A couple of months ago High Roller Records released Riot’s ‘Archives Volume 1’ covering the very early years and now this second part comes to continue this rich and interesting pack of compilation discs that will represent in the end the whole 40+ year career of Riot.
I don’t think we have to say more about how important was Riot for Heavy Metal, as it is one of the bands that actually formed the Heavy Metal sound. To be more precise it was the bridge that united the late 70’s era and the proto metal of Blue Öyster Cult and co with the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement across the Atlantic Ocean and early 1980s bands from U.S. that were trying to play faster and faster. But before the journey in England and the “Monsters Of Rock” festival in Castle Donington (on August 16th 1980) we have to go back to 1979…
Even though the tracks on “Narita” were already written from Reale and Riot’s first guitarist Lou Kouvaris still the credits went to the duet Rick Ventura/Mark Reale. Still the truth is that the once neibourgh of Reale (Ventura lived a couple of blocks near Reale) was contributed only to ‘Waiting For The Taking’. And only later on 1981’s glorious “Fire Down Under” he contributed in to more songs, yet it was Guy Speranza, the man with the blessed voice, that wrote most of the songs with Reale. Now both dead (Guy Speranza died on November 8th 2003 and main man Mark Reale, guitarist and their main songwriter, passed away on January 25th 2012), they may watch their legacy from Heaven. They even play on Big Heaven’s Band a couple of songs from this period of Riot. Ventura wrote many songs for “Fire Down Under”, but only 3 were on the album. “One Step Closer” for example (to be found on “Riot Archives Vol.1”) is one of them, and on “Archives Volume 2: 1982-1983” there is a song called “Hot Life”, which did not make it onto any Riot album, and according to Rick Ventura it has been written by Mark Reale.
Suddenly after the “Fire Down Under” album, metal universe was shocked as Guy Speranza left Riot. The new music approaching was a choice that was naturally made, as the new singer Rhett Forrester had a blues side and a different attitude with more melodic voice. “Restless Breed” from 1982 was followed by “Born In America” in 1983. The band had many issues with their management all of these years, they were full of frustration and from a point and after there was no fun at all. No big label wanted them and above all nothing was the same for the band that brought Heavy Metal to the 80’s… “Archives Volume 2: 1982-1983” contains the original auditions for Rhett Forrester, with him singing “Hard Lovin’ Man” and “Vigilante Killer” , an extraordinary 8-minute version of “Loved By You”, plus a gem entitled “You Better Run” , that is another obscure song from the Riot archives.