Thundersteel

Riot V – Armor of Light Review

Riot V – Armor of Light Review

Riot (V) is one of America’s oldest, most enduring metal bands and the pride of New York City. From their launch way back in the late 1970s through countless lineup changes and setbacks, they’ve pushed forward with typical New Yorker stubbornness. In a way they’re the American Saxon, forever rocking onward though greater recognition and fame perpetually eludes them.” Is it time to Riot? Yes, yes it is.

Vescera – Beyond the Fight Review

Vescera – Beyond the Fight Review

“As a kid growing up in the 80s, one of my favorite metal bands was Connecticut’s own Obsession. After getting featured on Metal Massacre II way back in 82 they went on to release a killer EP and two very impressive albums of heavy but melodic metal merging speed with an almost hair metal approach loaded with hooks. A big part of Obsession‘s charm came from the powerhouse, leather-lunged delivery of Michael Vescera. After Obsession folded up shop in 88, he became a kind of metal Ronin, wandering the Earth selling his talents to the likes of Loudness and Yngwie Malmsteen, even putting in a regrettable stint in Animetal USA, as well as fronting several super groups (MVP, The Reign of Terror) and his own eponymous act (Michael Vescera).” Ride on, Metal Gypsy.

Riot V – Unleash the Fire Review

Riot V – Unleash the Fire Review

Riot is a legendary name in the New York metal scene with a career spanning almost 40 years. They’ve released genre classics like Narita, Fire Down Under and their crowning moment, 1988s Thundersteel. I’ve banged on about how great that album is since joining AMG and to this day it remains one of my all time favorites. The Thundersteel lineup reunited in 2011 for the brilliant Immortal Soul, which earned a very rare 5.0/5.0 from yours truly and it seemed the world was about to witness a major Riot renaissance. Then tragedy struck and founder and guitarist supreme Mark Reale passed away, leaving Riot in limbo.” The New York titans have been resurrected along with their seal faced mascot. But will it earn Steel Druhm’s Seal of Approval?

Hibria – Silent Revenge Review

Hibria – Silent Revenge Review

“There are a lot of good bands down there in South America and they always seem to pop up out of nowhere and surprise you. Brazil’s Hibria did just that with their 2004 Defying the Rules debut, which rocked a type of heavy power metal quite similar to Riot‘s Thundersteel mixed with classic Euro-power like old Helloween. It was surprisingly mature and polished for a debut and had a number of great songs that earned permanent playlist rotation. Their Skull Collectors follow-up was solid enough, but I didn’t think much of the Blind Ride platter released in 2011. I feared they were in the classic Dimishing Returns Death Spiral and hoped they could find a way back to the glory of that awesome debut.” Nothing is worse than a promising band caught in a creative death spiral! Can Hibria avoid disaster and guide the ship back to the promised land of power metal? Steel Druhm is on scene and it was clearly the wrong week for him to quit sniffing glue.

Alpha Tiger – Beneath the Surface Review

Alpha Tiger – Beneath the Surface Review

“Move your skinny asses over, Enforcer, there’s a new sheriff in Retro City and the name is really shitty. I know a pussy cat name like Alpha Tiger won’t inspire much faith amongst the angry metal masses, but trust me, the music more than makes up for the cheese-tastic moniker (which belongs on a third-rate Japanese video game where you brawl through a zoo and up the food chain). This is unapologetically old school, traditional metal taking its cues from early 80s American acts like Agent Steel, Armored Saint, John Arch era-Fates Warning, Sacred Oath and Crimson Glory.” Yes, Steel Druhm is delivering MORE retro metal for your consideration!! Deal with it. ROAR!

Seven Kingdoms – The Fire is Mine Review

Seven Kingdoms – The Fire is Mine Review

Through hellstorms, hail and snow, Steel Druhm keeps delivering the power metal like a creepy, metal-obsessed mailman in full battle armor. Today’s package includes the classic power stylings from Seven Kingdoms. If you like the super catchy Hammerfall and Gamma Ray sound, this will blow your mind as it did Mr. Steel’s. It seems there’s no end to the power metal destruction he plans to unleash on these here pages in the coming weeks, so batten down the hatches and prepare accordingly.

Riot Founder/Guitarist Mark Reale Passes Away

Riot Founder/Guitarist Mark Reale Passes Away

It comes as exceptionally sad news that Mark Reale, founder/guitarist of New York metal legends Riot, passed away last night after being stricken by severe complications related to Crohn’s Disease. Riot was an enormously influential band and their Thundersteel album was, IMO, one of the best pure metal albums ever released. Riot had just reformed that classic Thundersteel line up and […]

Riot – Immortal Soul Review

Riot – Immortal Soul Review

Steel Druhm is as happy as a pig in shite! You see, one of my all time favorite metal albums is Riot’s Thundersteel. Although it was released way back in 1988, I still listen to it regularly and felt the burning need to write a Retro-spective Review of it a few months ago to spread the gospel. So masterful was that platter, Riot never even came close to equaling it with their later output. In fact, the immortal Thundersteel lineup only recorded one more album together (the very good Privilege of Power) and after that, things dropped off a lot. Now, twenty-three long years later, that powerhouse lineup has reunited to record a proper followup to their magnum opus. Naturally, I was skeptical they could re-bottle the might and magic and create something as brilliant, especially after so many years. Well, I was wrong to doubt, because Immortal Soul is the modern day version of Thundersteel and the best album of 2011 (so far). It has everything that made the Thundersteel sound so intoxicating. There’s speed, power, wailing vocals, blistering guitars, top-flight song writing, amazingly catchy melodies, choruses and smart lyrics. It’s a winner every way an album can be and its the record I’ve been praying for Riot to write since ’88. If you love the classic, traditional sounds of Judas Priest (think Painkiller), Iron Maiden and especially American acts like Jag Panzer and old Agent Steel, this will blow you away. If you, like me, loved Thundersteel, prepare to be stunned, stupefied and shellacked.

Retro-spective Review: Riot – Thundersteel

Retro-spective Review: Riot – Thundersteel

Unlike the other bands featured in these Retro-spective reviews, New York’s own Riot is a seminal, long running and well known act. Slogging away since 1977, they released classic albums like Rock City and Fire Down Under. So why are they included here you ask? Well, one of their albums seems to have been lost in time and forgotten even though I regard it as their best by far. That album is, or course 1988’s Thundersteel. This release marked a stark departure in sound for Riot. Forgoing their more traditional, slower 70’s roots, Thundersteel was all about intense Painkiller-like aggression, soaring vocals and speed speed and more speed. Maybe it was the arrival of vocalist extraordinaire Tony Moore or just something in the NYC water that year but this album is one non-stop explosion of blistering guitar, air raid vocals, superb writing and unreal energy. It was a sound and urgency they never recaptured despite very strong moments on their 1990 follow up The Privilege of Power. Since this album is a true buried treasure of speed/power, I felt it was job, nay, my DUTY to bring it back out of the shadows in 2011. Commence the learning!