Ross The Boss – New Metal Leader (2009)

ross-the-boss-new-metal-leader-2009

Ross The Boss – New Metal Leader (2009, Candelight Records)

  1. I.L.H.
  2. Blood Of Knives
  3. I Got The Right
  4. Death & Glory
  5. Plague Of Lies
  6. God Of Dying
  7. May The Gods Be With You
  8. Constantine’s Sword
  9. We Will Kill
  10. Matador
  11. Immortal Son

Band Lineup:
Patrick Fuchs – Vocals
Ross “The Boss” Friedman - Guitars
Carsten Ketterling – Bass
Matthias Mayer – Drums

Producer: Tarek Maghary

Total Time = 48:20

Country: United States

Ross The Boss official website
Ross The Boss MySpace page
Candlelight Records USA

Ex-Manowar founding guitarist Ross The Boss is back with a new band and a new studio album called NEW METAL LEADER. The outside sticker on the CD calls NEW METAL LEADER “the best Manowar album since KINGS OF METAL” and that’s a pretty good description. The music is epic Power Metal mixed with some melodic Hard Rock for a completely retro sounding ’80s Metal feast that sounds like…..Manowar. The new band and album came about when Ross The Boss joined a Manowar cover band, Men Of War, at the Keep It True Festival in 2006 for a set and the idea of the Ross The Boss band was born. Men Of War isn’t just a cover band, the members are also part of German Power Metal bands Ivory Night and Divinus so there is plenty of experience with creating original material.

The album opens with the quick 50 second intstrumental intro ‘I.L.H.’ and quickly moves into ‘Blood Of Knives’, a furious metal attack with plenty power riffs, double bass drumming, galloping basslines and the high pipes of Patrick Fuchs. ‘Blood Of Knives’ sounds just like mid-’80s Manowar complete with Fuchs’ interpretation of Eric Adams’ high-pitched assault. ‘I Got The Right’ echoes the same sound but with a mid-tempo crunch that has more power to it without the speed. On this song, I hear a little bit of Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O./Accept) mixed into Fuchs’ high pitched delivery. ‘Death & Glory’ is an interesting track because of the very familiar guitar riffs: the underlying riff sounds very similar to Alcatrazz’s ‘God Blessed Video’ in some parts and the riff over that sounds similar to Iron Maiden’s ‘Prowler’. It’s not a complete rip of both riffs but I picked up on the similarities right away. The song itself has that galloping Maiden/Manowar effect and it’s pretty good but it suffers from that “I’ve heard it before” feeling. I also get the same feeling with ‘Plague Of Lies’. The main guitar riff sounds very familiar and Patrick Fuchs really does a solid Eric Adams again but what sets the song apart is the harmonies and the guitar solo…..I had forgotten just how important Ross was to the big Manowar sound back in the beginning.

‘Blood Of Knives’

‘God Of Dying’ is the album’s epic ballad, or so it seems, as it goes from a quiet acoustic & vocal opening into a pounding power number that reminds me a little of Judas Priest. The next song. ‘May The Gods Be With You’, kind of threw me off a little because I wasn’t expecting a Hard Rock sound after five straight Power Metal tracks. ‘May The Gods Be With You’ is definitely the album’s anthem and it has that catchy melodic chorus that sounds dated but is refreshing because it breaks the album up a bit. It’s a little odd saying this but the song sounds like a combination of Manowar and Twisted Sister with an Axe influence in the vocals, Fuchs sounding a little similar to Bob Harris in some of the more melodic parts of the song. ‘Constantine’s Sword’ is another pounding power attack full of guitar and high powered drumming that gives the song it’s metallic march but I’m not digging the distortion on some of the vocal parts and the chorus is a little too simple. ‘We Will Kill’ is this album’s version of ‘Hail And Kill’ but it isn’t as fast, it has a little more crunch to it. I really like ‘Matador’ with that big heavy main riff and a touch of Flamenco that Ross puts over the top to give it that Spanish flavor. ‘Matador’ is more of the same in your face epic metal so you know what you’re getting, there is a slowdown in the middle of the song that’s a little more melodic and I can hear that Bob Harris vocal style again. Rounding out the record is ‘Immortal Son’, another song that has an acoustic style intro and kicks into a harder mid-tempo groove once the vocal kicks in (like ‘God Of Dying’).

Bottom Line:
Unfortunately the comparisons to Manowar can’t be helped because this really could be “the best Manowar album since KINGS OF METAL”. Manowar perfected this epic style and Ross was a founder of that band so the guiding influence to the overall sound of NEW METAL LEADER is obvious. The funny thing is that Ross The Boss sounds closer to the classic epic Manowar style than Manowar does these days! Ross left the band in 1988 after KINGS OF METAL and Manowar has released only 4 studio records since…..and I thought the last two were awful. Manowar fans should eat this right up, and I’m one of those True Metal warriors, but there really isn’t much here that already hasn’t been done before. I’ve really enjoyed the album and it’s been a fixture in my playlist since late December, I’ll bet this is one of the better Power Metal releases of 2009.

Just a quick note: NEW METAL LEADER was released in Europe on AFM Records back in August 2008…..there is no real difference between that version and this U.S. distributed disc except for the date. I hate it when that happens!