|Review: Ross The Boss - Hailstorm|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: November 2, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
I have been a fan of Ross the Boss (the guitarist) since the beginnings of Manowar in the early 80s. While not the most technical of players, I've always enjoyed his style of good old Heavy/Power riffing and squealing solos. I think his simple Hard Rock/Heavy Metal sensibilities are sorely missing from his former band's current, overblown releases. It was good to see him back in the "true" Heavy Metal arena with 2008s New Metal Leader, post the "experimental" phase he went through after leaving Manowar. I actually gave New Metal Leader a pass after reading some less than glowing reviews and, after hearing Ross' latest, Hailstorm, I will need to rethink that decision.
Hailstorm is pure 80s Manowar Heavy Metal that would easily fit somewhere between Battle Hymns and Fighting the World. Singer Patrick Fuchs brings his uncannily Kai Hansen-sounding vocals and a modern, Gamma Ray Power Metal feel to Hailstorm, making the album a blend between old and new. Bassist Carsten Kettering even does his best Joey Dimaio impersonation, playing lightning fast bass runs on both the opener, "I.A.G." and closer, "Empires Forlorn." Hailstorm is pretty upbeat, for lack of a better term, in most places, sticking to that "Death Tone/Fighting the World" formula of big riffs, big vocals (I actually thought Eric Adams was singing at the beginning of "Kingdom Arise" before Fuchs settled into his typical, Hansen-esque vocals) and big solos. The cheese runs thick on tracks like "Dead Man's Curve" and the title track, but the band also goes for some Epic sounding songs too, notably "Crom" and the aforementioned closer.
If all this makes Hailstorm sound like a Manowar rip off, honestly, that isn't far from the truth. But since Ross was a founding member, he's only ripping off himself, so who cares? Personally, I love all those old Manowar albums and am a big fan of Gamma Ray, as well. Hailstorm is simple, straight-ahead Heavy/Power Metal with no frills and I, for one, am a happy camper. If Manowar's Battle Hymns and Gamma Ray's Land of the Free are your thing, do yourself a favor and check out Hailstorm.
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