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'Battle Of Leningrad'
(Frontiers Records)
Release Date: 24th January 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

ring of fire

After a nine year break from their activities Ring Of Fire, known for their melodic Metal/neo-classical exploits are back!

It is a ten track affair with each song tugging on the reins of the epic and overblown with some top quality musicianship as always to back up the process. When I say overblown, the production has a lot to answer for as the sound isn't massive.

Initially I would say that is the only thing that is missing from making this album something special. The guitar riffs sound a little tinny and don't carry that big studio value that you hear sometimes on the big budget releases. This could be simply the result of the band having insufficient funds to inject in to that aspect of the recording process?

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Highlights that leap out to me include the majestic 'Land Of Frozen Tears', the truly epic 'Firewind' and 'They're Calling Your Name' complete with Yngwie J. Malmsteen rampant guitars. 'Land Of Frozen Tears' is sprinkled initially with fragility as a finger picking guitar introduces us to its inner beauty.

Carrying off lead vocal duties with his usual delivery and conviction is Mark Boals who is no stranger to this musical terrain. (Royal Hunt and Yngwie J Malmsteen). 'Firewind' on the other hand is the longest track amongst these.

Clocking in just over seven and a half minutes this song begins with some classically inspired piano which is joined by some melodic guitar, before then providing a punch! Mixing up the galloping paced sections with a multitude of shades really brings this song and the talent on display to light.

Boals clarifies that this album is indeed a concept album by sharing his thoughts.

"It is a true story of the strength and resilience of the Russian people throughout history and particularly in this instance of 900 days of being surrounded on all sides with no food and no hope of rescue, under siege of the Nazi army.

The magnificent city of Leningrad with millions of people trapped, found a way to withstand the daily attacks of rockets and bombs, the lack of food, water, and fuel for heat. Although more than a million starved to death, most survived, and the Nazis were never able to overtake the city completely.

They were finally forced to retreat by the Russian army. Not widely known by most, this was an amazing story and one of World War II's finest examples of heroism in the worst circumstances imaginable."

'Mother Russia' with its military toned drums and general mood sets up the album for those wanting to be a passenger on this true story about the siege of Leningrad during the second World War. Listen out for the lonely sole guitar bit during the instrumental just over halfway through; sublime.

'Empire' has no affiliation with the Queensrÿche song except they share the same song title while 'Our World' is a power ballad which ticks all of the boxes.

Technically this album is right up there with great musicianship on show. The song arrangements are all excellent and mix things up to a satisfying balance. 'Rain' which finishes off the album wasn't as strong as the other material and it's purely subjective, but I felt the title track let things down a little.

If you wish to submerge your ears in a classically-influenced Melodic Metal album to kick off 2014, then you could do a lot worse than give this a try. It's not going to be hailed as a classic but will be appreciated for showcasing some major talent within this field of Rock music.

For fans of Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Royal Hunt amongst the plethora of artists and bands that play what critics like to call Neo-Classical.

Mother Russia
They're Calling Your Name
Land Of Frozen Tears
Where Angels Play
Battle Of Leningrad
No Way Out
Our World

Mark Boals – vocals
Tony MacAlpine – guitars
Vitalij Kuprij – keyboards
Timo Tolkki – bass
Jami Huovinen- drums

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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