Ross The Boss – Born Of Fire

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Ross the Boss return in heavy metal action in 2008 with the ambitious New Metal Leader album. Unfortunately this work caved under the weight of the inescapable comparisons against the past of this legendary New York based musician. A very unjust thing if you ask me since there is no comparison to be made between this album and the unreachable peaks that Manowar conquered back in those golden years. Whoever attempts such comparisons is definitely ignorant concerning the vast gap between the things measured. Hailstorm followed in 2010 and was received in a similar way, forcing Ross to put his band on hold for a while. His involvement with the Death Dealer project seemed to do him good since he became part of the two fine power metal albums that the band produced and for the first time his work stayed away from any unnecessary Manowar comparisons. The reboot of his personal band occurred soon afterwards and with the help of a completely new line-up, he released By Blood Sworn in 2018. A work that revealed a more aggressive power metal side of his. Born of Fire continues in the same vein, with a style much more closer to Judas Priest than Manowar and a contemporary approach. Singer Marc Lopes, a veteran of the Massachusetts metal scene, is definitely at the epicenter. Lopes became a member of the band in 2016 and quickly rose to the challenge by delivering some noteworthy renditions of various Manowar classics on stage. On the album though he chooses not to approach the songs with a similar way but instead leaves his own mark, which is totally respectable and appropriate. His style is influenced by the likes of Rob Halford and Jon Oliva but in places he tends to exaggerate and becomes more aggressive than needed. I think that in some occasions he should have sacrificed his rough approach for a more melodic one. He is undoubtedly a powerful and diverse vocalist and it would be more suitable if he balanced his performance.

As far as the compositions go, it is more than obvious that Ross the Boss did not try to write an epic metal album, let alone an album based on Manowar routines. He composed much closer to the Death Dealer style but didn’t surpass any of the two albums of this parallel endeavor of his. The majority of the songs are in a “in your face” mentality and similar in style. The presence of some mid-tempo or more diverse songs would have definitely elevated the album, leaving room for Lopes to explore his diverse pallet and showcase all aspects of his talent. And Maiden of Shadows is the finest example of that argument, a song different than the rest which rises as the best tune of the album. Honorary mention goes to the Bolognese – LePond duo which delivered a crushing job on the rhythm section department.