Good day all,
It is hard to explain what the perfect metal album is or would be and if it has ever been produced. Due to the overwhelming amount of genres in heavy metal, how someone could quantify what is a great metal album leaves one’s head spinning. I am not going to be the person who tries to decide what the perfect and or great metal album is, but I am going to tell you about Riot, Mark Reale, and what could be one of the best heavy metal albums ever recorded inImmortal Soul.
The story of this album as well as the life of Mark Reale is both triumph and tragedy, it is literally a story that Hollywood movies are made from. The band started in about 1975 by Mark Reale and started off as a “traditional” heavy metal band. They were an extremely talented group with sharp songwriting skills and a vibrant and exciting live show, but they could never really make it big. If you were to go back and look at some of the early work done by Riot I think you would be impressed with the ability of the band and the musicians who created the sound of the band. These were not some slouchers from the glam world who only knew three chords, but looked good with lipstick on, these guys were balls to the wall metal musicians with a big sound and creativity to write memorable metal songs.
The band went through many musicians and many transformations throughout the years. The band is split between the pre-Thundersteel line up and the post-Thundersteel line-up, the latter of which was back together for the newest release. People put this version of Riot in the “power metal” genre of heavy metal and I for one find that unfair except to say that yes there is “Power” to their music, but it is old school, grab you by the throat heavy metal. If you listen to the sound of this band from the first album “Rock City” to the most current release not much changes in the sound of the band. That is because Mark Reale was able to keep the sound and flavor of what he saw in the band. I have talked before about a band changing singers and not being able to sound the same, well this is a band that contradicts that theory and they were able to do it because of what Mark Reale envisioned and stuck with for over 30 years.
The albumImmortal Soul is so far superior to what is out today in heavy metal that it is almost laughable, if you don’t believe me, read any review of the album and you will see I am not the only one saying this. It is a non-stop bullet train of music. This album is so good I almost cannot think of any other adjectives to throw its way for description. Mark Reale has finally found the sound and songs that Riot has been trying to produce for over 30 years. Every song on this album is a great song, if life were fair every one of the songs on this album could be a single and being played on radio stations today (that would be if radio stations still played good music). Of course some of you may know that the bittersweet ending to this story is that Mark Reale passed away this past January at the age of 57 due to complications from Chron’s Disease. He had finally been able to produce the great metal album and fate sticks her ugly hand in the way. I am not even sure he knew how great the reviews for this album were. Maybe it would be better that way, dying without the knowledge that he had finally achieved what had taken 30 plus years to achieve and he wouldn’t even be able to soak in the glory.
The band has continued to tour without Mark, and I think that is an appropriate choice at this time. They will not sound the same if you see them live without Mark’s guitar work, he was the sound of the band and was also a phenomenal guitar player. If I can make a comparison, it would be like listening to Queen without that signature Brian May guitar sound. You just can’t seem to imagine it not there. I personally hope from a fan perspective that Riot will be no longer now that Mark is gone. It was his band, his sound and his vision that made this band what they are and where and without that it seems silly to try to continue.
My suggestion is to go out and by Riot’s Immortal Soul as well as anything or everything in their recording catalogue. Mark Reale created some of the best heavy metal you will ever hear and you will not be disappointed with the purchase(s). His ability to craft a song and his guitar work should be and probably should have been more recognized long before this album and surely while he was alive, but I guess sometimes that is just how it happens. But it really shows how short life is and how we have to bask in our glories while we can.
Song of the Day (as if you have to ask): http://youtu.be/Z-hFmtzToak
Until Later, Peace