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On disc: Ross The Boss

New Metal Leader - Claudia Ehrhardt - 6 stars
Hailstorm - Umberto Mino - 7 stars


(AFM Records - 2010)

He's back... the puzzle's piece that Manowar lost long time ago, and this lost is still important for all the fans of the famous American band, but anyway let's talk about Ross!! After the New Metal Leader CD of year 2008, Ross is back with this new Hailstorm, an album that for me means a back to the roots for two reasons: 1) more songs with Manowar influences, 2) one intro and ten songs like all records in the early '80s, no bullshit or bullocks or bad songs to complete the 80 minutes of a CD!!! And for these reasons my respect to this man is growing, because he respect the fans... But what are the news about Hailstorm??? No news, no modernism, only simple metal songs straight like a punch in the teeth. This CD starts with the usual majestic intro IAG and the first track Kingdom Arise take my mind back to the Manowar golden age. The first part of this record is focused on the old Manowar sound, so Dead Man's Curve and the furious title track Hailstorm give me various sensations from Fighting The World to Kings Of Metal..... I love it!!! Burn Alive is what we need to listen from any metal / rock band on this planet, and the follower Crom is a dark Manowar song directly from Into Glory Ride. Behold The Kingdom and the instrumental track Great Gods Glorious give me time to breath. Shining Path is the less brilliant song of this CD, but the next Among The Ruins with his piano intro and his dramatic crescendo close in great way this great return of Ross The Boss that close this album with Empire's Anthem, a song that from the title show the meaning of his creation.... A real masterpiece!!!!
I beg you people, this is NOT just a CD for Manowar fans or nostalgic old-schoolers, this is a demonstration of good and well played metal so buy it!!!

7 stars

Umberto Mino


New Metal Leader

New Metal Leader
(AFM Records - 2008)

Former Manowar guitarist Ross 'The Boss' Friedman is back with a band and a new album, called New Metal Leader. Ross stated that with this album he will carry the legacy of the 80's Manowar albums... Well, he didn't succeed, but this isn't a total failure. He just pushed expectations too high.
With the intro I.L.H. they open up and lead into Blood Of Knives, a fast, riff-based tune with double-bass drumming and an epic edge. Quite 80's and with high screams. Singer and guitarist Patrick Fuchs is doing good, but also has to face his limitations vocally. A nice guitar solo added, but more interesting the song gets due to the drum passage which makes the song differ from the typical 80's heavy metal tune. I miss a bit the intensity of Eric Adams vocals and the catchy hook... But well... With I Got The Right they ease up a bit, at least in the beginning, but then they speed up a little into a heavy grooving metal song which is quite Manowar-ish, but again it's the vocals which can't stand the comparison. Patrick Fuchs is a good singer, but it seems that the songs are demanding a bit too much from him vocally. But the song has a good chorus which fans will sing along live. A real fast one is Death & Glory. Cool while you listen, but it can't hook you up and soon after it's over you will have forgotten it. With acoustic guitar they lead you into God Of Dying, the highlight on New Metal Leader! An epic true metal tune which gives Fuchs the chance to express himself better as the song fits better to his voice. After almost 2 minutes the song explodes - and again this one reminds you of Manowar in the 80's. Well done!
May The Gods Be With You sticks out as this is more a song in the vein of Kiss.. A heavy rocker with a catchy hook, even if it's based on heavy riffs it ain't as heavy as other songs. But somehow disturbs the flow of the album... A real heavy one with a monster groove is Constantines Sword, another song I recommend to check out. But the vocals lack something... And it's a bit repititve. But still, not bad. Heavy riffs you get with Matador! Another tune which is very 80's - from the song writing to the high screams. For the closer they use again an acoustic guitar intro which leads into an epic tune. Immortal Son is more what you expect from Ross The Boss after announcing that this album will bring back the 80's sound of Manowar.
My resume: There are some cool tunes, some average ones. If that's enough these days I don't know, but fans should check this album out. I think in future they should focus during the song writing more on the vocals to make them fit to Fuchs voice. Let's see, if they can 'solve' this on the next album.

6 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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