Great Metal Albums of 1981: Riot- Full Down Under


Riot were one band that, all throughout the 80s, I always intended to listen to but never got around to doing so. The opportunity finally came in 1987 when my sister made me a tape of various metal songs on it for my birthday and one of those songs was the great opener, “Swords and Tequila.” That song had and still has the same effect on me that Hanoi Rocks’s “Tragedy” has on me. I want to jump about my living room playing air guitar to it. “Swords and Tequila” has another dimension to it though. The stick in your memory line “Swords and tequila carry me through the night,” had actually meaning for me. Okay, I never had much use for the first item in the title but there were times when the second item did what the rest of what that line says. Oooh, fond memories indeed.

If I had listened to the “Fire Down Under” back in 1981, I would say that it would be the album that set the standard for all future heavy metal. In that sense, it could be argued that Riot were ahead of their time. That could be why they never had the commercial success they should have. There are so many great songs in the classic heavy metal sense that if I were to mention them now, I wouldn’t have to write a track listing but I will say the second half of the album probably just edges out the first. “Don’t Hold Back” is a definite stand out here and I love the guitar solo in it. “Altar of the King” starts with really cool acoustic intro before blowing you ear drums with some great power chords and “No Lies” follows on very very nicely. Saying that, I can’t take anything away from the rest of the album because it’s just that damn good.

Track Listing:

1. Swords and Tequila

2. Fire Down Under

3. Feel the Same

4. Outlaw

5. Don’t Bring Me Down

6. Don’t Hold Back

7. Altar of the King

8. No Lies

9. Run For Your Life

10. Flashbacks



Gary Sparenza- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Rick Ventura- drums

Kip Leming- bass

Sandy Slavin- drums

After both Hanoi Rocks’s “Tragedy” and “Swords and Tequila” in back to back posts, I find myself contemplating what it would have been like if I had heard both of these songs back in 1981. It would have been mind blowing for sure! Way back when I first introduced 1981, I said that music got me through some rather difficult times that year. It would have been even more up lifting to have had “Fire Down Under” from Riot. If I had heard it back then, I would have declared myself a total metalhead right there and then.

Next post: Triumph- Allied Forces

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17 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1981: Riot- Full Down Under”

  1. There’s nothing better than a mixed tape made in the 80’s!!! Reading your blog brings back some awesome memories of my heavy metal days. Great blog keep on rocking 80’s metal man. 😃🎶


    • So true and thank you so much. The whole reason I wrote “Rock and Roll Children” and started writing this blog is to remind people that they have a great heavy metal history and the 80s was the golden decade of heavy metal. I also wanted to disprove some media’s attempt to distort history by saying that the 1980s was all Boy George and Wham.
      On another note jsack, when I get emails on your posts, I can click like on them but there’s no provision for me to comment. Thought you should know.


  2. That’s an abominable LP cover !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t decide if that cover is good or bad! I’m torn!


  4. The cover is goofy as is all Riot covers but the grooves inside this one are classic. I love Don’t Bring Me Down. This band never got there due. Just so you know, I will be blogging a Riot album down the road also not this one but a very rare one!


    • Quite right! It’s what’s on the record that truly counts and the material on “Full Down Under” totally cancels out any goofy album cover. I shall look forward to reading about the rare Riot album.


  5. Also just noticed thats a pic of Ratt not Riot in your review! Do I get a prize or sumthin for noticing this? Lol…..


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