Here's another band making a comeback. Ring Of Fire, formed by vocalist Mark Boals after his first solo album of the same name, returns after a nearly 10 year absence with Battle of Leningrad. Boals also returns with original guitarist Tony MacAlpine and keyboard player Vitalij Kuprij, with guests Timo Tolkki and Jami Huovinen filling in on bass and drums, respectively.
As you might have guessed the recording is a concept album based upon the historic 900 day siege of Leningrad by the Nazis during World War II. Despite the dire living conditions and substantial loss of life, nearly one million starved to death, the Russians eventually beat back their oppressors.
Musically, Battle of Leningrad is exactly what you would expect from Ring Of Fire: melodic power metal driven by Boals's melodic vocals, MacAlpine's neo-classical guitar virtuosity, and Kuprij's colorful keyboard play. The music is often dramatic fitting the concept of the album. The opener Mother Russia has a feeling grandeur, presenting character of a proud people. The title track has a heavy, yet epic, feel as it speaks to the trauma of battle. Land of Frozen Tears, with Boals's passionate vocals, suggests the anguish of the suffering people. Also, at the start of the song, the lyrics, 'the snowflakes go silently by outside my window,' are given life by underlying acoustic guitar. Your mind can easily visualize the scene. That's some very good songwriting. Another song of this caliber, being dramatic and passionate, is Our World, capturing once more the anguish of a suffering people. But these are all examples of both the character and color of the whole of Battle of Leningrad, a rather exceptional and entertaining accomplishment by Ring Of Fire. Hopefully, we won't have to wait ten years for the next album. Quite recommended.
Battle of Leningrad marks a fine return for Ring OF Fire, a rather exceptional and entertaining accomplishment.
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