Ross The Boss - New Metal Leader Review
by Matt Hensch
Looking back on Manowar's biography, it seems Ross Friedman (frequently dubbed "The Boss") was the only member that departed and actually contributed concrete substance to the band other than metal clichιs and homoerotic man-tits before he turned in his wheel of cheese at the crack of 1988. He ("The Boss") formed and joined old and new projects alike, with his kinda-solo project, Ross the Boss, being on the high-end of his post-Manoboob career. I guess "New Metal Leader" is a bit nostalgic in a lot of ways despite the newborn-status of this faction, because you can call this album "Nu Metal Leader" if it isn't the most metallic thing Ross has done in years. All in all, "New Metal Leader" accurately provides a handful of classic heavy/power metal tunes just as you'd expect, minus the man-tits, thankfully.
Think of this project as a Ripper-movement in reverse: four guys from a Manowar tribute band jammed with Ross, and then a child was born with sword in hand and fifteen-inch biceps. I guess this return (I can call it that, right?) to metal for Friedman is about as good as it'll ever get based on his various abilities: his riffs are an excellent concoction of speed and heaviness with enough fast and mid-paced material to please any metalhead, the songs are masterfully written, and his solos are absolutely blazing and fun. The group's identity is what you'd expect: slaying heavy/power metal. Obviously, the record has an overt Manowar vibe to it, but also a smudge of hard rock influence with all that meaty heaviness; it's quite an interesting mixture, albeit a great one.
I also have to say Patrick Fuchs is one of the most surprising singers in metal, although you've probably never heard of him unless you already jumped the gun and bought yourself a copy of "New Metal Leader." You could say his performance is fantastic, but it's the originality in his voice that makes him a great fit for Ross' style. His mega-high falsetto, however, kind of derails his usual glory because he sounds like a soon-to-be-adolescent getting kicked in the nuts, but it isn't anything to worry about overall; he's a great vocalist at day's end. Everything else? Well, it's just good heavy metal. I get a tingling sense that a lot of this album is just straight-up fun without a single thing to prove or redefine. Metallica put it best: nothing else matters.
My choice cuts are definitely "Death & Glory" and "Matador," with the former representing power metal at its finest and the later giving a menacing edge to mid-paced catchiness; overall, two fantastic pieces that deserve a solid mention. "New Metal Leader," though, is a clear rival that easily matches, if not surpasses, the current beef you'd expect to taste after Friedman put in his resignation notice with Manowar. That's pretty damn impressive for a tribute band that luckily caught some lightning. Overall, this is far from special or mandatory, but it certainly deserves a shout-out for being consistent, fun, catchy, and metallic to the bone.
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