Riot City – Electric Elite Review

If you’re going to put a jaguar with cybernetic modifications and laser eyes on your album cover and frame it with lightning, you’re probably a fan of metallic excess and overkill. Welcome to the sophomore outing by Riot City, purveyors of a wild and highly over-the-top brand of retro 80s metal. Electric Elite sees them picking up where 2019s Burn the Night left off, burning everything in sight (night) with stratospheric vocals and frenzied old school riffage turned to 11.8. Comparisons to Agent Steel, Riot, and Helstar remain valid, but this is way more amped up and overcharged than any of those acts. This is classic metal excess for the sake of excess and fuck yous, and that’s exactly where I live and forge my swords ov trveness. I was sad to hear lead guitarist Cale Savy relinquished vocal duties after Burn the Night, as the man could wail like a stuck banshee full of helium and cheap tequila. Luckily, the band found Jordan Jacobs to take his place as resident nuclear rager, and with him living in beast mode it’s off to the pod races we go for another album full of 80s power metal and NwoBHM on mega-roids. Brace for impact and mass collisions. Too late, we’re impacting already.

Bands looking for the proper way to open a metal album should take note of “Eye of the Jaguar.”  This is like a primer on American power metal circa 1987 with an experimental NWoBHM graft that’s causing concern. It comes out the gate blasting like Thundersteel era Riot and never looks back, gathering momentum as it scorches the unworthy. Wild riffs and slicing harmonies pave the way and when Jordan Jacobs arrives, things get spicy. The man has the ultimate metal voice designed to shake the beams and oppress the masses. He’s like Cale Savy but perhaps a bit more unhinged and manic. His high-register wailing and screaming are pure fire and his actual singing is a win too. The guitars are frenetic and aggressive and it all works like an acid bomb. It’s a joy to be melted by tunes like this. “Beyond the Stars” is a Monster Energy, testosterone, and Taco Bell hot sauce colonic. It cleans you out and makes you stronger just by hearing it. “Tyrant” cools things down for a mighty mid-tempo march with epic leanings, opting for less but still plenty of MOAR and it has a weirdly addictive quality to it.

Some of the best moments arrive late. “Return of the Force” is a joyous merger of NWoBHM-style riffage jacked up to Agent Steel levels and approaching Strapping Young Lad territory. You can’t hear this and not feel your blood getting riled up and throwing elbows at capillaries and platelets. Is it good for you? I’m not a doctor, but yes. “Lucky Diamond” is another arsonist of a number, damning the torpedos and flying into the mouth of metal madness led by Jacobs’ wild warmongering. Straight to the lifting playlist this goes. While there are no weak cuts, there are some occasional run-ins with bloat. “Ghost of Reality” is a really good song full of hooks and razor-sharp riffing, but it runs about 2 minutes too long. Closer “Severed Ties” is also quite good and entertaining, but its almost 10-minute runtime seems excessive even by the excess-savoring standards set by the rest of the album. It could lose 3-4 minutes, but I’m hard-pressed to complain much since it’s still so much fun even in its Rubenesque shape. Electric Elite’s 45-minute length is just about ideal and the album rips by in the flash of a blade. You will feel satiated and embiggened by the mercury in your arteries. Again, good for you.

Cale Savy and Roldan Reimer once again assemble a plethora of wart-removing riffs, harmonies and killer solos that will take years off your life in the good way. There’s a raw, rowdy energy in their playing that harnesses the exuberance of Euro-power without ever allowing its sugary pomp and frilly shirts to enter the Hall. This is macho power for macho folks and horses and it comes across like “Painkiller” on whatever drug Archspire ingests. Jordan Jacobs earns his supper and about a year’s worth of brewskis with a dazzlingly wild vocal performance sure to impress. He can sing, snarl, scream, and scream higher and does all these things early and often. If you want restraint and moderation, this is not your frontman, but damn if he doesn’t sell these metal cookies like it’s a major reefer convention and no other food trucks showed up. What a find this guy is!

Electric Elite is a noble and worthy follow-up to Burn the Night and Riot City is not diminished by Cale Savy’s focus on guitar. Doom_et_Al will say it’s old person metal with falsettos, but he’s an absolute ass clown and should be disregarded entirely. If you need an old school ass kicking, Riot City have a big boot with your name on the steel toe. Bend over and brace for the rear admiral.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: No Remorse
Websites: riotcityofficial.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/riotcityofficial
Releases Worldwide: October 14th, 2022

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