REVIEW: ROSS THE BOSS – “Born Of Fire”
Strong winds and a magic mist brought “trveness” to Asgard once again. Come all ye Manowar faithful, rejoice on the blood of our enemies and run berserk spreading fear and pain, because ‘Born of Fire’ is upon us. Riding the steel horse of metal, Ross the Boss valiantly waives the flag of purity once again, charging against the hordes of wimps and posers and delivering stab after stab of riff-mastery.
Alas, after retiring to his chambers in the era when pests infested the scene, the Boss’ influence and teachings where lost in the darkness of “Grunge, Nü et Core”, but as a true warrior never dies, neither did the pureness of epic and magical heavy metal and by the turn of the new century, the champion was back to attack.
Fourth full length in his solo career, Ross Friedman and his trustworthy friends are once again on a quest to bring no-frills, punchy heavy metal to the masses. This time around, though, the Boss mixes things up a bit and showcases a more potent, savage side to his playing.
“Glory to the Slain” starts the album with an earthquake of riffs and aggressiveness. The leads and overall musicality sound as if Vicious Rumors had a lovechild with Overkill. The same energy flows throughout the whole record, which shows a deliberate effort to provide more punch to the tracks.
Songs like “Shotgun Evolution” and the title track have a Teutonic vibe to their personality, remembering the rawer moments of Accept and even some pinches of Paragon or Grave Digger. “I Am the Sword”, on the other hand, takes a similar approach to the first song, ranging from thrashier moments to that power/thrash energy that only US-natives like Agent Steel, Vicious Rumors and Helstar are capable of.
Steve Bolognese is a beast and makes sure to give the message in his playing. The brutality in which he pounds his drum-kit is empowered by the amazing production and mixing. Mike LePond takes the bass duties and needs no introduction, so there’s ace quality here as well, and singer Marc Lopes puts his pipes to work brilliantly. His time with Meliah Rage helped the savage, yet technical vocal choices he makes here, and his rapid voice matches well with the elements in the album.
This is definitely Ross the Boss’ most vicious work to date. All key elements when thinking about US-power metal are here, and his ability to write catchy songs without losing the traditional metal identity is what makes this so special in its own way. The album is a riff heaven for all guitar enthusiasts, and even with all elements abovementioned, there is still room for epicness and melody, “Maiden of Shadows” being a perfect example of that.
All in all, ‘Born of Fire’ has all that Ross the Boss has done in his prominent career. Reaching out for old timers as well as newer fans of his music, the guitar master once again proves why he was one of the best assets of Manowar’s golden days, and still has a lot of energy left in his hands. So hail, my brother; raise your hammers in the air, sweat the metal oath once more and heed the call of the black wind, fire and steel, for as the prophecy states: Ross the Boss is the Defender, God has sent.