Thursday, January 26, 2012

Riot Guitarist Mark Reale Passes Away While I Become Fixated By An Albino Seal

A few weeks ago, That Metal Show host Eddie Trunk referred to a band that I had never heard before, Riot. I take what Trunk says with a grain of salt. He is impossibly good at worthless trivia, but his taste in music occasionally dips into helpless nutswinging, particularly when he’s praising the work of bands still working the circuit with one or two original members, still hashing out roadwork well past their prime.

He went on to call Riot’s sophomore effort an overlooked classic, indicating that he had done some liner notes for that record’s re-issue, Fire Down Under.

I began doing some research on the band, the results of which may come out in a review from me later, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the album art of Fire Down Under and the inclusion of-well we’ll just call him a creature-that appears on the cover of it and on several of their records thereafter.

If Iron Maiden had “Eddie,” then Riot had a similar spokesmodel. I don’t know the name of it, all I know is that it’s both bizarre and hilarious at the same time. I’m guessing it’s some kind of seal creature.

For me, a white albino seal is the farthest fucking thing from “metal,” and its inclusion had me laughing in tears at the sight of it. And to include the same creature on other albums meant that the members of Riot were dead serious about this freaky thing legitimately becoming their mascot.

Now, the Iron Maiden comparison is no joke, and it goes beyond the half-hearted similarities of their respective mascots. A few You Tube samples proved that this metal band from New York was dead serious at replicating their own version of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and I’ll be goddamned that they were pretty good at their facimiles.

I need to hear more about this band, so feel free to use the comment section to fill me in on this new discovery.

Meanwhile, in a bit of weird synchronicity, the founding member of Riot, guitarist Mark Reale, just died yesterday while he and Riot were rehearsing for a date in Dallas. Reale had Crohn’s Diesease for most of his life, and found himself being rushed to a hospital from complications from the disease. How this translated into the subarachnoid hemorrhage that he died from is a mystery to me and it blows my mind that I am now just discovering this underrated band for the first time.

Eddie Trunk was right it seems, and I wonder if his extensive trivia knowledge can help explain how Riot came to create the half man/half albino seal creature as their mascot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, RIOT pre-dates NWOBHM - got their start in the mid to late 70s & are still active today...not sure if they'll continue after Mark Reale's passing, but they played shows while Mark was in a coma & shortly after his death, with the approval of Mark's family. "Immortal Soul", released in late 2011, is a great CD, IMO. Thundersteel (1988?) is considered a classic, as well as "Fire Down Under", which you mention. The Thundersteel lineup reunited for their 20 year reunion, & they're the ones that played on "Immortal Soul". Overall, RIOT has a very strong catalog. If you're a fan of hard rock/power metal, you might like a lot of it. -JTF