Riot – Live In America

The Official Bootleg Set, Vol 3 (1981-1988)

Riot are one of heavy metal’s great ‘nearly made it huge’ bands. There are a number of reasons for this, including having the worst mascot on their album covers ever in the shape of a seal! (They needed an Eddie the Head drawn by a Derek Riggs — a word to the wise, never underestimate the visual impact of a heavy metal album cover!)

Riot formed way back in 1975, and their popularity coincided with the NWOBHM. They released their most popular albums in the 80s such as ‘Narita’ and ‘Fire Down Under’. Neither a thrash band or a glam band, like Armoured Saint or Wrathchild America, they were out there on their own.

I’d also like to mention the ‘Thundersteel’ album from 1988, again, an amazing album (the title track is a heavy metal classic) marred by a lousy cover.

With 6 CDs, Cherry Red have once again provided maximum value for money. I love the CD of demos – I always love to hear things like that, and the live albums are truly superb.

It’s ironic that like so many bands of the period, Riot’s music is much more appreciated now. Buy this album and see why that is so richly deserved.

(Cherry Red Records)

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (

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