ROSS THE BOSS - By Blood Sworn
Release date April 20/18 (AFM)
The first three tracks on By Blood Sworn all refer to Ross The Boss' ex-Manowar affiliations. The title track twists the riff from Hail To England's 'Blood Of My Enemies' and 'Among The Bones' refers to Into Glory Ride's 'Gloves Of Metal'. Meanwhile, I'm sure that I've heard the main riff of 'This Is Vengeance' before from the Manowar discography. (I'll let the Manowarriors out there track that one down.) Thing is, it works - ears perk up and battle garb eagerly thrown on in support. Originality be damned.
Unfortunately, the remaining seven tracks minimize the Manowar influences, instead offering differing takes on the traditional heavy metal genre. There's the pedestrian, mid-paced 'Lilith' to bore you to sleep; while 'Faith Of The Fallen' had me giggling outright. The latter is a cheesy metal ballad with an opening, "Oh morning star, king of the slain, lord of lights, broken crown remains". This is the stuff that gives metal a bad name. Still, 'Devil's Day' proves to be an album highlight, a straight-ahead pounder that will get headbangers' hair flying.
Vocalist Tarek Mahary screams, croons and roars, proving to have a versatile set of pipes, which are more traditional than Manowar's Eric Adams. However, the hero of the day is unquestionably Ross The Boss himself, supplying some mighty tasty guitar soloing. Always fitting the music, he often rides in on his trusty steed impressively letting fly, single-handedly saving some tracks from the trash bin.
In conclusion, By Blood Sworn can best be described as inconsistent and unoriginal ... but also fun in doses, especially when listening to the uber-quality lead soloing.
Note: Includes three Manowar covers in case you hadn't already picked up on the connection: 'The Oath', 'Each Dawn I Die' and 'Hail And Kill'.