Riot’s comeback hit a roadblock last year after guitarist/founding member Mark Reale passed away from complications of Crohn’s disease. While the group continued to perform a handful of shows shortly after the death, Riot’s future seemed unclear. Last night, though, Riot announced plans to continue on with “phase five.” While they won’t be replacing Reale with a new guitarist, they will be moving on with a new singer in place of Tony Moore.
Mike Flyntz,Don Van Stavern and Bobby Jarzombek issued the following joint statement announcing their plans, as well as introducing new singer Todd Michael Hall:
“RIOT would like to thank all of our fans for their undying patience, love and support as we go through a difficult transitional period for the band. As all of you know, we lost our inspirational leader, founder and brother Mark Reale last year after a long battle with Crohn’s disease. In Mark’s honor and with the blessing of his father, Tony Reale, we have decided to continue to carry the torch for our fallen comrade. There has been a lot of speculation and opinions concerning what the band should do next. We understand the apprehensions held by many, but out of respect for Mark and our legion of fans we have decided to continue to bring you the RIOT music you’ve come to know, love and appreciate throughout the years. We promise to continue on in this same great tradition. We couldn’t move forward without your support.
We also would like to thank the many singers who tried-out to be a vocalist with RIOT as we worked to replace the great Tony Moore, who has decided to step away from the music business. He has settled down with his wife, Ann and a great job. We thank Tony for joining us on a reunion record and a few dates for our fans and we wish him and his wife nothing but the best; Never Surrender Tony! Thank you vocalist extraordinaires Tony Harnell, Bryan Harrington, Sean Peck, Daniel Heiman, Joey Belladonna, Chandler Mogel and a host of others for believing, singing and chatting with us and helping us out.
We would like to introduce an amazing vocalist and human being who will help us rebuild this metal juggernaut and step in and fill some big shoes while sharing the same vision as the rest of us. He has the experience to take over the reins and front one of metal’s pioneering bands with an amazing vocal range and stage presence. He is a great songwriter to boot! Please put your hands together and welcome to the stage … Todd Michael Hall.
You might know Todd from Jack Starr’s Burning Starr and Reverence. If you do know him you know this guy can sing! We went through many talented vocal submissions, but in the end, metal aficionado and guru Bart Gabriel, who happens to work with the great Burning Starr knew what we were looking for and bestowed upon us this great gift in a vocalist. Todd is the fifth in series of great RIOT frontmen. Phase One: Guy Speranza; Phase Two: Rhett Forrester; Phase Three: Tony Moore, Phase Four: Mike DiMeo and now Phase Five: Todd Michael Hall!
With a few European RIOT V (Mark Reale Tribute) dates being booked for early 2014 and a new album in the works for a summer 2014 release, RIOT V is inspired as never before and still at the top of its game. The new CD promises to be a true successor to the legacy of Thundersteel, Privilege of Power and Immortal Soul. Mark Reale and the RIOT legacy will forever shine on and as long as the people demand it we will keep coming back with great music for years to come. Thank you and lots of love for your faith and undying support throughout the years and for your future support. Please welcome Todd Michael Hall to RIOT V.”
While the statement seems to insinuate so, it’s not exactly clear if the band intends to reform under the new moniker Riot V or not (though that would make sense given the lineup changes). It’s not entirely shocking that Riot is moving forward despite the passing of Reale. However, it is a tad surprising to hear that Moore won’t be involved given how dedicated he seemed to be to playing in Riot when we spoke to him around Immortal Soul’s release. Granted, though, a lot can change within a year. We’re just hoping the new version of Riot can indeed at least create something equal to their past records.