Interesting thoughts about Riot & 'Born In America'.
I didn't remember it that fondly TBH, but it was an e-mail discussion with Alan that persuaded me to give it another listen about 6 months ago & as a result, ended up buying it on CD because it was so much better than i'd recalled.
Sorry Alan, i meant to give you 'mad props' at the time for that solid steer, but i'd forgotten until now, so i'm now doffing my cap to you in this public forum by way of redeeming myself.
Your steel is true sir.
Since i've become properly (re)aquainted with 'BiA', i think the Riot discography would now make more sense to me if 'Born...' had followed 'Fire...' & 'Restless...' was the not-quite-as-good fifth album.
Maybe those time-travelling discography gremlins were about their nefarious work again?
The 'Live' EP with Rhett singing is a fine listen too, and i say that as someone who doesn't have a great deal of love for live records. I much prefer the versions of the 'RB' songs on it.
Here's where i diverge with received wisdom & popular opinion however, as 'Thundersteel' does very little for me.
Now, maybe if they'd called the band something else at that point i'd have a different view of that record.
Despite all the line-up changes they'd already been through by that point, the break in the band's continuity when they split up initially was the end of the 'real' Riot for me. As a fan, when Mark formed that version of Riot with their subsequent radical change of style it felt like he was cashing in on the name and trading on all the goodwill they'd built up with the earlier line ups.
Yes, of course, i've come to terms with it now. It's an argument for 30 years ago, and i realise that, but i still can't hear 'Thundersteel' without being reminded of the disappointment i felt back then when i didn't get what i was expecting from that album.
To me, it'll always be somewhat 'tainted', (for want of a better word), by my historic disappointment and so i fully admit that i'm unable to be objective about it, even all these years later.
I forgave Riot eventually, and although i'm not nearly as familiar with their latter-day material, even enjoyed some of those later Riot releases. They'll never match up to, or hold the same nostalgic memories for me as their early work, but there are some songs of undeniably high quality on those later records too. As a player & songwriter, Mark Reale was a class act.
Looking over the Riot discography, when you say that, "nobody - not 'Maiden, not 'Priest, not Motorhead - matches that track record of excellence
", my heart says that Motorhead absolutely trumps Riot, but that's my heart.
Logically speaking, with emotion put aside, you do make a very strong case for your bold statement, and I'll be interested to see how others respond to it.
I cannot, I shall not, I will not obey.