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HARDWARES

RING OF FIRE

Battle Of Leningrad

(Frontiers Records)

Reviewed by : Kelley Simms
Rating : 8.5

Battle of Leningrad — a concept album based on the siege of Leningrad during WWII — is the fourth full-length release from progressive power metal band RING OF FIRE. It marks the band’s return following a nine-year hiatus. The impressive lineup consists of vocalist Mark Boals (ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, ROYAL HUNT), guitarist Tony MacAlpine (STEVE VAI ), keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij (TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA), bassist Timo Tolkki and drummer Jami Huovinen. Ring Of Fire combine modern progressive metal similar to bands such as DREAM THEATER, AYREON and SYMPHONY X with classic ’70s rock with a neoclassical flair in the vein of DIO, RAINBOW, SABBATH and Boals’ former employer, Malmsteen. The 10 tracks are anchored by an explosive rhythm section complete with driving double bass rudiments, cascading keyboard segments, lush vocal harmonies and neoclassical guitar sweeps. Opener ‘Mother Russia’ sets the tone splendidly, sounding like something straight off of Malmsteen’s 1986’s Trilogy album. Throughout the entire disc, McAlpine and Kuprij are consistently fused as one, just as the bass and drums are married to each other in one glorious cadence of syncopated rhythms. Battle of Leningrad is loaded with so many diverse arrangements with a pleasing familiarity, making it a “must listen” for old school rock/metal fans alike.



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