Riot City – Electric Elite (No Remorse Records)

With their 2019 debut, Burn The Night, Riot City painkilled their way into the NWOTHM scene, all guns blazing.

Turbocharged, Priest-worshipping anthems like Steel Rider and Warrior Of Time brought the Canadians to international attention.

They took their place alongside Eternal Champion, Visigoth and Haunt as trad metal titans for a new age.

Electric Elite, therefore, has a lot to live up to…

Riot City show what they’re made of

From the opening bars of Eye Of The Jaguar, it’s clear that Riot City have lost none of the spark that ignited Burn The Night. The track is as fast, furious and exhilarating as anything from the quintet’s first opus. Cale Savy’s solos are glorious. The twin leads? Inspired.

But it’s a more mature – and subtler – incarnation of Riot City that we’re witnessing here.

Much of that is down to the presence of long-time live singer Jordan Jacobs, who replaced Savy in the studio for Electric Elite. As powerful as Savy was on Burn The Night, Jacobs has more to play with. Yes, he can reach those Halford/King Diamond heights when he needs to. But a fine performance on the slower-paced, Dio-esque Tyrant, proves why the frontman is a keeper: sheer force and melodic mastery combine to elevate a stunning song to even greater heights. Jacobs’ showing on Severed Ties is arguably even more impressive, as he lends the track an emotional weight that few of his contemporaries could match.  

Perhaps there’s nothing quite as immediate as The Hunter on Electric Elite. But Riot City have replaced those relentless hammer blows with mini-epics such as Ghost Of Reality, songs where the Alberta act can showcase their supreme musicianship and intelligent songcraft. They have evolved.

Of course, if they’d re-made Burn The Night, few fans would have complained.

Yet Riot City have the technical ability to match their ambitions.

They have the guts to make a step up.

And with Electric Elite, they’ve done it in style.