If you know who Ross The Boss is, it’s fair to say you know who Manowar are. While the latter have gone to oil themselves up more than an unwashed chip fryer and slam spoken word verse in place of actual songs, Ross has commited himself to making ‘proper’ albums. You know, ones with songs on them.
Hailstorm itself is not without a dash of the old Manowar chest-beating, but the meat of it is the classic metal sound of the 80s given slick modern production with a sprinkle of rock n’ roll. Burn Alive is an irritatingly upbeat affair with a dirty rock swagger and an infuriatingly catchy chorus. The title track itself is an extremely aggressive fare of rasped chorus vocals and aggressive riffage reminiscent of Stormwarrior.
As expected, the lyrical content has a lot do with kingdoms and warriors and whatever, melding nicely with some suitably epic and pompous guitar work, and while not breaking any newground or progressive elements to an already established sound, creates an almost youthful energy that bands this far into their career can often lack.
Despite the genre in which RtB resides is one that isn’t renowned for it’s originality, Hailstorm delivers a strong mix of hooky guitar riffs and memorable vocal lines. What isn’t suprising is that the ballad is beyond hilarious, channelling every ounce of his previous band to an almost embarrassing degree. Manowar fans will probably buy it, but those needing a decent guitar album wouldn’t do badly here either.