Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Riot - Thundersteel

Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: United States
Year: 1988
Label: CBS

Behold, one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever recorded. I mean this with full, unabashed sincerity; Thundersteel is, simply put, as close to perfect as a metal album gets. It has everything: awesome riffs, scorching leads, unforgettable vocals, killer rhythm section, and a production that leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. Every last note on this album strikes true, without a single wasted moment ever. It's actually amazing how enchanting this album still is to me considering how I have absolutely listened it into the ground. I really don't think it will ever, ever get old. Every single song on Thundersteel is a bonafide classic, with sweeping, catchy choruses and fantastic, thoughtful compositions that absolutely glow with the obvious fact that a lot of time, passion, and care were put into crafting them. Riot has released numerous high-calibur albums, like the rockin' Narita, the classic scorcher Fire Down Under (another essential album!), or the overlooked and underrated Nightbreaker, among others. But nothing ever came close to touching the pure, molten majesty of the mighty, ineffable slab of heavy metal perfection that is Thundersteel. Mark Reale must have channeled the very gods of metal themselves while penning the songs on this album, because there truly isn't a single weak moment across its entire length. Every riff is solid and serves a strong purpose, every lead is soulful and immaculately executed. And speaking of immaculate, holy shit did Tony Moore's vocals rip on this album! His performance here is one of the most awe-inspiring vocal endeavours I've ever heard. His vocal melodies have true life to them, soaring and dancing above the songs with purposeful power, all delivered with his signature charisma and incredible range. The timbre of his voice is very unique - the second you hear any song off this album, you instantly know who's singing. All the tracks have these incredible choruses that stick with you long after the music is over. It's just inescapable! This is some of the most memorable music ever penned. At this point in my writing, I cannot stress enough that I feel utterly helpless in accurately expressing how I feel about this album. I simply don't have the words for it. This is one of the best - and, in my opinion, important - collections of metal songs ever recorded. Thundersteel is an essential component to any headbanger's collection, an untouchable monument in a class of its own. Perfection.

For fans of Witch Cross, Liege Lord, Vicious Rumors, and Fifth Angel.