Flying solo under his most famous trademark name Ross the Boss (nee Friedman) releases his sophomore effort Hailstorm. For more current history, which has changed little in two years, you can read my review of 2008's New Metal Leader.
Essentially, Hailstorm continues from where the previous disc left off. Continuing commentaries across the web have been suggesting that both the former and present Boss albums are what more recent Manowar works should or could have been like. (Remembering, of course, that Kings of Metal (1988) was probably the last great Manowar album, in my humble opinion.) Now that that can of worms is opened, we'll leave it alone. Interlopers and other curmudgeons can leave comments below.
So regardless, Hailstorm is classic epic and melodic heavy power metal driven by Ross' fret pyrotechnics. The album is as good as its predecssor except for one single flaw, the very last song Empire's Anthem. No matter how many times I've listened to it, I still can't get my head around it. It's epic, nearly Maiden-like, in its sonic quality. However, it's quite confounding, and I can't say whether I like it or not. Ambivalence can be a bitch.
Nevertheless, the rest of Hailstorm is classic Ross the Boss melodic power metal. Traditional heavy metal can be found on Kingdom Arise or Deadman's Curve; more groove laden (like Priest) on Burn Alive and Shining Path (top pick); heavier and plodding, almost Sabbath like on Crom; or more both heavy and epic as on Behold the Kingdom. Ross the Boss and company are in great form.
But then there's that last song (and it's growing on me especially the vocal arrangements and Boss's guitar work). Otherwise, for those true believers in 'keeping it true' in heavy metal, then Ross the Boss' sophomore work Hailstorm will have them both banging their heads and doing hand stands. Very Recommended.