Great Metal Albums of 1983: Riot- Born in America


Looking back, I had heard of Riot about the same time as I did Hanoi Rocks. The difference being that I never saw Riot live and therefore it would be several more years before I actually listened to anything from them. I do feel like I missed something there. I have already reviewed two of their previous offerings, “Fire Down Under” and “Restless Breed,” both of which were damn good albums. Now that I have listened to their 1983 album, “Born in America,” I can say that album too is just as good.

“Born in America” is another straightforward, in your face metal album from Riot. There are no frills, just great songs. The first two set the album off in totally the right direction. Things appear to slow down with “Wings of Fire.” The song suckers you into believing it’s a ballad for the first minute then Kapow! The song goes into another metal frenzy. (Note: I was going to say ‘Wham’ but that word shouldn’t be used on any 80smetalman post.) I love the guitar solo on “Running From the Law,” another good song.

Next comes “Devil Woman” and yes, it’s a cover of the Cliff Richard single. Admitting my sad teenage years, I liked Cliff’s version when I heard it in 1976. Back then, that was probably the hardest song on AM radio. Riot takes the song and raises it to its full potential. Great power chords with some cool guitar soloing and Rhett Forester’s voice sounds a hell of a lot better on this song than Cliff Richard, sorry Cliff.

In spite of my high praise for “Devil Woman,” it is not the high point of “Born in America.” It’s simply the climax. All of the songs that follow are superb starting with my favourite, “Vigilante Killer.” The ones that follow on are just as good. All have the trademarks of what makes good heavy metal but it would be unfair to the songs if I were to mention any one of them without mentioning the others. They’re all that good and that makes the album fantastic.

Track Listing:

  1. Born in America
  2. You Burn in Me
  3. Wings of Fire
  4. Running From the Law
  5. Devil Woman
  6. Vigilante Killer
  7. Heavy Metal Machine
  8. Where Soldiers Rule
  9. Gunfighter
  10. Promised Land


Rhett Forester- vocals

Mark Reale- guitars

Rick Ventura- guitars

Kip Leming- bass

Sandy Slavin- drums

“Born in America” would mark the end of Riot as it was known here. All except Mark Reale would leave the band leaving him to eventually recruit other names for the band. But that wouldn’t happen for another five years in heavy metal history. Forrester would have some solo success but again, that’s a story for later. Since “Born in America” was such a cool album, it can be safely said that Riot definitely went out on a high with it.

Next post: Bernie Torme and the Electric Gypsies

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4 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1983: Riot- Born in America”

  1. Great review! This album does not let up from start to finish. Martin Popoff wrote a excellent book on RIOT titled Swords And Tequila and its a fantastic read( I reviewed a few months back)
    Its amazing how they put out such quality stuff but it went so noticed. Too bad as these cats could play!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like both Fire Down Under and Thundersteel but never sampled any of what came in between. This sounds great!

    Liked by 1 person

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