Ring Of Fire  
                                                                     Battle of Leningrad   Frontiers Records  

 

After a ten year absence Ring of Fire returns with a penetrating, soul kicking behemoth of an album.

Led by the multi-talented Mark Boals, the band has released possibly one of the best concept albums ever! Now most people are aware of the “Battle of Stalingrad” and all of its misery. 

 

A less known battle is the “Battle of Leningrad”.  Being a bit of a history buff myself, specifically regarding the Second World War, it’s a story I knew about but had never really researched it.  And nor had it seems Mark Boals until Vitalij Kuprij, the bands keyboard player and Ukrainian, told Mark the story, about the siege of the city of Leningrad. 

 

The battle of Leningrad was a 900 day siege by the Germans in World War Two, the horrendous living conditions led to over one million starving to death, in the hellish nightmare of one of the worst conflicts of the war.  Album opener 'Mother Russia' opens with militaristic drums and the national anthem of the great and proud country of Russia.  You can tell Boals has researched the subject of the battle and the history of this vast country, it’s a very dramatic and a heroic opener to what lies in store on this magnificent opus.  The guitar mastery will send shivers into your body I promise you that. 

 

''They're Calling Your Name' takes you into the misery inflicted on the populace, starving, crying and dying, some classic solos and drums to rock the Kremlin.  'Empire' opens in a dark and brooding manner and you can kind of feel the might and history of those times, it has a mesmerizing effect, as 'Empire' washes over you.  The Nazi killing machine was a mighty force that only succumbed once Stalin brought reinforcements from the east of Russia, and of course the fact Hitler had over stretched his troops in the whole of Europe.  

 

'Land of a Frozen Tears' is a moving piece with Boals really bringing the anguish of the cities inhabitants to the fore.  The opening lyric and beautiful acoustic guitars, not only take you there it gives me goose bumps every time I hear it.  It is a passionate song, and honestly, it’s possibly the most moving in-depth song I have ever heard regarding any war.  'Firewind' is my favorite track on here, it catches you and makes you visualize the battle as the Germans unleash all hell with assorted weapons such as the Flammenwerfer” a vicious flame thrower and the might of the Luftwaffe’s Stukas dropping bombs and annihilating the city.

 

'“Where Angels Play' has some soulful keyboards and I am halfway through this album, you have to take your hat off to Ring of Fire as this is such a well written and researched album.  The song bases around having wings and flying away from the detritus, pain and agony that’s going on in the city as the Nazis continue to pound and try to gain access to the ravaged place, of hunger and cold.  'Battle of Leningrad' as you would expect is a grand and telling song, it will leave you spellbound and amazed.  'No Way Out' opens with chimes and is a speedier number than the rest, I really love the drumming on this. 'Our World' has some beautiful keyboards and Boals kind of whispers the song as it opens up, then the guitars come in its another goosey bump number.  Simply put, it's moving and a classic song.  As Boals sings ... “Now everything's changed” ... so we come to the end of this masterpiece with 'Rain', the finale it hits home and yes you could of been there as Rig of Fire bring this bitter conflict to an end.

 

Ring of Fire's reformation is going to greeted and lauded by their fans and lovers of melodic Power Metal will be salivating. The bands line-up 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.

Seriously buy this album if you love your Metal / Rock, this has to be one of the best concept albums I have EVER heard.  The band promise to tour and will be playing a lot of these tracks and it's going to be something to be seen.

Review by: Seb Di Gatto 

 

Tracklisting:

1. Mother Russia
2. They're Calling Your Name
3. Empire
4. Land Of Frozen Tears
5. Firewind
6. Where Angels Play
7. Battle Of Leningrad
8. No Way Out
9. Our World
10. Rain   

 

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