Di Meo’s vocal style and delivery lends itself to this particular musical dichotomy. He provides a strong enough balance of grit, range and tone to pull it off without fail. There is a similar approach and delivery to that of David Coverdale of WHITESNAKE with DiMeo’s vocals. “It All Falls Down,” track 5, is a great example of this and even has that sultry WHITESNAKE feel. This is a powerful track and the chorus is built with emotion and intent.

The album includes two bonus tracks, “Road Racin’ (Live),” which the studio version of this song originally appears on the 1979 album Narita and the instrumental “Still Alive (Instrumental Rough mix).” “Road Racin’ (Live) just does not stack up to the original studio recording aside from the overall recording quality is far lower than the rest of the album, unfortunately. Being that the original release of “Army of One” already contained an instrumental track, “Stained Mirror,” the inclusion of another instrumental as a bonus with “Still Alive” was sort of a disappointment. Having an unreleased track that contained DiMeo on vocals would have been way more fulfilling as a bonus track and would have offered a bit more value prompting a reason for fans to purchase the updated track listing for an album that already faired was well enough on its own.  In my opinion, the bonus tracks do not add any worth.  It would have been cool if, with a band like RIOT, whose career spans over 40 years, something more significant from their archives would have been added.

Army of One” is a solid album overall. The use of several musical styles and elements give the record a diverse mixture of texture and style… it genre intersects, which in itself, is a bold move especially for a band that has established itself in a particular kind of way with its fans. However, the album does come across at times as dated even for 2006 standards. The use of Rock/AOR can have that effect, whether implied or not. But, the album works as a whole and artists need to take chances, otherwise new heights will never be reached.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
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 Mix)
Lineup:
Mike DiMeo - lead and backing vocals, Hammond organ

Mark Reale - electric lead and rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, banjo, backing vocals

Mike Flyntz - electric lead and rhythm guitars

Pete Perez – bass

Frank Gilchriest - drums
Record Label: Metal Blade Records

     


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Edited 28 September 2021
 

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