They took their name from the film Conan the Barbarian
and the riddle of steel he must solve to avenge the death of his family. It doesn't get any more hard-rock than that. In the studio they're comfortable pimping their stoner-rock influences (most notably Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age); their recent release Got This Feelin'
(see "Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months") is the perfect amalgamation of that sound with their pop sensibilities. Onstage, however, the Riddle loses control. Gone are the witty embellishments of sound heard on disc; in their place is raw rock & roll. National tours pull Riddle of Steel away from the Midwest more and more these days, so be sure to catch their Hi-Pointe gigs (1001 McCausland Avenue, St. Louis; 314-781-4716) while they're still ubiquitous. And remember, they will kill you in a karaoke fight.