Riot - Fire Down Under

Riot - Fire Down Under

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\r\nWith "Narita", Riot obtained fans through the whole world, especially in Great Britain and Japan. One characteristic of their great popularity and resonance was the fact that they appeared in the first Monsters of Rock in 1980 along with "sacred monsters" of that period like Rainbow, Scorpions and Judas Priest, having released only 2 albums!!! This live performance, as well some songs from their live in the legendary Hammersmith Odeon from the UK Tour of the group, was taped and released in 1983 under the title "Riot Live", an excellent live album, to which I will refer in details another time. I like to add that before their performance in Monsters Of Rock, Reale replaced Peter Bitelli and Jimmy Iommi with Sandy Slavin and Kip Leming in drums and bass respectively, creating the classic line up of Riot. \r\n

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\r\n With their return in New York, they begin the record of their third album. It is then, where the problems begin. Capitol wants Riot to have more light style, in order to promote them in America. On the contrary, Riot want to be even more heavy and faster and they have already songs to this direction. Capitol refuses to release the album and things stay “in the fridge” for about one year, until Elektra appears. Elektra cooperates with Capitol, which has already lost the game, and in 9 February 1981, one of the more classic heavy metal albums of all times is in the shelves of the stores, the album "Fire Down Under". \r\n

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\r\nFor me this album is the definition of the old, good, pure Heavy Metal, without the familiar admixtures which have followed. It gives the stigma of another era. An era, in which there was no need for orchestras, soprano etc for someone to convince that he/she was a music genius. It is enough to have a soul and to be authentic. When you put on an album, you hear exactly this. Simple songs, played by musicians with talent, soul and love for their music. These are Riot and this is "Fire Down Fire". \r\n

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\r\n The opening song of the album “Swords And Tequila” (amazing combination!!!), one of the most classic songs of Riot, is characteristic of the style of the album. Heavy riff’s, fast solo’s, song that stays in your mind and you always sing. With the following fast “Fire Down Under” you start head banging. The melodic, excellent “Feel The Same” is perhaps the best song of the album (isn’t it Kostas?). The amazing refrain and the incredible solo’s combine a really great song. Another one great song follows, the classic “Outlaw”, with heavy guitars and refrain that you cannot forget easily. With the fast “Don’t Bring Me Down” you begin again the head banging (why you should stop doing that?) and you continue with the heavy, pure “Power Don’t Hold Back”, which could be found in the album “Warning Of Danger” of Omen, which was released 4 whole years later!! Riot prove again that they were ahead of their era. In the same album could find also the next song, which for me is the best of the album. The epic power metal masterpiece “Altar Of The King” is really an amazing song which begins with an excellent melodic intro and continues with amazing riff’s, a great solo, with Guy Speranza his best performance. He is indeed a great singer. The song “No Lies” which follows is very good, while the closing song, style Iron Maiden, the “Run For Your Life” is also heavy and amazing. By closing song I mean that “Flashbacks” consists only from songs from live performances of Riot and it is a “thanks” to all the fans of Riot, who supported them in the hard period before the release of their album. \r\n

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\r\nI’m sure that no one has ever regretted about this. The "Fire Down Fire" repaid them in the best way. It’s one of the best and more classic heavy metal albums, which Riot ever released and today it is thought to be the ancestor of the american - and not only - power, speed or whatever metal. It’s is really a great album from a great group. \r\n

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\r\nThe album sold millions of copies and succeeded in getting in the Top 100 of Billboard, something extremely difficult for a heavy metal album of that era. Even today, it’s the album of Riot, which has sold more throughout the world. And bear in mind that some guys in Capitol didn’t want to release it, because they though that the album wasn’t meant to sell enough!! This is a sign of how one encountered the metal music that period. \r\n

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\r\nTheir great success, however, didn’t last for a long. Some months later Guy Speranza announces his decision to abandon the group and music in general, as he wanted to devote exclusively to his family. This was a great shock for Riot and heavy metal too, as they both lost very early an excellent front man. So early came the life of Speranza to an end, as he died in 8th November 2003 in Orlando – Florida, suffering from pagreas cancer at the age of 47. \r\n

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\r\nRIOT and their fan have never forgotten him. If you enter their official website, you will find a separate unit dedicated to him and you will read words of adoration from the fans to Speranza. You can also read a letter of one of his two daughters, Danielle, explaining why her father has left music so early and suddenly. Even if he participated in only 3 albums, the talented singer has left behind a big heritage, his compositions and his amazing, pure voice, which will remain unvaried through the time. Guy Speranza belongs where it deserves him; in the Pantheon of the Big Ones. \r\n

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\r\nGuy Speranza \r\n

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\r\n" Shine On Warrior..." \r\n

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\r\nMark Reale found his supplanter: the young and particularly talented Rhett Forrester and in 1983 they released the album "Restless Breed", a very good album, but not to the very high standards of "Narita" and "Fire Down Under". Forrester, even if he is a very good singer, he doesn’t manage to fill the emptiness, which Guy Speranza left, not only in vocals, but also in the domain of composition. Moreover, his temperamental character always causes problems in the group. Furthermore, due to some administartive changes which took place in Elektra, Riot don’t have a discography company anymore. The "Riot Live" was the last album which was released by this company some months later. \r\n

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\r\nIn 1984 they released the album "Born In America" by the small independent company Quality Records, which was all financed from their friend and constant producer Steve Loeb. It was simply a good album of classic Heavy Metal style, but it lacked fantasy and inspiration. It is obvious that the momentum has been lost for Riot and that Mark Reale decides to break off the group. \r\n

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\r\nThe only ones who was active discographically after their break off was Rhett Forrester, who released 2 personal albums and he participated in various projects. His carrer, however, and his life came to an end very soon. In 22 January of 1994 in Atlanta, Rhett Forrester was shot from thives in his car and he died after few minutes. He was only 37 years old. \r\n

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\r\nThe first period of Riot ended inglorious. Their history, however, doesn’t end here. The great Mark Reale hadn’t said his last word. To be continued... \r\n

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\r\nAntonis Alexandropoulos \r\n

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\r\nTranslation in English: Aliki Maxoutoglou \r\n

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