"Armor of Light"

By Colonel Angus

It has been almost four years since Riot V released any new material.  2014’s "Unleash the Fire" was their first without founding member Mark Reale who sadly passed away more than six years ago.  Since they received the blessing to continue from the Reale family, they are continuing with the Riot vision; just under the moniker of Riot V.  Those of you who purchased "Unleash the Fire", you are going to get pretty much more of the same.  The same lineup has returned here to produce another slab of power metal that does the Riot legacy proud.  Todd Michael Hall puts in another powerful performance throughout and while he doesn’t necessarily have the most unique voice, his vocals are flawless on this new release.  Both Mike Flyntz and Nick Lee come up with some great catchy riffs to lay on top of Don Van Stavern’s and Frank Gilchriest’s rhythms but, to me, Hall is the star of this record.

As I mentioned earlier, "Armor of Light" is a real power metal album that only lets up on a few tracks.  Oddly, those tracks really stand out as they have an old-school Riot feel to them.  “Set the World Alight”, “Caught in the Witches Eye”, and “Ready to Shine” would fit on one of the older Riot releases (pre-Thundersteel). Elsewhere, “Angel’s Thunder, Devil’s Reign” has a nice groove and “Burn the Daylight” has a very “Man on the Silver Mountain” guitar intro that ushers in a mid-paced metal track.  While the whole record is good, those are the tunes that really stand out.  Most of the disk consists of fast power metal but when they slow things down just a little and let the songs breath, that is where the true magic happens.  I realize Riot V is a different animal than Riot (hell, even Riot had a few different eras), I prefer when the band mix parts of the old and new together which they do on a number of cuts that I mentioned earlier.  That aside, I still think that "Armor of Light" is worthy of the Riot legacy and fans who have followed them won’t be disappointed with this release.