Casper chats with guitarist Mike Flyntz of RIOT V about their new release through Nuclear Blast Records ‘Armor Of Light’ on 27TH April.
They are a name legendary and synonymous with Traditional Heavy Metal. The story started more than 40 years ago in Brooklyn, New York City, USA. Back then, several musicians came together under the banner of RIOT and despite a multitude of line-up changes and deaths the band is still firing strongly as RIOT V.
The story started more than 40 years ago in Brooklyn, New York City, USA. Back then, several musicians came together under the banner of RIOT – and they started to write metal history together as one of the first pioneers of US power metal. Despite several obstacles cropping up over the years caused by both voluntary, and sadly, forced line-up changes – the metal institution is still active today! After founding member Mark Reale passed away in 2012, in his honour the band added the Roman number V to their name. Now known as RIOT V, this amendment also heralded in the new, fifth era of the band’s history. New singer Todd Michael Hall (since 2013) is the fifth person occupying this revered post – and he’s integrated perfectly into the band since his very first assignment, their 2014 album “Unleash The Fire.” Today, he is not only responsible for the incredibly strong vocals but also for the majority of the lyrics writing. Musically, RIOT V have bestowed on us a small history lesson in their brand new studio album “Armor Of Light” tracing right back to their roots, and for fans of the legendary “Thundersteel” album from 1988 – their mouths will already be watering at the prospect! For the new record, the band has brought everything to the table that has distinguished RIOT since the very beginning, venerating their 1988 classic’s 30th anniversary on the highest level. Enthusiasts can expect aggressive songs, but perfectly formed in the enthralling melodies. “Armor Of Light” includes everything that we might expect from this band, explains main songwriter and bassist Don Van Stavern: “It’s a well-rounded Riot record; it’s got the burners, the groovers and some rockers! Loud, fast and aggressive with great melodies!” There is no doubt about that, considering the band’s influence on the scene at large. Only a short while ago RIOT were inducted into the Anaheim “Heavy Metal Hall of Fame”, honouring their influence on the scene and countless bands.
Chris “The Wizard” Collier (METAL CHURCH, FLOTSAM & JETSAM, SLIPKNOT and KORN etc.) produced RIOT V’s new masterpiece – and has achieved in developing the band’s perfect sound, an ideal fusion. Thus, not only the songs, but also the entire sonic characteristics of the record have a very unique touch to them. Mariusz Gandzel (CRYSTAL VIPER) fabricated the stylistically flawless artwork.
For fans, the 16th studio album has another highlight; there will be a re-recorded version of song “Thundersteel” as a bonus track on “Armor Of Light”, just in time for the album of the same names’ 30th anniversary. Don comments: “This song is very important to me because it’s one of the very first songs that myself and founding member Mark Reale wrote. We actually wrote this in Mark’s side project called Narita before we brought it to the Riot camp. The album was one of the biggest selling records for Riot up there with Fire Down Under, and it was also my entrance into Riot. I am very proud of writing this song and was a little apprehensive of trying to recreate the magic because a lot of bands try this and fail, but one thing’s for sure, the mighty Riot V has delivered! As we all know nothing can compare with the original but in my opinion as the original songwriter, this is one hell of a version I’m very honored and proud of, and I’m sure Mark from the heavens above is as well. I altered a couple parts to flavour it up a bit but it’s still fast and furious! I am very proud of these guys. This fifth chapter and power metal version of Riot that I originally brought to the table in the 80’s is what we’re trying to convey nowadays. With a label like Nuclear Blast and this sound, we will definitely gain a new younger audience and Riot will now rise above and get the recognition it really deserves! Hell, at some meet and greets some kids think Unleash The Fire was our first record! Haha.“