"Legacy of Blood, Fire & Steel" (AFM Records; 2023)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

If you're reading this website, you've probably heard of Ross the Boss. Ross Friedman is his actual name. If you haven't heard of him, you've certainly heard of the bands he's had success in: The Dictators and Manowar. Plus a guest list that's nothing short of stunning (i.e., Thunderboss, The Brain Surgeons, The Thunderbolts, Burning Starr, Death Dealer, Burning Witches and (of course) Nanowar of Steel, just to mention a few).

From 2008 to 2020, Ross released four albums under the Ross the Boss moniker and, as you may guess from the title, "Legacy of Blood, Fire & Steel" is a compilation album, a "greatest hits" collection, if you will, of songs from those four albums. The twelve songs here definitely play more in the Manowar category than the Dictators. They're classic heavy metal tunes with thundering bass, chunky guitars and vocals from (probably) three different singers: Marc Lopes, David Wayne and Mike Howe. (I haven't researched that but I did see their names listed in a bio).

Because this is a compilation, of course, every song is a winner here, if you like Ross the Boss's style. My favorite was probably the galloping "Kingdom Arise" but every track is a good one (why else would it be on a greatest hits collection?). The truth is that this album does what it sets out to do: It gives you a shining sampling of Ross the Boss music and makes you hungry to seek out more.

By the way, Ross the Boss isn't done with The Dictators, either. Check out their video, "Crazy Horses" by clicking here:

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"New Metal Leader" (Candlelight; 2008)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Former Manowar guitarist and co-founder Ross the Boss makes a bold claim by naming his new project's album "New Metal Leader." Going so far as to employ an actual Manowar cover band to be his "full-time" band, Ross The Boss painstakingly succeeds in recreating the vintage vibe of his glory days on this 11-track affair.

Heavily borrowing from early-period Manowar, tracks like "We Will Kill" and "I.F.H." are perfect knockoffs right down to the vocal caterwaul and extended guitar solos, giving the fans from the early days a constant chill deep inside.

This album is bound to please longtime fans, yet its exaggerated title and overall redundancy (especially for non-fans) yields an unremarkable listen for those who aren't down for a batch of dude in loincloth style metal.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2023 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.