Ring Of Fire - Battle Of Leningrad
Frontiers Records
Power Metal
10 songs (53:00)
Release year: 2014
Ring Of Fire, Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Joel

Ring of Fire is a super group to some. Featuring Mark Boals (ex Yngwie Malmsteen, current Iron Mask) on vocals, the great Tony McAlpine on guitar, and Vitalij Kuprij (Artension) on keyboards. Mother Russia begins the album, telling a story that takes place near the end of WWII, with a heighten conflict between the German and Russian armies. Mother Russia is an ode to the steadfast values the country believed in, as they tried to stand their ground. This song is your typical neoclassical power metal performed perfectly by the musicians involved. They're Calling Your Name is next, and is another fast pace mix of neoclassical and power metal featuring a cool synth lead by Kuprij followed by McAlpine doing what he does best. Between the guitar and keyboard interplay a bit of prog can be heard as well on this song. Empire is a mixture of styles, from neoclassical to prog to progressive and even a mix of AOR. The mid-tempo Land of Frozen Tears, sounds a bit dated, but the good kind. Quality musicianship, and amazing solo from McAlpine add to a song, that easily could have been considered nothing more than filler. I am not saying this is ground breaking at all, but again there is right and wrong way of writing a song like this.

At just over seven minutes and forty seconds, Firewind is the longest song on the disc. It runs the gamut of all things heard prior to this song. The song could have easily been a good minute and a half shorter, and nothing would have been missed. Where Angels Play reminds me of Boals work on Yngwie Malmsteen's Trilogy disc. The biggest difference in McAlpine's signature playing, which features more than just sweep picks, arpeggio runs, and chromatic scales (lets not forget the Wah Pedal!) heard from Malmsteen's playing. Battle of Leningrad is a mid-tempo rocker, that could have used some change in tempo through its at almost six minute and fifteen second play run time. It briefly changes to only to piano mid way through the song, to return the same melody we heard earlier. No Way Out is another song off to the races, another "I am pretty sure I have heard this song before." Our World is definitely a stand out ballad, one that I can't remember hearing Boals sing like this. His voice paired with Kuprij's piano playing make this song what it is. Its a beautiful song, some may roll their eyes at that comment, but I call it like I hear it! Rain Closes out the disc, with another song that changes melodies, tempos, and Boals reaches to the highest of his range a little more than two and half minutes through.

This is definitely not breaking any new territory musically, but I don't think that is what the band had in mind when they sat down to write the disc. Some may call this dated, that is belongs in the 80s, some may find the production to be enough to make it contemporary. I feel the disc is exactly what you should expect from a Neoclassical Power Metal band, even one consisting of three veterans of the genre. Boals may not be my favorite singer Yngwie has ever had, but he is always consistent. His voice is one you will either love or hate. McAlpine's ability deserves to be mentioned next to all the greats of the Power, Progressive, and Shred genres. Vitali Kuprij does what he has always done, add his own signature style to the music. I do believe this disc is very good, while not the most original, fans of the genre should enjoy it.

Killing Songs :
They're Calling Your Name, Firewind, Our World and Rain
Joel quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Ring Of Fire that we have reviewed:
Ring Of Fire - Lapse of Reality reviewed by Keegan and quoted 95 / 100
Ring Of Fire - Dreamtower reviewed by Keegan and quoted 88 / 100
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