Riot>>RIOT V - USA

Unleash The Fire - 2014 - SPV/Avalon
Armor Of Light - 2018 - Nuclear Blast
Live At Keep It True Festival 2015 - 2018 - Nuclear Blast
Live In Japan 2018 - 2019 - AFM
The Official Live Albums Vol. 1 - 2021 - Classic Metal
The Official Live Albums Vol. 2 - 2021 - Classic Metal
The Official Live Albums Vol. 3 - 2021 - Classic Metal
The Official Live Albums Vol. 4 - 2023 - Classic Metal
The Official Live Albums Vol. 5 - 2023 - Classic Metal
The Official Live Albums Vol. 6 - 2023 - Classic Metal
Mean Streets - 2024 - Nuclear Blast

Riot V image
Harlet, Pulling Teeth, Jack Starr's Burning Starr, Reverence, Solo>>TODD MICHAEL HALL>>Harlet, Jack Starr's Burning Starr, Solo

Faith And Fire, Cleanbreak>>MIKE FLYNTZ>>Cleanbreak - Moon Tooth, Exemption>>NICK LEE>>Moon Tooth

Seance, S.A. Slayer, Mark Reale Project, Narita, Pitbull Daycare, Evil United, The Devil’s Jukebox>>DON VAN STAVERN >>Pitbull Daycare, Evil United, The Devil’s Jukebox

Sickness, Virgin Steele,Holy Mother, Liege Lord, Feanor>>FRANK GILCHRIEST>>Virgin Steele, Liege Lord, Feanor

History & Biography
With the death of founding guitarist Mark Reale and the band Riot becoming an orphan without original members, the remaining musicians recruited the requisite musicians, like a new singer and a guitarist, did the right thing by modifying the act’s name and continued on. Don Van Stavern had written newer music.

Unleash The Fire was the first product of the new monicker and issued in 2014. SPV had maintained the act’s recording deal. Mark Reale had died of Crohn’s disease in 2012. The line-up for this record was singer Todd Michael Hall (from Jack Starr's Burning Starr), guitarists Nick Lee and Mike Flyntz, bassist Don Van Stavern and drummer Frank Gilchriest. The ‘V’ designation meant two things. There were five members in a band with a singer who was the act’s - meaning Riot - fifth. The record referenced Japan with the track, Land Of The Rising Sun. The songs Immortal and Until We Meet Again referenced the band’s dead founder and, in fact, the cover scene depicted the intersection of Reale Way. Before a new record could emerge, however, Cherry Red UK’s Golden oldie specialists issued two box sets of vintage live material called The Official Bootleg Box Set Volume 1 - 1976-1980 and The Official Bootleg Box Set Volume 2 - 1980-1990. They did not know what the word ‘bootleg’ meant. A tribute album, called Thunder And Steel Down Under: A Tribute to Riot, was released by someone called Skol Records in 2015. Riot V ventured into Canada for the first time in 2016. The band’s later appearance at the Defenders Of The Old Festival featured a surprise reunion with Kouvaris and Rick Ventura. These two would also conjure a group called Riot Act and be booked for the Up The Hammers Festival 2020 replacing Heir Apparent. Ventura had climbed the stage with Riot V in New York City in 2012 and played two songs following Reale’s death. It was the first time he had played Riot music in decades. This band returned to the 70000 Tons Of Metal in 2015 and played at Sweden Rock Festival after conducting a mini-tour of the USA. The group appeared at Bang Your Head festival in 2017.

The modern line-up, in the meanwhile, switched to Nuclear blast for its ‘sophomore’ release and issued Armor Of Light in the spring of 2018. Live At Keep It True Festival 2015 was a double-LP release in 2018. The band travelled to Japan in 2018 and performed the Thundersteel album in its entirety. The band had also played Japan’s Loud Park in 2016. Rick Ventura made a guest appearance. Louie Kouvaris and Rick Ventura formed a group called Riot Act in 2019. The former died of COVID-19 the year after. Riot Act was performing the Fire Down Under album in its entirety in Europe in 2023.

The band, or the estate of Reale, pulled a Deep Purple/Metallica next and began issuing compilations and old live recordings galore. Perhaps the people controlling the legacy of Jimi Hendrix had sunk their fangs into the archives or perhaps inflation and mortgage rates were soaring, but a series of releases inundated the market here. The cover of The Official Live Albums Vol. 1 depicted the mascot Tior being greeted by no more than six fans! The cover of The Official Live Albums Vol. 6 depicted Tior entering Staten Island, which is a borough of New York City while a mountain range and a desert dominate the background!! Nick Lee was hospitalised following seizures in 2022. The band initiated a crowdfunding campaign.

The band issued Mean Streets through Atomic Fire, which is one of the many children of Nuclear Blast in 2024, after a delay of several months. It was delayed a couple of times successively and was finally issued in May. The line-up had remained stable and the band and label had come together in 2023. The group was playing several gigs in the USA, touring South America and playing Japan where two members of Loudness were to join the act for a special appearance. Riot V was booked for the Sweden Rock Festival. The spring tour of Europe had Tailgunner as support. The band was playing at the Rock hard festival during the run. The band was playing gigs with Leatherwolf in the USA in August and September.


Riot V is literally the fifth incarnation of Riot, based on the number of singers the band has had (Speranza, Forrester, Moore, DiMeo, now Hall), and after the death of lead guitarist and mastermind Mark Reale. Long-time guitarist Mike Flyntz and bassist Don Van Stavern are now the two longest-tenured remaining musicians in the band, with Flyntz being a member since 1989. The band’s new second guitarist is Nick Lee, a former student of Flyntz’s. Former Virgin Steele drummer Frank Gilchriest and new singer Todd Michael Hall (ex-Jack Starr’s Burning Starr) complete the band. Unleash The Fire continues the sound of the band’s last record with Reale, Immortal Soul, which featured the brief return of Tony Moore, the vocalist heard on Thundersteel and The Privilege Of Power, the band’s two power metal classics. Hall sounds like a mix between Guy Speranza (Riot’s first singer) and Tony Moore, so he fits the band’s sound perfectly. Flyntz has learned a lot from Reale and sticks to the band’s trademarks – staggered rhythms and triolic leads. Riot’s sound is still unique. The lyrics are a step back to the metal clichés of the Thundersteel era – song titles like Ride Hard, Live Free (Judas Priest, anyone?), Bring The Hammer Down (Hammerfall, anyone?), and Fight, Fight, Fight make it clear that the band sees itself as a traditional power metal outfit now. The albums with singer Mike DiMeo were a lot more hard rock-oriented. The highlight here is the song metal Warrior which continues the theme of the “shining warrior” and acts as a sequel to Flight Of The Warrior from Thundersteel. The final song Until We Meet Again is dedicated to the memory of Mark Reale. Overall, this is a traditional metal album sure to satisfy old fans and bound to make an impact in Japan (to which Land Of The Rising Sun pays tribute). – Andreas Herzog


Riot V