Before Van Halen became a household name, before Quiet Riot released their U.S. debut, and before Ronnie James Dio sang a note with Black Sabbath, there was the great unknown band from New York City, RIOT. Rock City is the debut by Riot featuring Guy Sperenza on vocals and Mark Reale on guitar.
At this early stage in the band’s career, they had a sound that was similar to April Wine and Blue Oyster Cult at the time, instead of the heavy/power metal offerings of today’s lineup.
This disc spawned several killer tracks including Rock City, Tokyo Rose, Warrior and This is What I Get. This is not hair metal. This is hard rock in its purest form, before the onslaught of 80’s hard rock bands came along. The guitars are raw and heavy. The drums and loud and pounding, and the bass rhythm’s are deep and heavy, especially for 1977. Mark Reale showed back in ’77 that he had awesome guitar chops back in the day. Take one listen to the guitar solos on Warrior, and you will be amazed that this was released in ’77.
Rock City is truly one of those discs that you have to listen and absorb to truly appreciate.
Mark Reale’s playing was stellar in 1977 and it has only gotten better over the years. Guy Sperenza’s vocals were pretty good. Overall, this debut is one worth hearing. I can’t even imagine what rock fans thought of this disc at the time. It sounds great in 2007 as long as you have an open mind, and understand hold old the tunes are.
Take a listen to a couple of the cuts off Rock City below, and let me know what you think!
Rating:Out of 10
- Rock City
- Tokyo Rose
- Heart of Fire
- Gypsy Queen
- This is What I Get