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Riot V – Live in Japan 2018 Award winner

Riot V
Live in Japan 2018
by John Paul Romero at 20 August 2019, 10:05 PM

Despite RIOT V’s solid portfolio and tremendous legacy, they ironically remain as one of the less appreciated and most underrated bands from the US. In fact, their debut album “Rock City” back in 1979 gained more appreciation in UK than their hometown (it can be recalled that in that time, NWOBHM rules everything). With their sound formula which features classic Heavy Metal and vintage Power Metal, they extended their popularity to Japan, which obviously is a strong power metal territory. In that same place, they celebrated their 43rd year in the scene and gave the fans a really epic treat that they will cherish forever. And what makes it better is that they can go back to that night of their life by listening to its live recording which they called simply “Live in Japan 2018”.

As a Power Metal fan myself, I am so fucking jealous that I wasn’t there that night. Based on the audio recording, it was an epic and bombastic show. They played a total of 23 songs – and those songs are their 23 greatest anthems. It includes the classics “Metal Soldiers”, “Metal Warrior”, “Thundersteel”, “Sign of the Crimson Storm”, and of course, the all-time favorite “Warrior”. Right form the opening moments, it was all-out assault. You can feel the excitement of the crowd growing – and the moment you hear Todd’s very unreal voice, it’s very difficult not to get carried away. I love how the band was filled with so much adrenaline from the beginning until the end, and how the audience responded accordingly with a crazy energy of their own – singing along to choruses and sometimes simply screaming their lungs out in awe. That level of interaction between the band and the crowd is what really makes this recording really fun. You might call me crazy, but for me, live audios are best when listened to with your eyes closed. You’ll feel the ambience of the venue and create an image of the stage performance in your head. Of course, that comes with a perfect production. In this case, it’s exactly like that – perfect. There is perfect balance within the levels of the instruments, and I loved how Don’s bass ablaze like the guitars. His performance really reminded me of Steve Harris. Another great contributor to the epicenes of the performance was their axemen Mike and Nick hitting every note with such flash and great accuracy. Frank’s drumming is simply amazing – the one you’ll pick as an archetype of a thunderous live performance. And of course, the brightest light of them all is undeniably Todd. He is one hell of a singer, and he exhibited his entire repertoire in this show. He hits those insane high notes with relative ease – which really reminds me of King Diamond and Rob Halford.

Although the recording is just ten minutes less than two hours, you will never really feel tired listening to every song on the setlist. Instead, you might find yourself headbanging non-stop, with your fist in the air. And like I mentioned, it’s all music and really miniscule banter. And talking about the sound quality – shit, it’s just too outstanding. Remember folks, it was recorded in Japan – so what else shall we expect? The journey will conclude in a very big way with their all-time fan favorite “Warrior”. There is not a moment in the song where the crowd went silent – which is so rewarding if you are the band.

What else can I say about this record? It was a memorable performance, the crowd was amazing, and the sound quality is outstanding. Simply epic!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Armor of Light
2. Ride Hard Live Free
3. On Your Knees
4. Metal Soldiers
5. Fall From The Sky
6. Wings Are For Angels
7. Land of the Rising Sun
8. Take Me Back
9. Messiah
10. Angle Eyes
11. Metal Warrior
12. Thundersteel
13. Fight or Fall
14. Sign of the Crimson Storm
15. Fight of The Warrior
16. On Wings of Eagles
17. Johnny’s Back
18. Bloodstreets
19. Run For Your Life
20. Buried Alive
21. Road Racin’
22. Swords and Tequila
23. Warrior
Todd Michael Hall – Vocals
Don van Stavern – Bass
Mike Flyntz – Guitars
Nick Lee – Guitars
Frank Gilchriest – Drums
Record Label: AFM Records


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