Faith And Fire
5/28/2008 - Review by: Eric Compton
I'm not sure what is going on with the members of Riot these days. At one time New York's premier heavy metal band tore it up worldwide with CLASSIC albums like "Fire Down Under" and "Restless Breed". Who can ever forget sensations like "Swords & Tequila", "Wings Of Fire", and "Running From The Law", staples from Riot's glorious past, the perfect exhibit of US true-as-steel heavy metal? Surely the band has had some misgivings and failed attempts to recapture their metal spotlight, but for the life of me I simply can't figure out what is happening with the band these days.
First, we have Riot's on again off again vocalist Mike DiMeo leaving the group to tour with his classic rock (otherwise known as The Who) outfit The Lizards. Second, DiMeo then joins the power metal disguised AOR group Masterplan, which released a terrible follow-up this year to the stellar "Aeronautics" release. Then Riot manages to release a sub-par effort with "Army Of One", a mix of classic Riot, Whitesnake, and southern rock. Confused? It gets better.
One time Riot screamer Tony Moore, who absolutely prevailed on the band's speed-fest "Thundersteel" (one of the best Riot releases to date), has teamed up with current Riot member Mike Flyntz. Guitarist Flyntz is an astounding player who together with Mark Reale laid down some wicked riffs on the band's "Nightbreaker" record. Since then it has all been rather watered down for Riot, but nonetheless the talent is still there. With Moore and Flyntz teaming up with Queen/Paul Rodgers bassist Danny Miranda and Meat Loaf drummer Jon Miceli the end result is the band Faith And Fire.
Perhaps I went into this with the notion that "Accelerator" would be a smokin' classic metal debut for the band, a glorious return to glory for both Moore and Flyntz, who at this point in their career really need a comeback. Instead what we have here is simply another Riot side-project that isn't metal. Just like Masterplan and The Lizards, Faith And Fire are tooling around with the likes of classic rock, using soft bluesy guitar riffs and combining it with Moore's more soulful soft voice. "Thundersteel"...most definitely not. Instead tracks like "Ready" and "Radio Superstar" hint around a more metallic approach, leaning heavily on Flyntz off-kilter guitar strides while Moore simply chimes in with a middle of the road performance. Try on the almost R&B sounds of "Breathe" or the dreadful 70s rock sounds of "Villanelle".
I am trying here folks, I really am. I'm open to just about anything related to Riot, but Faith And Fire is simply dreadful. Today's modern metal scene is made up of young upstarts who are in vogue with the classic sounds of Maiden, Priest, and Metallica, combining youthful energy and purpose with the mighty production values needed to keep CDs in players for the long haul. A band like Faith And Fire is a novelty piece that could accompany that Riot or classic rock enthusiast who must own everything. I'll pass and hope that Riot and its members both past and present can come to grips with reality.
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