Thundersteel marked a new era in Riot history, as singer Tony Moore joined the band, and for the first time, Riot moved from a hard rock sound to more of a heavy/power metal outfit. This was the first of two discs featuring a solid lineup of Mark Reale on guitar, Tony Moore on vocals, Don Van Stavern on Bass and Bobby Jarzombek on Drums
Thundersteel should have put Riot on the map in a big way in , but this disc went largely unnoticed by hard rock fans in the U.S. CBS did not promote this, so it crashed and burned quickly. At a time when most labels were promoting their bands with music videos etc, the little band that could, Riot, continued to struggle but move forward.
Thundersteel had all the makings to become a top seller. It has the awesome vocals by Tony Moore and Mark Reale’s over the top guitar playing.
The opening cut Thundersteel is a huge power metal offering that has more in common with the power metal sound in 2007, than the hard rock of 1988. Nonetheless, you can not deny the power of this song, or the soaring vocals of Tony Moore.
Fight or Fall keeps the pace moving with a full out attack of chugging guitars and the pounding drums of Bobby Jarzombek. This is another great head banging track.
Sign of the Crimson Storm takes the tempo down a notch from the first two songs. I like this track a lot. Mark Reale cuts loose and has some great solos on this track. This song mixes well with today’s hard rock and metal and is always a good listen.
Flight of the Warrior cranks it back up again. The chugging bass of Don Van Stavern gives this track a remote Iron Maiden like feel to it. It is another great head banger.
On Wings of Eagles doesn’t let you catch your breath. At this point I was hoping that Riot would throw in a slower track. Mark Reale cuts loose big time on this track. It is a little repetitive after Flight of the Warrior, but it is still a solid track and the guitar work is excellent.
Johnny’s Back is an ultra cool headbanger with ultra fast bass riffs and guitar licks. Tony Moore approaches Tony Harnell octave level on this song. I can’t begin to tell you how cool this song is.
Bloodstreets is the closest thing to a radio friendly hit on Thundersteel. This is another highlight on this album.
Run For Your Life is a solid rocker leading up to the closing track Buried Alive. It isn’t my favorite track here but it is good.
Buried Alive (Tell Tale Heart) is the longest song on this disc, clocking in close to nine minutes in length. This song has a heavy Judas Priest feel to it. This song to me is a little too lengthy, but it does have its moments. It features a great melodic intro, and some Halford like screaming by Tony Moore. The song has some creepy Sabbath like elements at times, and Reale’s guitar work shines here. It is an interesting heavy track to close out Thundersteel.
After listening to Thundersteel again in 2007, it is amazing to me that this music was written and played back 1988. Tony Moore’s vocals really help to make this disc shine, and the music by the band is very tight. Thundersteel is a lost metal classic that deserves a few new ears today. You can often find this disc for around 10 dollars today, and is well worth the price. Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
- Fight or Fall
- Sign of the Crimson Storm
- Flight of the Warrior
- On Wings of Eagles
- Johnny’s Back
- Run For Your Life
- Buried Alive (Tell Tale Heart)