Riot City – Burn the Night Review

Sometimes you’re sitting around with your buddies, listening to all your favorite old records, when you notice one of the guys staring extra intently at the iconic sleeve art of Screaming for Vengeance.

“You guys know what this big mechanical bird of prey needed? A friggin’ laser shooting out of one eye.”

And thus a band’s entire modus operandi was set.

Release date: May 17, 2019. Label: No Remorse Records.
Alright, the music behind that classic cover was probably far more influential in getting the Calgarians in Riot City to pick up their instruments and practice their banshee wails, but if the cover art of debut full length Burn the Night tells us anything, it’s that every single thing about their heroes is embedded deeply in their souls. Their many heroes. Their many, obvious heroes. The aforementioned Priest is notable, but just as present is Maiden at their most streamlined,  Thundersteel-era Riot (it’s right there in the name), and Queensrÿche at their most primal. Add in the occasional touch of epic (particularly on the great “The Hunter”) and some touches of Fast Eddie’s sharpened bluesyness, and you get a speedy, powery heavy metal record that isn’t quite purely speed or power metal.

Thankfully, the four dudes that make up Riot City don’t just love their heroes, they understand them. This record is full of bouncing, galloping energy, with that energy coming from a barrage of hot licks, rumbling bass, and shredding solos, the latter of which can really elevate the song (the harmonized leads in “Steel Rider”). This thing ought to conjure more images of Steve Harris doing this machine gun bass act than you could possible count. There’s also a particularly great 80s haze; it doesn’t sound smokey, really, just kinda set behind a bit of a neon blur. T-top metal, if you will.

It’s absolutely metal of a known type, but that doesn’t stop it from having oodles of personality. The most notable part of said personality is undoubtedly the vocals, which run the gamut from mid-range, majestic singing on the triumphant moments and some “sung shout” gang lines to absolutely throat-shredding screeches. And there’s your warning on that… If you aren’t a fan of everything banshee and falsetto, you’ll probably have some issues with this record. If you are into that, Burn the Night is a high range feast. Lead singer Cale Savy ought to remind of everyone from Bruce Dickinson and Udo to Eric Adams, depending on the moment.

This is where I mention that there’s basically nothing original about the album and all that, but come on. Look at that cover again. Do you think Riot City is trying to break down new walls in the realm of heavy metal? Absolutely not, and when you’re this blatantly obvious about it, and you write metal this rippin’ and fun, accolades are in order.

Posted by Zach Duvall

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Obnoxious overuser of baseball metaphors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.