For their sophomore outing Ross The Boss brings a mighty dose of epic metal to the masses with just a few surprises thrown in. Fans of the first offering by these guys, last years New Metal Leaders are going to gobble this one up. People who are looking for Ross to revisit his past will also find a healthy heap of what made Manowar famous.
On the epic metal side, Ross The Boss gives you plenty of opportunities to get out the sword and shield or at least the battle helmet with such offerings as the soaring "Kingdom Arise", the raging title track "Hailstorm" and the thunderous "Crom" to name a few. They also take a trip down the Sunset Strip to give you a dose of glamish metal that is unexpected but by no means unappealing with the song "Burn Alive". In fact singer Patrick Fuchs sounds more at home here and his vocal style suits it very well.
Another surprise is the dramatic yet very old style heavy metal "Shining Path". This churning, chugging rocker is a smoldering bit of testosterone filled mayhem. Here you get a chance to reminisce with a style that is very familiar but with a new twist and of course the fiery guitar solos that will have you cranking that volume knob just a bit higher.
The piano and orchestral intro to the song "Among The Ruins" shows the weakness of Fuchs ability. Trying to be mellow he hits a couple notes that are well, flat as hell. This really boils down to two lines at the start but it really brings down an otherwise very good song. I think I would have left it off or at least made it just an instrumental beginning. Once you get past that Patrick gets much more into his comfort zone and it becomes a very strong bit of metal.
Maybe the one song that is the biggest shocker to me is the finale "Empire's Anthem". Ross and the band turn to a very progressive style that caught me by surprise to say the least. Reminding me of Judas Priest or maybe a touch of more modern Iron Maiden, Ross takes his version of epic to a new level! I certainly hope that this one is a glimpse of what is to come from these guys because as the album closer it surely makes me want more.
This album may not set the world on fire but it is a very good slice of heavy metal with one very talented guitarist strutting his stuff throughout (Just check out the instrumental "Great Gods Glorious). At times it may remind you of Manowar but it is pure Ross The Boss from start to finish. That name is becoming a trademark for high quality epic metal and they do not disappoint this time around.
2. Kingdom Arise
3. Dead Man's Curve
5. Burn Alive
7. Behold The Kingdom
8. Great Gods Glorious
9. Shining Path
10. Among The Ruins
11. Empire's Anthem