Swords & Tequila: Riot's Classic First Decade by Martin Popoff
Rock City, Narita, Fire Down Under, Restless Breed, Born in America... These are the pioneering, superlative heavy metal records that represent the classic first decade of Brooklyn's Riot's, before the band would break up, eventually storming back with Thundersteel and The Privilege of Power, existing to this day as Riot V after the shocking death from Crohn's disease of guitarist and leader Mark Reale. Riot's is a tale of opportunities missed, of a band ahead of the curve, and of a band from which both its classic era lead singers - Guy Speranza and Rhett Forrester - are now dead, as is, of course, Mark Reale, a quiet man who, fatefully, wanted to leave the business to others and just play his heavy metal. But this book is not just about the '75 to '85 period of the band that spawned one of the finest metal records of all time, 1981's Fire Down Under. Even if the classics framed by those ten years get the full, dedicated chapter, track-by-track Popoff treatment, the subsequent rich and substantial catalogue of the band is discussed as well, right up to the present day where Riot shines on. But still, the focus is on songs like `Warrior', `49er', `Road Racin'', `Outlaw', `Don't Hold Back', `Altar of the King', `Violent Crimes', `Vigilante Killer' and of course the insanely anthemic `Swords and Tequila', as we celebrate a New York institution that is perhaps the shining example of the term, "honorary New Wave of British Heavy Metal" band.