I go back to my notes from the pre-listening party of the album at Ragnarok in Athens last December and I read my flattering comments that follow almost every track that we listened then. Listening to the album more times my opinion cannot change… “Armor Of Light” is a great album, worthy of the history and legacy that Mark Reale left behind him.
“Armor Of Light” doesn’t hide its intentions for a second. They attack full on from the very first second. The triplet that opens the album “Victory”, “End Of The World” and “Messiah” sets the tone for what follows. Todd Michael Hall surely gives reason why he is recognized as a top metal singer with amazing performance on every single song. The entire album follows the path of “Thundersteel” and even the production is a little retro close to the older records. The band sounds more confident that “Unleash The Fire” and the guitars of Flyntz and Lee literally take no prisoners. Frank Gilchriest is amazing with his turbo fast playing and Donnie Van Stavern is the mold that keeps it all together. Other songs that stand out are “Caught In The Witche’s Eye” which kicks off with a Rainbow riff, “Angel’s Thunder, Devil’s Reign”, “Burn The Daylight” and the title-track.
I wasn’t excited with the re-recording of “Thundersteel”, as I don’t think it was necessary, they should have let it for the shows. The second CD with the Keep It True 2015 show is welcome and a great showcase of this lineup playing career spanning shows. We’ve witnessed that with our eyes and ears in Greece when the band played.
I’d say that Riot V won the bet holding the Riot banner with honor, paying tribute to this amazing legacy that goes with it. The material they release is very good and their performance amazing. The connection with the past is granted and the revival of the glory days obvious but it’s carried out with dignity, true love and respect and that shows. Shine On!