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Ross the Boss - Born of Fire Award winner

Ross the Boss
Born of Fire
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 26 February 2020, 7:43 AM

Once more: Metalheads always think that Power Metal was born on Germany during the second half of the 80’s, crediting the creation of the genre to bands as HELLOWEEN, BLIND GUARDIAN and others. It’s a gross mistake, because this label was already in use during the first half of the 80’s to define US Metal bands, due the differences between the USA Metal School (based on hooking melodies and good technical level, and some influences from Hard Rock from the 70’s) and European Metal Schools. This writer was there, so can make such statement. And that’s the reason to call Ross Friedman (the legendary guitarist known as Ross The Boss) a pioneer of US Metal/Power Metal due his work with MANOWAR (speaking the truth: his writings and playing helped to define what the band’s style). Today, he works in many projects, but ROSS THE BOSS is the most known of all due its releases’ frequency, and the quartet is back with “Born of Fire”.

To MANOWAR’s fans, a warning: don’t look for something that could link both bands’ works on “Born of Fire” that isn’t that old and good Heavy/Power Metal played with that lovely and special melodic insight, but aggressive, heavy and abrasive in a way that is not so easy to see today. And besides the album’s songs are in an 80’s outfit, they sound alive, ferocious and modern, without that moldy feeling that some beginners love to emulate. This album states clearly: Ross isn’t doing music to earn some bucks (as many veterans insist to do), but to conquer more and more with his music. And one more thing: in the band, experienced known musicians, because Mike LePond (SYMPHONY X’s bassist), Marc Lopes (former vocalist of MELIAH RAGE), and Steve Bolognese (drummer of DEATH DEALER, and a long-time partner of Ross) are here seriously, not kidding or taking part on a side project.

The production was done in a way to be as heavy as it could be, shaping the songs to be clean and aggressive in the due ways, balancing all the aspects in a very good way, but evading some modern excesses that could take the sonority out of what the songs need. And the instrumental tunes chosen are great! “Born of Fire” is a lesson in Old School Metal for all those guys that insist to play in such way, but trying to sound crude and moldy as they were in the 80’s. No, the guys here are showing their Metal DNA on each song of the album, but the amazing energy that flows from “Glory to the Slain” (great chorus and charming guitar riffs) and from “I Am the Sword” (the solid and strong work from bass guitar and drums is excellent), the abrasive hooking melodies of “Fight the Fight” and “Shotgun Evolution”, the excellent vocals shown on the slow tempos of “Denied by the Cross”, the energy and hooking approach of “Maiden of Shadows” (the keyboards melodic touches are amazing), the accessible melodies and clear Hard Rock influences that arises from “Born of Fire”, and… Forget about the best songs and just hear the entire album, because it’s really great!

All hail ROSS THE BOSS, because if you’re a Metalhead in your heart, “Born of Fire” was done for you!

Musicianship: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Glory to the Slain
2. I Am the Sword
3. Fight the Fight
4. Shotgun Evolution
5. Denied by the Cross
6. Maiden of Shadows
7. Born of Fire
8. Demon Holiday
9. Godkiller
10. Waking the Moon
11. Undying
12. The Blackest Heart
Marc Lopes - Vocals, Keyboards
Ross the Boss - Guitars, Keyboards
Mike LePond - Bass
Steve Bolognese - Drums
Record Label: AFM Records


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