Ross The Boss – Hailstorm
Ex-MANOWAR guitarist and co-founder, Ross “The Boss” Friedman, has returned with a second album of highly calculated power metal with his band of the same name. Backed by a one-time German MANOWAR tribute band, the group continues where they left off on their debut, New Metal Leader.
On Hailstorm, the band still has some great anthemic choruses and pounding beats. Ross certainly can still shred on the guitar, as he displays on frequent solos. Ross still has that distinctive guitar sound that he first articulated in the late ’70s with New York punk band the DICTATORS and then with MANOWAR.
Obviously, MANOWAR-isms pop up all over Hailstorm. You just can’t get away from something that was so embedded in your past. But Friedman is definitely not trying to mimic MANOWAR on purpose, but the glorious spirit of heavy metal is in his blood.
The band explore some good German power metal territory with its soaring guitar leads, precise drumming, catchy, anthemic choruses and melodic song structures. The band is more self-assured on their second release. Song writing contributions from the rest of the band has established themselves as important members of the band and not just Ross’ hired hands.
Opening instrumental “I.A.G.” starts with Spanish flamenco guitars, sounding like something straight out of an Antonio Banderas movie. It then segues into ‘Kingdom Arise” with a crushing riff reminescent of MANOWAR. Right away, you’ll notice the commanding vocals of Patrick Fuchs. His powerful delivery and precision falsettos makes him one of the best power metal singers in the game today, although underrated and mostly unknown, for now.
A bit of glam and ’80s sleaze rock is displayed on “Burn Alive.” It starts with a great riff and melodic harmonies. The chorus is so damn catchy, you won’t be able to contain yourself by chanting along. “Crom” continues with the same catchy melodic vocal harmonies. In fact, every song has a great hook that reels you into their infectious melody. The majestic instrumental “Great Gods Glorious” shows that Ross still has the knack for melodic guitar leads.
If you liked New Metal Leader, you’ll definitely like Hailstorm.
By Kelley Simms