“Restless breed” was released before Riot became high priests of power metal, and it’s the strongest effort from the band’s earlier career. I think the material is even better on this one, than the highly praised “Fire down under”. If you decide to give this album a shot, you’re in for a good time of traditional heavy metal in form of the rocking “Hard loving man” and the speedy “Loanshark”. Riot have the good taste to include a couple of slower/softer songs as well (no ballads `tho) like “When I was young” and “Showdown”. Every heavy metal fan should own this album alongside with “Rock city” and “Fire down under”.
Can you think of a line that describes the emotional microcosm of a fan better than the initial words of Terror Train, one of the most impressive tracks on the new Demons & Wizards album, Touched By The Crimson King? ”I´m awake, you better feed me now”, sings vocalist Hansi Kürsch, hitting the nail on the head. Mind you, the international metal community has been wide awake ever since the self-titled Demons & Wizards debut arrived at the stores in 2000, waiting impatiently to be fed with more songs. The fact that they had to wait another five years is in the nature of things; after all, Hansi Kürsch’s chief occupation is his band, Blind Guardian, while guitarist Jon Schaffer has launched several major projects with his main group, Iced Earth. One the one hand, Touched By The Crimson King continues the artistic tradition of its two protagonists, Kürsch and Schaffer, and on the other it seems directly connected to the Demons & Wizards debut. ”The common denominator that links the two albums lies in the fact that the tracks are constructed in a simpler style than the regular Blind Guardian and Iced Earth material”, Kürsch describes of his new album. ”At the same time, the music has more of an acoustic focus. You can tell that we approached the song-writing without any preconceptions. The term ‘mellow’ springs to mind whenever somebody asks me to describe the mood on the album. Even when the Demons & Wizards debut came out, fans told us that the music is a symbiosis of its two creative forces. Some even said that parts of it sounded like early Blind Guardian and early Iced Earth. I think this description also applies to Touched By The Crimson King. The overall impression of the album is marked by a certain rawness, together with many atmospheric moods.”
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I’m a huge fan of Riot WITH their original lead vocalist-Guy Speranza. Without him, Riot is only half as good. Lead guitarist, Mark Reale, is great; but Guy’s voice really made the band unique. The songs on this CD are very weak compared to Rock City, Narita, and Fire Down Under.
God bless Rhett Forrester – now deceased. He gave this album more of a bluesier, almost Southern quality, but it’s still essential steamhammer Riot that fits in much better with British compatriots like Saxon and Def Leppard (!) than with fellow U.S. bands of that time like Van Halen. Excellent songs (if “Violent Crimes” doesn’t get your blood pumping, you’re either an android or dead!), great playing…but cheesy album cover!
being in my early 40s now, I loved Riot back in the day, i remember really digging the Guy era riot, and being apphrensive about this new dude Rhett ,but i could honestly say ,while it was different then the Guy Riot, Rhett eliminated any fears, the dude rocked, this album kicked a–. incidentally I met Rhett on the street in the early 80,s, in a chance meeting, he was a nice guy, and I was saddened to learn he’s no longer with us . But getting back to the point if you like 80s metal, this is a cant miss.
Owing as much to 70’s Rock And Roll (Ted Nugent, Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynrd, Bad Company) as to early 80’s Metal (Judas Priest, Dio-era Black Sabbath) RESTLESS BREED captures a moment in time when the Riff was King, and almost every song had a strong hook. RESTLESS BREED continued the groundwork laid down by its predecessor, FIRE DOWN UNDER. “Hard Lovin Man,” and “Loved By You” are two catchy, but Heavy, melody-driven songs showcasing (then) new vocalist (the late) Rhett Forrester. Both songs became staples of their live set, and it’s easy to hear why. Forrester was an incredibly powerful vocalist who could both sing and “scream” effectively. “C.I.A.” is an uptempo song with a driving beat and a nasty attitude, and “Loanshark” is actually a precursor to Thrash Metal with its frantic verse (which gives way to a very memorable chorus hook). The title track could also be called the precursor to the Power Ballad, although it is Heavier, and much less contrived than the power ballads of the late 80’s. It actually has a bit of a Southern feel to it, kind of like Lynyrd Skynrd (“Freebird”) on steroids. The rest of the album is filled out with strong songs such as “Over To You” (catchy, straight-ahead Rock And Roll), “Violent Crimes” (heavy in a late 70’s Judas Priest kind of way), and “Showdown” (another proto-Power Ballad). The production is RAW, but in a good way – it keeps the catchier songs from straying into Foreigner territory, and the performances are all energetic with a lot of “feeling.” If you want something that has a lot of raw power and energy, while maintaining a sense of melody, then RESTLESS BREED is exactly what you’re looking for. (And if you do buy this, both FIRE DOWN UNDER and BORN IN AMERICA are also highly recommended!)