Released: 2008, AFM Records
True metal people need no introduction to the guitar giant, Ross the Boss. For the wimps and the posers, though, who need some enlightenment, here is what you need to know – Ross the Boss is a founding member of the thunder gods of metal, Mano-frickin’-War. In the glory days of his time with these kings of metal, they produced undoubtedly their best material with masterpieces such as BATTLE HYMNS, SIGN OF THE HAMMER, and INTO GLORY RIDE amongst the cream of this crop. Since the late eighties, though, Ross has been traversing a diverse musical landscape, including stints in his classic punk band The Dictators, amongst various other projects that have included a few appearances at festivals playing some Manowar classics. With a skilled band of Germans backing him, he returns with NEW METAL GLORY, an album that is truly made of steel, not clay.
It is hard to listen to this album without comparisons to Manowar as there are so many moments that resonate with the sound from his era with that legendary band. It will be hard for one to listen to songs like “God of Dying” and “Immortal Son” and not feel a connection to classic Manowar epics from the early albums, such as “Battle Hymn,” “Gates of Valhalla,” and “Guyana (Cult of the Damned).” Bassist Carsten Ketterling does a great job of channeling the signature bass style of Joey Demaio throughout these majestic tracks. Songs like “Death & Glory,” “Blood of Knives,” and “Plague of Lies” hearken back to some of the more fist pumping anthems like “Violence and Bloodshed,” “Sign of the Hammer,” and “Kings of Metal.” Within the delivery of vocalist Patrick Fuchs, one can even hear seedlings of Eric Adams, although his voice is also tempered with a bit of Jag Panzer’s Harry Conklin and Virgin Steele’s David Defeis as well. Ultimately, it is the no-holds-barred, ground smashing attitude of the songs that align them so well with Ross’s early work in Manowar.
The album is not a perfect one, though, as it does lose a bit of steam in the second half with a few songs that showcase some of the more boring sides of US traditional metal. “Constantine’s Sword,” “We Will Kill,” and “Matador” fall pretty flat and feel a bit forced at times, leaving no lasting impact on the listener. “May the Gods be With You” is just a bit too corny, something that will probably not be a problem for most Manowar fans who hear, though.
Ultimately, NEW METAL LEADER proves to be a worthy entry into the halls of true metal. While Manowar has delved deeper and deeper into the majesty of symphonic sounds on their last two releases, offering several dull moments, Ross the Boss delivers an old school metal punch sure to please not only Manowar fans who miss the glory days, but also anyone who appreciates a blending of straight ahead metal intermixed with some thunderous epics.