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Riot City - Burn the Night

Riot City
Burn the Night
by Rachel Montgomery at 10 June 2019, 6:24 PM

RIOT CITY is a Canadian metal band from Alberta, formed in 2011 and debuting their first album. They compare their style to JUDAS PRIEST, and the album art (fantastically retro) advertises them as an 80s-inspired band. Usually, I’m wary of bands who claim to take notes from NWOBHM, since it can be overdone at this point. However, with the sweeping guitar riffs in the opening track, “Warrior of Time”, I got a distinct, thrash vibe which piqued my interest. I hear Priest in the main riff, but other than that, they stylized the band’s older sound. Otherwise, the vocalist does sound similar to Rob Halford, and has an interesting falsetto that he uses often here. Personally, I think it’s a little much, but otherwise, the song is good. The instrumental break was especially enjoyable and made the song a great intro track.

The title track, “Burn the Night”, has a lot of 80s-style reverb in the production. It’s a fun song, but I personally wish 80's reverb would stay in the 80's. The guitar solo goes all out with drums, bass, and everything the band has. I imagine this is a fun song to mosh to at concerts. They throw their slow song in early (slow for the first minute, anyway). “In the Dark” features a softer side of the vocals, which sounds decent, until the song picks up speed and the falsetto turns up to 11. Honestly, when he sings normally, it sounds nice. This sounds like it doesn’t know if it wants to be singing or screeching. Otherwise, it’s a beautifully orchestrated song.

Living Fast” sounds like a classic Priest song; “Hellbent for Leather” came to mind. I like that the falsetto appears less (at first), and the vocalist can sound like a classic NWOBHM singer. It’s one generic song that shows them comparatively to the bands they’re trying to emulate; since the rest of the songs have originality, I let this one pass. “The Hunter” begins with a strange falsetto-cry before going into another, and then into fast-paced riffs. I thought that was a weird choice. It’s a harbinger of things to come, as we get yet another falsetto-heavy song. However, when the vocals go low, they are epic. I also enjoyed the tempo change before the instrumental break, which revs up from a slow melody to some epic, hard sounds.

Really nice sweeps in the intro of “Steel Rider”. However, the motif the singer has of going falsetto at the end of the first and sometimes third line of the first verse is a little tiresome at this point. The instrumental break is also hard-hitting and at least gives you a reprieve from the screech-singing. “329” starts off as an upbeat but steady song. Bonus: the singer stays in his normal range for the first verse. Other than that, it’s not much different from the rest of the songs on the album: fast licks, reverberated production, all engineered to be a callback to the 80's. However, in this song, the singer channels a little of Bruce Dickinson of IRON MAIDEN fame; it isn’t overdone and makes the song stand out a little from the rest.

The ambiance at the beginning of the closing track calls back to 80's slasher films. “Halloween at Midnight” captures some good, classic holiday vibes, but ultimately doesn’t stand out in any way that’s overly Halloween (besides the opening). It has the same thrashing instrumentals and plenty of falsetto. Overall, if you’re looking for a hard, fast nostalgic band that is to KING DIAMOND what LED ZEPPELIN is to GRETA VAN FLEET, you’ve found your band. Otherwise, it’s got some fast guitars, decent instrumentals and wonderful solos, hit-or-miss vocals, and a largely similar track list that’s solid, but if you’re not into the 80's, you’ll wish they took their music back.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Warrior of Time
2. Burn the Night
3. In the Dark
4. Livin' Fast
5. The Hunter
6. Steel Rider
7. 329
8. Halloween at Midnight
Lineup:
Cale Savy – Guitars & Vocals
Roldan Reimer – Guitars
Dustin Smith – Bass
Chad Vallier – Drums
Record Label: No Remorse Records
     


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Edited 19 June 2019
 

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