Riot - Fire Down Under

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Between 1977 and 1981, New Yorkers Riot released a string of albums that should have turned them into superstars, and 1981’s Fire Down Under is often proclaimed to be one of the great hard rock records of the era. 

Fire Down Under stands as the high point of Riot’s career, and a landmark early-1980s hard rock record. Bridging the gap between founder Mark Reale’s beloved Montrose and the nascent thrash metal scene that would emerge a few years later, it balanced its melodic chops with a tight energy and walked a lyrical tightrope between fantasy and gonzo rock’n’roll. 

An undoubted highlight was anthemic opener Swords And Tequila, a song that has been rightly fêted as a classic by Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich. Surprisingly, it also may have influenced another, more unlikely musician. 

“Listen to the beginning of Swords And Tequila, then listen to Lady Gaga’s track Electric Chapel,” says former drummer Sandy Slavin. “The guitar intro on that is so fucking close it’s unbelievable. Not just the notes, but also the sound. She’s really into 80s rock, right?” 


Label: Metal Blade