Riot had the potential to be an American Judas Priest. Speranza’s voice definitely holds its own with that of Rob Halford, and Reale and Ventura’s guitars easily spar as well as those of Downing and Tipton. Circumstances conspired against the band in a big way, though. The biggest blow came with the departure of Guy Speranza following Fire Down Under. Throughout the eighties, Riot’s lineup seemed in a perpetual state of flux, and they never regained the momentum they had following their classic third album.
The audiophile label Audio Fidelity are launching their new mid-line Target Series with Fire Down Under, which will be available in both the vinyl and CD formats. For those of us who have been enjoying the resurrection of vinyl recently, their Target Series holds particular promise. Previously, the only new LPs in stores have been very expensive 180-gram limited edition selections. These hold great snob appeal, and do sound wonderful, but there has been no alternative until now. Audio Fidelity’s Target line prices their high quality albums the same as their CDs, which is a really cool development.
Fire Down Under is an early eighties metal classic, and if you didn’t hear it the first time around, try it now. And a big thumbs up to this Target mid-line series as well; it is an idea whose time has definitely come.