Through The Storm
Metal Blade Records
A year ago there wasn’t going to be another Riot record. They were done. At last years Ultrasound Mark Reale announced that he was going to concentrate on Westworld and for him Riot was over. A lot had to do with the band splitting over weather or not to tour with Dio. Invited to participate as openers on Dio’s “Imagica” tour Riot was split over the money. Some in the band thought the money was too little to make a full tour happen, others wanted to do it because Riot hadn’t toured the states in 14 years. The end result; they walked away and German Goddess Doro stepped in. Says singer Mike DiMeo, “We’ve had a couple starts and stops in the US are far as touring. Which hasn’t really helped keep things going. The Dio tour could have been HUGE but the band was divided over it. That kind of sucked. I think the last significant date we did was at the Jersey Metal Fest in 1999. The reviews of that show were great. Everybody loved it. Mostly now we just tour Japan.”
For original member Mark Reale keeping RIOT together had always been his main focus. He had spent years shifting through endless line-up changes and labels to continue to bring music to their extremely loyal fans. It was that drive that eventually brought the line up back together again to deliver Through the Storm. The record marks a significant change in Riot. Gone are the speedmetal riffs that rifled through Thundersteel. Gone are the blues-rock power chords that shuddered through Rock City and Fire Down Under. Currently we have a Riot that picks up where the last Rainbow album left off; a melodic affair with dynamic songs, full and polished - a Riot for a new Millennium.
In singer Mike DiMeo’s mind it’s been an ever-evolving process. “We didn’t make a conscious effort to make a melodic record. That was not our intension. However, we do have the drummer from that era of Rainbow in the band. And I did work for Ritchie (Blackmore) in ’93. He called me in to work with Deep Purple. I did a number of songs that became the ‘The Battle Rages On’ record. But, half way through the set they got Ian (Gillian) back in the band. I did grow up listening to that era of Rainbow mainly when Joe Lynn Turner was in the band. So it just kind of came out with this record.”
For fans of bands like Rainbow, UFO and Thin Lizzy Through The Storm delivers a melding of hard rock and power metal. The record even serves up a stunning version of UFO's "Only You Can Rock Me" and an instrumental version of The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun". “Marks playing is really top-notch these days,” say DiMeo of lead guitarist and founder Mark Reale. “He’s always played a lot but now he’s playing all the time and I think it really shows, especially in how the songs are arranged. He’s defiantly playing the best he’s played in a long time. I mean, listen to the duel-guitars on “Turn The Tables” where he’s playing with Mike Flyntz it smokes!”
Ever progressing Riot added texture to a number of songs through the 11-track disc. One such number was “Essential Enemies” where voice augmentation was used to distort DeMio’s voice for added impact. “We thought it would bring out the chorus a bit more so we distorted the voice during the verse. We tried to add some diversity through these songs. Besides just making the tempo change we wanted some texture change as well.”
Riot originated in the basement of Mark Reale's home in Brooklyn NY in the summer of 1976. By 1977 they had recorded their first album "Rock City" for New York's Firesign Records who managed to obtain various licensing deals throughout the world. Capitol Records quickly signed Riot, who soon entered the studio to record "Narita" which would be released in 1979. It was in 1981, Riot released what is considered by most fans to be the band's most definitive album, "Fire Down Under". After being released from their deal with Capitol, the album was eventually released by Elektra Records. So the band knew something about fighting to survive. Says DiMeo, “Considering what’s been happening this last year and what it took to make this record it could very well be the most important record we’ve ever made.”
“I did the majority of lyric writing on this record and I must say most of it came really easy. I’ve struggled in the past with lyrics but on this one they just flowed. I like to write in metaphors, not always in direct meanings. I write around a subject and let the listener fill in the gaps. Not always but sometimes. That becomes really funny in Japan where they try to interpret what the lyrics mean in Japanese and they don’t quite translate that well. The meaning changes a lot.”
“I also write with a political edge. That is a lot of where my inspiration comes from. I’m not nuts over politics but it’s more about how it affects the everyday person. I do have strong political feelings and I can’t help it if they make their way into a song or two. I try to do it artistically and hope that it reaches someone.”
In all the many changes that have affected Riot none were more challenging then the introduction of Mike Dimeo in 1993. He would test the loyalty of Riot’s fans on the 1994 album 'Night Breaker' but by the release of 'Brethren of the Longhouse', 'Inishmore' and 'Son Society' Dimeo had proved himself as a leader and a top-notch vocalist. “Through The Storm” is yet another giant leap forward for the singer and a band who still has much to offer.
Mike DiMeo - vocals
Mark Reale - guitar
Mike Flyntz - guitar
Pete Perez - bass
Bobby Rondinelli - drums