Wow. I had to say that I really didn’t expect this news to be the case even though the Metal Republic and I had been informed about the critical shape that guitarist Mark Reale was in when I attended the New York City based band Riot’s gig last week at B.B. King’s. The band had recently released the album “Immortal Soul” and it’s been receiving some really great reviews and while I still need to get a copy and focus my thoughts on it, I had to say that I really enjoyed what the band did live. The guitarist had been suffering from Crohn’s disease for most of his life and even though he was often in considerable pain according to press reports, he would press on and perform for his fans again and again. Shortly before the tour began it was reported how Mark was in the hospital in critical condition based on complications from his illness but the band would press on in his name and not let the fans down. Singer Tony Moore had us remaining hopefully but few actually knew that the guitarist was actually in a coma all this time since January 11th.
My exposure to Riot was limited at best and yet everything that I ever heard I seemed to like. It’s almost funny for me to wonder why I was never following them before or outside of the one album that I owned. That just happens sometimes because there really is a ton of Metal and Hard Rock to enjoy if you choose to expand your horizons past Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. If you love the heavy side of things and cannot move past those legends I strongly suggest you try because its a wonderful world. Despite Mark’s absence from the appearance, the show that I attended was nothing less than kick ass and I was very hopeful that he would be able to pull through and be rocking for his fans once again. Sadly this would not be the case and the dire complications from this illness would take him from us. He was 56 years of age.
Mark Reale was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1955 and his love of the artists of the day would lead him to form Riot in 1975. The band became a staple on the New York City Hard Rock and Metal scene and throughout the bands often tumultuous lineup shifts he would remain its sole original member from their first album “Rock City” until their 2011 release “Immortal Soul”. There are seventeen albums in total available on labels like Metal Blade Records, Epic Records, Capitol Music and SPV Records so the new and legacy fans really have their purchase work ahead of them if they do not have a complete set of their catalog. The question remains as to whether or not the band shall continue on without him, because he was not only the founding member but also the only one left who was touring with them at this point in music history. I’d like to keep positive because this was such a good show and the band has numerous killer tunes. Of course I also have my doubts about it as do many other fans in media. It’s hard enough for newer in the public eye regularly bands to keep going on much less a legacy group that has just lost its founder. Only time will tell right?
On behalf of the PiercingMetal brand name I send sincere and heartfelt condolences out to Mark’s worldwide fans, friends, band mates and of course his loved ones. He really did some good for the Metal scene and his music shall live on forever. Rest in Peace Mark Reale.