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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Riot - 1981 Fire Down Under
Riot - 1981 Fire Down Under

ALBUM: Fire Down Under
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 5E-546
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1997, High Vaultage (Germany), HV-1021 * 1999, Metal Blade, 3984-14233-2


LINEUP: Guy Speranza - vocals * Mark Reale - guitars * Rick Ventura - guitars * Kip Leming - bass * Sandy Slavin - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Swords And Tequila * 02 Fire Down Under * 03 Feel The Same * 04 Outlaw * 05 Don't Bring Me Down * 06 Don't Hold Me Back * 07 Altar Of The King * 08 No Lies * 09 Run For Your Life * 10 Flashbacks


Boy, is there a story with this album! David vs Goliath.. Capitol Records vs the band Riot, and a whole lotta backroom dealing and shakin' goin' on. After gathering a cult following, releasing two very good melodic hard rock albums in 'Narita' and 'Rock City', and an appearance at the inaugural Donnington Monsters Of Rock in 1980, these guys should have kicked on. The song 'Road Racin' off 'Narita' found it's way onto various album compilations, and was a great introduction to their no nonsense and almost at times, brutal approach. However, their label at the time Capitol wanted the band to try for a more commercial angle on their third album. The end result was 'Fire Down Under', but was deemed by Capitol to be way too heavy, but the band would not back down. So, we saw all sorts of legal posturing going on. Hence a label shift to Elektra which had the good sense to release a 'hot' album by a band in it's prime.

The Songs
This is pure guitar driven hard rock, and upon listening to this retrospectively, I can say that there's not too many bands playing this style anymore. A classic cocktail of rock, in the shape of songs such as 'Swords And Tequila', and the impressive 'Outlaw'. lay the basis for this claim. The title track 'Fire Down Under' is a rabid fast paced affair, as is the wild fury of 'Don't Bring Me Down'. On side two, the boys continue on untethered, with 'Don't Hold Back' galloping along in a similar fashion to UFO, with Speranza doing his best Phil Mogg impersonation, and with Reale and Ventura providing the Schenker like guitar work as a backdrop. A slow intro for 'Altar Of The King' belies the rock n roll power, which eventuates through this track. 'No Lies' and 'Run For Your Life' again pick the pace up, as the 'chugga chugga' guitar and rampant drums blister out of the speakers like days old ear wax getting an aural syringe applied to it!

In Summary
In hindsight though, I think that the struggle to get this album out eventually took its toll. The band fractured at this point, with Speranza tossing the towel in, and Riot having to go back to the drawing board with a new singer (and IMHO, an inferior one) in Rhett Forrester. From this point onwards, the band were never quite the same again, despite many albums released over the years.

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#1 | sabace on March 19 2006 14:15:32
the essential melodic metal lp that launched a thousand copyists . The lp is chock full of great tracks and has two hugely talented guitarists one a natural (Reale) the other all about feel (ventura) and a top notch vocal from sperenza! one of my desert island discs
#2 | vinyldinosaurus on February 11 2008 21:06:01
Riot's best album and one of the greatest metal albums of all time!
#3 | sabace on August 02 2008 14:25:52
apparently there are two different versions available on cd .one is with a german label and is remixed, the other is the original lp on metal blade
#4 | rostoned on August 03 2008 12:53:16
The legit and remixed edition (by producer Steve LoeCool is on the german High Vaultage label, which comes with a very nice booklet with lyrics and essay and 5 studio bonus tracks. It was reissued in 1997.
#5 | sabace on July 22 2010 13:58:56
the version released on metal blade was backed by the band .
#6 | gdazegod on December 11 2011 03:00:32

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#7 | gdazegod on December 06 2012 13:28:00
I think this deserves a Rock Candy reissue.. any takers?
#8 | Nick C on April 10 2014 19:32:38
I've got my old vinyl copy of this still - it's a white label promo but has Fire Down Below on the spine.
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