Very rarely does an album immediately(1st listen) blow my mind. When I first heard RIOT-”Fire Down Under” I was younger and a ritualistic pothead. I’ll never forget sitting back, stoned, and hearing ‘Outlaw’ for the first time. ‘Outlaw’ was only the 4th track on “Fire Down Under”, but I already sensed this album(back then I had it on vinyl) would be worn out (from over-playing) within a few months. Luckily for the vinyl, I got the album on cassette(so I could play air-guitar while driving), and eventually CD, so the record was spared. But in all sincerity, if you have never heard Riot, or are considering buying a Riot album, start with “Fire Down Under”. With a little green and an open mind, you’ll soon be humming every track off this incredible album!!! A true metal classic for the ages…Swords and Tequila, keep on carryin’ through the night as a constant reminder of the power of well crafted hard rock…Luckily, Riot blessed us with many other great albums(despite vocalist changes and the difficulty in getting Riot’s 2nd album “Narita” on CD for under $50)and still remain one of my ALL-TIME favorite rock groups in general. If you’re a metal/hard rock/stoner rock/fan, DO NOT PASS UP “Fire Down Under”!!! It’s mandatory metal and a great musical drug for all ages.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
I had the cassette back in the early 80’s, along with Restless Breed and Live E.P. This was my pre-Metallica rock, when after this I needed something harder. But these old Riot CD’s, whether it was Guy or Rhett (R.I.P.) singing, was the way hard rock was meant to be. Very heavy in a melodic kind of way, with singing you can understand and sing along with. Since I always loved these guys, I now decided was the time to get these cassettes on CD’s, so I can relive the old days of great music forever. Get the newer RIOT cd’s also, they never go out of style.
When I had this album back in the day, I thought it was pretty good, and it’s only gotten better with time. What here is not to love? The two guitars mesh and roar like nobody else. Guy Speranza has one of the best howls I’ve ever heard, and pretty good lyrics, too. The rhythm section is thunder. And every song here is great. If the speed blast of the title track doesn’t rip your ears off, you don’t have ears to rip. They do a good change of pace with a couple of good ballad-like tracks, “Feel the Same” and “No Lies”. Likewise, “Altar of the King” opens with a really nice instrumental before blasting your head off. It’s really hard to describe their sound, because their influences aren’t obvious. If you can think of Montrose’s “Space Station #5″ and “I Got the Fire”, you’re on the right track: adrenalized speedfests. By the same token, Sammy Hagar might be the best comparison for Guy Speranza’s voice, though Speranza is both tougher-sounding and more expressive. No other band really had their guitar sound: the combination of Mark Reale’s Les Paul with Rick Ventura’s bright-sounding Strat makes terrific use of the difference in sound between the two instruments. And tight! The playing is flawlessly crisp, which it needs to be at these speeds. Any band can play loud, but few can really be powerful. Many bands can play fast, but few have this kind of energy. Flaws? Well, “Outlaw” goes on a little bit too long. And the album ends. Other than that, you’d have to go to vintage Sabbath to hear a better metal album.
One of the best hard rock albums every recorded. Every song is like a greatest hits album. Can’t recommend this enough of fans
of good hard rock bands such as Y&T, Thin Lizzy, UFO etc. Some
call this band a thrash band but I never thought of them as that.
It’s just very good melodic fast hard rock. It’s the best Riot
album they ever made. Too bad Guy Sperenza didn’t stay with them longer because I feel they were peaking when they made this.
If you never heard it you don’t know what your missing.
It might be hard to tell younger generations of metalheads how brilliant and innovative “Fire Down Under” was upon its release. At the time, “True” metal came from over the pond,in the form of JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, SAXON and MOTORHEAD. American made “metal” meant, at the time, VAN HALEN, FOREIGNER and JOURNEY! Not that these bands were bad, but,despite their rocking musical delivery, they were a far cry from the blood & guts rock style of their british counterparts. Enter RIOT, a new york metal band that had a sonic attack more akin to that of the then fledging NEW WAVE OF BRITISH HEAVY METAL. RIOT had already released 2 albums, “Rock City” and “Narita” which showed much promise but lacked consistence. Their 3rd release, “Fire Down Under” finally solidified that promise, making it one of the most revered metal albums ever. From the bone crunching, yet clear production, to the top notch writing abilities of the band, RIOT showed american (and worldwide audiences) that they could rock even harder than the british. “Swords & Tequila” opens the album with a blast; the type of metal that passed unheard during the glam metal 80’s and that would become a major influence to rising thrash and power metal bands. The title track burns even hotter and the list goes on; “Fire Down Under” is that rare case where there is not one single filler song. Every song on this album ROCKS! The CD includes some bonus tracks that, somehow, lack the spark that the rest of the album has, but are worthy nontheless. “Altar Of The King”, “Run For Your Life”, “Lies”, “Outlaw”, etc…it’s hard for me to explain in words how monumental this album is. For metal heads searching for that “vintage” sound (albeit, european sounding metal!), look no further; “Fire Down Under” is probably one of the hardest metal albums done by an American band in the early 80’s (before the Thrash explosion, of course!). Buy or DIE!!!