"Can’t really say that I have been constantly clinging on to RIOT, or now known as RIOT V, but there is one thing certain, this band has been one of the top in Heavy Metal. Album titles such as the mighty “Thundersteel”, “Rock City” or “Born In America” were some of the my favorites growing up, however, I never took the time to listen to their entire discography, including their 1997 concept album “Inishmore”, which as it turned out, at least on my bill, one of the underrated albums of the Mark Reale era of the band. There is no better way to commemorate the album’s 20th anniversary other than reissuing it. I have no idea if that was the thought behind the latest Metal Blade Records reissue with extra crispy bonus tracks, though it doesn’t matter really, as long as there is another chance to take a closer look at that particular era of this American juggernaut.
While listening I had the feeling that “Inishmore” was maybe of a personal matter, a story to be told that had a special meaning to its creator. The concept of Celtic and Irish folklore, as a sort of a pause from the thunderous Heavy Metal that this band has been used to be composing, paved the road to a wonderful musical artistry, a melodic pattern that kept the engine running. A kind of material that is easy to digest, not coming across being cheesy, yet fastly having you at its feet craving for more. I can only assume that Mark Reale had a lot to do with both the concept and the songwriting, which ended up in an infectious harmonious Metal mixed with classic riffery driven by Hard Rock of the late 70s and early 80s, partially influenced by THIN LIZZY, DEEP PURPLE and the signatures of NWOBHM.
“Red Reign” and “Cry for the Dying” celebrated the old school flowing passion that never gets old, especially with the amazing vocal performance of the Mike DiMeo, one of the better vocalists that the band had back in the day, alongside Reale and Mike Flyntz’s inspiring guitar work and the energetic chops of Bobby Jarzombek. The instrumental articulation “Inishmore” may as well be the album’s special brand. This is a highly melodic and adorning composition that is a rare event for this band that on a regular basis busts heads with their traditional qualities. “Kings Are Falling”, “Watching the Signs” and “15 Rivers” could have been the delicate parts of the early legacy of the band, breaching the borders of Hard Rock into the dynamic tempos of Metal music, and of course with flashing tremendous choruses that might stick to one’s mind.
Without a shadow of a doubt, “Inishmore” is an album that shouldn’t be overlooked. RIOT has their classic albums, nonetheless, this here release is different, more personal in nature and much deeper in its theme. Don’t wait that long to purchase it." - Metal Temple