KNIGHTRIOT: Beware The Knight

With the current rush to rerelease christian metal from its golden era, inevitably diamonds will turn up, as well as some stinkers. Thankfully Knightriot is one of the diamonds. The band showed potential, but the closest they got to fame or a record contract was their song “Kiss the Black” being included on Underground Metal II. The band started initially as Nytro and moved from their native Arizona to LA in the mid 80’s seeking to hit it big time. They changed their name to Knightriot because of another band Nitro, and recorded 3 demos under the Knightriot banner in 1989, 1990, and 1992. Far from being your stereotypical Sunset Strip band, Knightriot played power metal, in the vein of Leatherwolf or Armored Saint. The band certainly had a winner with their knight motif, which played out strongly over all 3 releases.

Arkeyn Steel Records from Greece released this disc as a limited edition (500 copies) compilation of Knightriot’s recorded work. Oddly the demos are not presented in chronological order. Beware the Knight (1990), representing the band at their peak, opens the album. “Bitterfield (Hell on Earth),” “The Sacred Legend,” and ”Beware the Knight” all barnstormers. “The Sacred Legend” is currently getting airtime on Heaven’s Metal Streaming Radio. Song#6 closing out the first demo is a metal cover of the 1969 Zager and Evans song “In the Year 2525.” Odd choice, but the band does it justice.

Next up is the Speak No Evil demo (1989), a short 4 songs long, starting with the live crowd sounds on “Rock Hard,” rocking through “Holy Avenger” and the aforementioned “Kiss the Black” and closing with the slower and weaker tune “Wasted Youth.”

The final third of the disc is dedicated to the Killing Time demo (1992). As heavy metal armchair historians now, we know that at that time the golden era of metal dominating MTV was quickly giving way to grunge and non persona grata heavy metal bands were quickly being ushered to the door. What were bands to do? Change with the times or call it quits? Many bands made either choice. Knightriot soldiered on for one more release, before disbanding. “Killing Time” sounds much like their prior work, but “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” and “The Ballad of the Unsung Hero” see the band stretching out in new ways, not sacrificing the guitar solos for sure, but slowing down and adding funkier elements. A good comparison would be the way the British thrash band Detritus embraces a lot of eclectic elements into their music. “Sultana” is instrumental and the disc wisely closes with the rocker “The Second Coming” and Knightriot proclaiming “There will be weeping, And there will be gnashing, The king will return from heaven, Set your sights upon the clouds, Apocalypse now!” After being lost to obscurity, this disc is a gem. Find it! (Arkeyn Steel) 4 out of 5 Stars

– Chris Gatto

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1 thought on “KNIGHTRIOT: Beware The Knight

  1. Good write-up, Chris! Knightriot is a band I completely missed out on when they were active. I only heard about them a few years ago and was very impressed with the band.

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