A co-founder of the metal legends Manowar, Ross Friedman has been one of the most influential guitarists in the genre. The six albums he did with the band are considered by many to be some of the most dynamic ever in the field of heavy metal.
After leaving the band, Ross played in many different bands and projects till in 2006, Tarek "MS" Maghary from Majesty came up with the idea of matching Ross with the Manowar cover band "Men of War" to play at a festival he was promoting. This lead to a tour in Europe, but Ross never wanted to be a tribute to his prior self so he took the band and wrote some new original material and the result is New Metal Leader.
Ross doesn't deny his past on this album, instead he embraces it whole heartedly with music that could very well be written for his former band. Cuts like "Blood Of Knives", "I Got The Right" and "Matador" have the bombastic quality that you would expect from the guy who brought you such classics as "Battle Hymns' and "Hail To England". While they may remind you of his former band, these songs are something new and exciting thanks to the vocal abilities of Patrick Fuchs. He could never be in a Manowar cover band without a great range and on this disc he uses his dynamic voice to the max. All you have to do is listen to the fantastic song "God Of Dying" to see just how much of a range he has. While the song features a slow acoustic intro where he gives a powerful dramatic singing performance, when Ross unleashes his metal fury midway through the song, Patrick's voice is there to fully complement this explosion.
This album is a very good example of what makes heavy metal the art form it is. Ross never lets you forget that it's the six string assault weapon that fuels this type of music. New Metal Leader is filled with some of his best work. It also features him and the band doing something totally off the cuff. For one brief song they venture into the world of power pop music with the lighthearted "May The Gods Be With You". Even on this radio friendly tune, Ross cannot resist throwing in one terrific guitar solo. You can't take the metal out of a metalhead!
To make it short and simple, this is one very good rock and roll album. It is by no means a classic but definitely worth a listen. I am sure it will make repeated trips to your CD player.
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
11. Immortal Son