RIOT V – Mean Streets

RIOT V - Mean Streets cover art
  • 8.2/10
    Bryce Van Patten's rating - 8.2/10
  • 7.5/10
    Séverine Peraldino's rating - 7.5/10


Label: Atomic Fire Records
Release date: April 12, 2024

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Bryce Van Patten’s review:

Riot V has certainly set a new course musically with the release of their powerful new album Mean Streets, blending hard hitting 80s heavy metal with modern Power Metal. Mean Streets has it all, with Judas Priest like punch on “Streets of Fire”, to flying Helloween-ish speed on “Higher”.

Past Glories To New Highs

The album was written in the chaos of the past years and recorded in their various home studios as well as in Michigan, Texas, and New Jersey. After two albums without founding figure Mark Reale, Riot V has truly come into their own on their 17th record. “We knew continuing wouldn’t be an easy task because Riot V fans deserve what they to came to know and love,”  bassist Donnie Van Stavern adds: “Luckily we were well received and soldier on for the family.”

“Heavy Metal is a passion. It’s impossible to give up after doing it for so many years,” Van Stavern says with a crooked grin. “As long as you can perform and compose it will be ingrained deep in your heart and soul.”

Final Notes

Riot’s re-invention to Riot V has been a great success, as the band can still represent the classic Riot that fans love, while moving forward with powerful new music that keeps them fresh and vibrant. Mean Streets could be their best album, with anthems like “Open Road”, ripping gunfighter metal on “High Noon”, and rapid fire riffing on “Hail To The Warriors”. The musicianship is just amazing for every band member. The production couldn’t be better. Riot V have staked their claim for a top Heavy Metal album for 2024, and fans need to make a definite point to add Mean Streets to their collection.

Séverine Peraldino’s review:

With probably the cutest mascot in the Metal music scene, Riot V has had a long and complicated history. Yet they remain one of the strongest bands in the classic Power/Speed Metal genre with impressive longevity and regularity in the publication of their albums. Since their 2013 resurrection, the band has carried on with their legend and released strong albums. Mean Streets is yet another offering to the fans that should not disappoint.

Hail To The Warriors

The album is off to a promising start with the banger “Hail To The Warrior.” Though the first three songs are moderately paced, they are all efficient and tailored for the stage. If anyone doubted it, Todd Michael Hall kills it, especially on “Love From Beyond the Grave” as he reaches the highest notes but never sounds weak or discordant.  Returning to strictly Speed Metal, “High Noon” is another great effort and one of the catchiest and strongest songs on the album, pure classic Riot.
Unfortunately, after this great start, the second half of the album is not as strong and feels a bit longish. “Higher” still features impressive guitar works but doesn’t get stuck in your head. The same goes for “Before This Time.” However, the title track “Mean Streets” and the almost ballad “Open Road” are still excellent songs.

Final thoughts

Most of the songs fall in a four-minute format, and perhaps this slight lack of variety doesn’t help the second half of the album. While most of the songs are upbeat, catchy and interesting. Twelve songs feel a bit too long. Mean Streets doesn’t disappoint but there probably will be a few titles you’ll skip.

Band photo of the band Riot V.
Photo: Sean Ageman.

Riot V Lineup

  • Todd Michael Hall | vocals
  • Mike Flyntz | guitars
  • Nick Lee | guitars
  • Donnie Van Stavern | bass
  • Frank Gilchriest | drums

Mean Streets – Tracklist

  1. Hail To The Warriors
  2. Feel The Fire
  3. Love Beyond The Grave
  4. High Noon
  5. Before This Time
  6. Higher
  7. Mean Streets
  8. Open Road
  9. Mortal Eyes
  10. Lost Dreams
  11. Lean Into It
  12. No More

Check out the new video for the title track by Riot V off of their new album: Mean Streets


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

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  • Séverine Peraldino

    Reviewer, interviewer and apprentice photographer for Metal Express Radio, Séverine comes from a small place in the Southern French Alps, near Grenoble. Her taste for classic Heavy Metal is a family heritage and after growing up listening to Iron Maiden, Dio, Metallica and Angra she expanded her horizons with almost every subgenre of Metal, from Power, to Prog, a little bit of Death and Black Metal. She mostly enjoys albums telling stories with originality. When she is not travelling around for concerts and festivals, you can find her reading a good book, or playing board games with friends.

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