Riot – Born in America [Remastered] (1999, Metal Blade Records)
Original Release: 1983, Quality Records
1. “Born in America” … 4:07
2. “You Burn in Me” … 3:40
3. “Wings of Fire” … 4:39
4. “Running From the Law” … 4:24
5. “Devil Woman” … 4:01
6. “Vigilante Killer” … 3:02
7. “Heavy Metal Machine” … 3:37
8. “Where Soldiers Rule” … 3:45
9. “Gunfighter” … 4:27
10. “Promised Land” … 3:55
Rhett Forrester – Vocals
Mark Reale – Guitar
Rick Ventura – Guitar
Kip Leming – Bass
Sandy Slavin – Drums
Producer: Steve Loeb with Rod Hui
There’s nothing at all wrong with Riot’s previous album, Restless Breed (in fact, it’s a very good release), but Born in America is more my speed. It’s another shift in sound as Riot gets back to playing METAL instead of Southern-fried hard rock and I’m all for it. Rhett Forrester is still around on vocals (though this would be his last album with the band), but this time he actually wails and screams like all heavy metal warrior should! Didn’t know you had it in you, Rhett!
By this point, the major labels were done with Riot and they found themselves on Quality Records, so yet again, we’ve got another great Riot album that went unnoticed (not that the majors ever helped the band in the first place). Riot sunk into inactivity after this release and it would be five years until Mark Reale (who is an underrated guitar player and song writer, IMO) staged a comeback with a brand new Riot line-up for the excellent Thundersteel. Despite the gap in time, in many ways Born in America is very close to the power metal the band would play on Thundersteel.
We get the usual awful Riot album art. There’s an alternate version featuring a close up of a girl’s torso while wearing a white t-shirt that says “RIOT” on it. That’s the version I thought I was getting when I ordered this album online because it was the picture shown. That cover is pretty bad also, looking like some indie hair band album cover.
On a sad note, in 1994 Rhett Forrester was a victim of a carjacking in Atlanta, Georgia and was fatally shot. I can think of no better way for his spirit to live on than through some of the great music he helped create.
Highlights: “Born in America”, “You Burn in Me”, “Devil Woman”, “Heavy Metal Machine”, “Where Soldiers Rule”, “Gunfighter”