Some might remember Ring Of Fire, even if this is their first album in 10 years. But guitarist Tony MacAlpine, singer Mark Boals and bassist Timo Tolkki are quite busy. Keyboarder Vitalij Kuprij is also involved in several bands / project, so just drummer Jami Huovinen seems to have enough time on his hands.
In 2001 their debut The Oracle was released and 2002 Dreamtower followed, but after 2004's Lapse Of Reality it got quite about Ring Of Fire.
The title Battle Of Leningrad indicates what the album lyrically deals with. The opener is called Mother Russia, a complex prog metal tune with neo-classical elements. If you know a bit about the siege of Leningrad, then you know that German and Finnish troops held Leningrad under siege for 872 days. It's 70 years since the siege ended, it ended on January 27th and the album gets in store at 24th. Good timing. Being under siege for such a long time not just was a nightmare for the people of Leningrad, the Russian winter was a nightmare for everybody. The story gave Ring Of Fire a lot space to create atmospheres and emotions. The cover shows St. Isaac's Cathedral with some tanks in front of it and at the end of a road full of skulls and to get an idea about the songs, check out the trailer:
At Firewind you can feel the sadness and despair - and a spark of hope. Mark Boals is doing a great job, coz he sounds authentic, never cheesy. At No Way Out Tony MacAlpine can show his genius at the opening passage as well as later in the song, but the up-tempo track shows that things are changing. Even if it's followed by slower tunes with a sad note.
Hopefully it won't take another 10 years til we hear from Ring Of Fire again, coz this album make me want more!
That Ring Of Fire released 2 albums is not that much known, just in Japan the band of singer Mark Boals is really successful. And so they played there and recorded the final show if their Japan tour in 2002. Live the band presented songs from the two albums and of Mark Boals The Oracle. Here in Europe many don't know their neo-classical metal and even if they could be called an all-star-band it seems that the metal scene didn't noticed them. During the set - details you find below - everybody got the chance to show his skills in a solo, perhaps not that interesting for non-musicians.... I should mention that Mr. Boals did a superb interpretation of E Lucevan Le Stelle. They played about 100 minutes. Some bonus material would have been nice. I don't want to complain about interviews, they are interesting... Well, at least in most cases, here the comments of the members are just a waste of time... Musically fantastic, the rest... Not really something to mention.
A NTSC / PAL Code 0 DVD with Dolby Surround sound.
If you love neoclassic heavy metal following Yngwie Malmsteen's style there is no doubt that you will enjoy this album that looks a lot like a Malmsteen album.
In fact, if you put it on your CD player without knowing the name of the band you will think that you are listening to an Yngwie's album, with the difference that Ring Of Fire is just do more balance with the keyboards.
This band joins many talents, it's a kind of virtuoso dream team project: the voice of former Malmsteen singer Mark Boals who keeps singing very well with his epic vibe who hasn't lost his respectable high registers, the guitar of George Bellas who is a kind of Malmsteen clone, the progressive drum style of Virgil Donati from Planet X, the genius of Steve Vai's bass player Philip Bynoe and the virtuosity of Artension's keyboard player Vitalij Kuprij on keyboards who is the main character in the album showing that he his one of the best keyboard players alive.
As I said before the album is charged with the neoclassic metal style, but it is also very symphonic - progressive thanks to the keyboard player of Kuprij who shows all his skills charged with virtuosity and speed. It's a real pleasure to listen Kuprij playing keyboard, specially in all those introductions and interludes full of classical influences. Another element that it is all over the album is the typical exchange of guitar and keyboard solos supported with a solid rhythm work by drum and bass. By the way, I think that the band could take a better part of bass player Bynoe who is a monster bass player and his work on the album is in a secondary position when it should be emphasized.
The album was well produced by Mark Boals and Vitalij Kuprij, using a great engineer like Erik Norlander (also a great keyboard player) who also was in charge of the mix.
Highly recommended to those neoclassical metal lovers and for those who love highly technical music.
This is the first time you hear about the band Ring Of Fire, but everyone is known by metal fans, a kind of super star group. But how came? Everything started with the last solo album of Mark Boals and after he finally left Yngwie Malmsteen's band he started this band with Vitalij Kuprij (Artension) who put his main band on hold.
They do neo classical heavy metal which has elements of what they done in the past, but it ain't a copy of their former bands.
Unnecessary to talk about their musical skills and about the production, coz these musicians know what they are doing and so Mark Boals and Vitaij Kuprij produced The Oracle themselves. Later the album was mixed and engineered by Erik Norlander and Neil Citron (both Lana Lane).
They sound like a 'real' band, and they want to tour. They are hot to tour. Hopefully they get the chance to.
A recommendation to fans of Y. Malmsteen, Artension, Rainbow and other neo-classical metal bands.