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Riot - "Immortal Soul" (CD)

Riot - "Immortal Soul" CD cover image

"Immortal Soul" track listing:

1. Riot (5:03)
2. Still Your Man (4:16)
3. Crawling (5:52)
4. Wings Are for Angels (5:09)
5. Fall Before Me (4:55)
6. Sins of the Father (3:55)
7. Majestica (0:57)
8. Immortal Soul (4:46)
9. Insanity (4:40)
10. Whiskey Man (4:15)
11. Believe (4:17 )
12. Echoes (4:57)

Reviewed by on November 3, 2011

"With 'Immortal Soul,' Riot has not only managed to accomplish the creation of the best Riot album, but one of the greatest pure metal albums of all time."

Perseverance is the best way to describe Riot's career. Through all the ups and downs, the band managed to stick around since 1977, no small feat. The band went through different phases, but was never able to hit the big time in rock, hard rock, or metal. The reunion of the circa 1990 "Privilege Of Power" lineup (the band's finest moment) has been in the works for a long while now and, at times, fell through. Well, the time is here and good things come to those who wait. With "Immortal Soul," Riot has not only managed to accomplish the creation of the best Riot album, but one of the greatest pure metal albums of all time. A bold statement? Indeed. However, brandish any album you wish, but prepare to be slaughtered at the mere sight of this true metal masterpiece.

After five long years since "Army of One" and a thirty four year career, "Immortal Soul" is the Riot album that is finally worthy of being spoken in the same breath as Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast," Judas Priest's "Screaming For Vengeance," and Metallica's "Master Of Puppets." Armed with the knowledge that opinions are like farts (everyone can have them, but they never amount to crap), you can take it from this learned metalhead of 25+ years: "Immortal Soul" is that important. And oh yes, it is that good. At last, the band should get the recognition it so richly deserves and ascend the ranks of U.S. metal.

Tony Moore sounds as absolutely stunning and ageless as he did from 1988's "Thundersteel." Mark Reale has once again proved without a doubt that he is one of the best guitar players to have ever graced the metal scene. The Rudy Sarzo of drummers, Bobby Jarzombek, is one of the finest drummers out there. He is having quite a year to boot, having played on two masterpieces in one year, Riot and earlier on Arch/Matheos.

"Immortal Soul" picks right up where "Privilege of Power" left off with the speed demon "Riot," harkening back to "Storming the Gates of Hell." As Tony Moore asks the very poignant question in the chorus "What's it gonna take to make you riot?," I already know what my answer will be! "Still Your Man" brings "Johnny back" taking it down a notch adding the dueling guitar of Reale/Flyntz that easily passes for Smith/Murray on any of the best Iron Maiden songs. Substitute Bruce Dickinson for Moore here, and would you be able to tell the difference? This is Maiden of old. "Nothing changes, nothing stays the same" - a perfect quote from the chorus.

"Wings Are for Angels" picks up the blistering pace of "Riot" and is a speed metal killer. "Fall Before Me" slows down with one of the most memorable crushing riffs, falling into a Judas Priest "Fever" pitch with Moore very reminiscent a lower range Halford (but he certainly can reach the rafters too as you have and soon will hear on this release).

The prize of this release is "Crawling," which is one of those traditional metal songs that come around once in the lifespan of most bands. With a riff reminiscent of "Sign Of The Crimson Storm," the song is magnificent and should quickly become just as defining. "Sins of the Father" whips up more speed ala "Thundersteel." The album has incredible balance with the speed/mid-pace/speed formula and it keeps the album fresh and interesting. True to formula, "Majestica" nicely introduces the title track "Immortal Soul," which is another mid-pace metal song with a slightly quirky twist to the melody and adds a fresh modern feel to what might be a predictable beat to some.

"Insanity" doubles the speed but to second gear in a catchy power metal tune with some hard rock elements thrown in to double the melody. "Whiskey Man" is a fun rocking tune with more twin guitar and a Reale solo that simply kills. "Believe" is another ultra catchy speedster that is not without some slower riffing and perfectly well placed pauses.

As the final track "Echoes" in my ears, the answer to the question demanded in opening track "Riot" rings clearer than from the first instant. However, the real question is "What's it gonna take to make Riot?" "Immortal Soul" is the resounding answer. Now pray to the metal gods that this lineup can manage to stick around for many more albums.

Highs: Absolutely stunning performance. Perfection.

Lows: Absolutely none.

Bottom line: As Tony Moore asks "what's it gonna take to make you Riot?" I say...perfection!

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)