Ross the Boss

Hailstorm

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The second album by former Manowar guitarist Ross "the Boss" Friedman, following 2008's New Metal Leader, offers another thundering dose of power metal of more or less the same type his former bandmates used to make, minus the pompous epics that have clogged their latter-day (i.e. after he quit the band) work. This shouldn't come as a surprise, since the band he's using (vocalist/guitarist Patrick Fuchs, bassist Carsten Kettering, and drummer Matthias Mayer) were a Manowar cover band in their native Germany before being recruited to back him at a festival. So they've got the anthemic, screaming-guitars sound down to a T, and Ross' brutarian, rock-informed leads (which gave Manowar's first six albums a bite that their later albums, which stole more from classical music, lacked) cut through everything like a pavement saw. This is fist-pumping metal, with catchy choruses, high-pitched screams, and thunderous drumming, and the lightning-speed riffing of the title track is proto-thrash not unlike Accept's "Fast as a Shark" or early-'80s Judas Priest at their most hell-for-leather. Old-school metal fans will find much to love here, and younger listeners could learn a lot about the genre's roots, and its true heart, from Ross the Boss and band.

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