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Riot: A Criminally Underrated Metal Band!

Riot (not to be confused with the band Quiet Riot), is an American heavy metal band that was founded in New York City by guitarist Mark Reale in 1975, and is still active to this day. The band has gone through numerous lineup changes over the years with Mark Reale being the only constant until his death in 2012. On almost all of their album covers Riot featured their mascot, a baby seal named Tior. Riot reached their popularity peak in the 1980’s, which is when they released their two most iconic albums, 1981’s “Fire Down Under” and 1988’s “Thundersteel”. “Fire Down Under” features many fantastic songs including “Swords and Tequila”, my all time favorite Riot song!

Riot started out as a straightforward heavy metal band, but with the album release of “Thundersteel” in 1988, Riot changed to a more power metal style. “Thundersteel” has been cited by vocalist Joacim Cans of the iconic Swedish power metal band HammerFall as being a very influential record for the power metal genre of heavy metal music.

Despite their longevity now over more than decades, Riot is one of the most criminally underrated metal bands ever, and has never gotten the notoriety they deserved when you consider the many great songs and albums they have produced in their history. While Riot was ahead of their time, making influential metal albums in the 1970’s, they were not rewarded for their pioneering efforts.

Riot’s fascinating history can be seen on two documentaries about the band on YouTube, and are highly recommended. These documentaries feature extensive interviews with many past and present band members, long time Riot producer Steve Loeb, music author Martin Popoff and other musicians.

The Metal School Channel on YouTube has a 30 minute documentary about Riot that gives a very good look at the band’s history. This program can be found at:

The Metal Voice Channel on YouTube features a super comprehensive and superb three part documentary about Riot and its history. This program’s three parts run for about a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes, and I found it to be interesting and entertaining. The three parts of this documentary can be found at:

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