Riot – The Privilege of Power [Remastered] (2003, Sony Music/Collectables Records)
Original Release: 1990, CBS Records
1. “On Your Knees” … 6:37
2. “Metal Soldiers” … 6:40
3. “Runaway” … 5:11
4. “Killer” … 4:53
5. “Dance of Death” … 7:17
6. “Storming the Gates of Hell” … 3:43
7. “Maryanne” … 4:55
8. “Little Miss Death” … 4:12
9. “Black Leather and Glittering Steel” … 7:07
10. “Racing with the Devil on a Spanish Highway” … 7:17
Tony Moore – Vocals
Mark Reale – Guitar
Don Van Stavern – Bass
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
Joe Lynn Turner – Vocals (“Killer”)
Producer: Steve Loeb, Mark Reale and Rod Hui
After frequent changes in style (NWOBHM, southern fried hard rock, heavy metal, power metal) over the span of four albums, Riot founder and guitarist Mark Reale finally settles in and keeps The Privilege of Power in the same realm as Thundersteel though it is a bit more melodic at times. Vocalist Tony Moore (my favorite singer Riot has had) really delivers all throughout the album.
The album is not without a few odd choices though. Virtually every song has the annoying habit of some audio clips and sound effects from news and movies and whatnot. It really disrupts the flow of the album when all I wanna do is hear the music. I suppose there was some statement behind all of this about society, government and the power of television and maybe if they did it for one or two songs, that’d be okay, but this is overkill.
It is a full FORTY-SIX SECONDS before the music starts playing on the first track and for a few more seconds after that, the sound is purposefully muffled. That’s inexcusable for a heavy metal album! If someone was so insistent on these weird intros, they should’ve just made them outros (or better yet, their own tracks) so that as soon as you hit play or skip tracks you get to hear MUSIC.
Another oddity is the use of horns throughout the album. Sometimes it works and sometimes it sounds out of place. But hey — if Aerosmith could do it, why not Riot ?
Getting on with what is good about this album is we still get plenty of speed and power metal moments that stand up to anything done on the excellent Thundersteel album. “Metal Soldiers” is a great anthem and “Black Leather and Glittering Steel” is a fantastic speed metal number where Tony gets to do what he does best. “Dance of Death” is a strong power metal number.
There are also a number of melodic moments (foreshadowing yet another change in direction for the band). “Maryanne” sounds like something out of the pop-metal scene crossed with Boston (the band, not the city) and the guitar work on “Little Miss Death” reminds me of Michael Schenker Group. “Killer” (accompanied by horns) features Joe Lynn Turner on vocals.
Horns and interludes aside, this is another great Riot release featuring a nice blend of heavy metal and melodic hard rock. Too bad it would be Moore’s last album with the band and he would not return to sing for the group until 2008 (then left again in 2009).
Highlights: “Metal Soldiers”, “Runaway”, “Dance of Death”, “Maryanne”, “Little Miss Death”, “Black Leather and Glittering Steel”