Review by Tymell for Riot - Fire Down Under (1981)
Fire Down Under is a good time. A damn good time. And Riot will leave you with little choice but to join in on those good times.
There's such a crazy sense of wild, unabashed fun here, the band sounds like they're absolutely having the time of their lives making this, and that's infectious as all hell. Just listen to the whooping in "Run For Your Life", or the disgustingly catchy fret dancing on the title track. The whole album has the feel of a heavy metal version of a party in a rowdy tavern: lively and vibrant, with just the right dose of rough and ready punch.
The first four tracks in particular are totally irresistible: "Swords and Tequila" in its driving chorus, "Fire Down Under" in its breakneck riffing, "Feel the Same" in that smooth, sexy rhythm and sway, and "Outlaw" in just how damn catchy it is. Every one of them works in its own way, and will leave anyone hooked.
If there's any downside, it's that this does leave the album as a whole a bit front-loaded. The rest of the material here is perfectly good, but the best songs are undoubtedly early on.
Riot don't necessarily do anything particularly inventive or ground-breaking here, but they don't need to, because they do what they set out to with such panache. They take the wonder of Rainbow, mix it with the working class hard rocking of Saxon, and give us something brimming with real passion and energy, and well worth a look for any classic metal fans.
Choice cuts: Fire Down Under, Swords & Tequila, Outlaw, Run For Your Life, Feel the Same