Ross The Boss: Hailstorm

Ex-Manowar guitarist, still a king of metal!

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There are few rock‘n’roll tales as strange as that of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, the kid who fulfilled his ultimate fantasy when he graduated from singer in a Judas Priest tribute band to singer in Judas Priest.

But in 2008, Ross ‘The Boss’ Funicello, a founding member of Manowar, did something even more bizarre. He got a Manowar tribute band to join him!

Recruiting three German musicians who’d been moonlighting as covers act Men Of War (vocalist Patrick Fuchs, bassist Carsten Kettering and drummer Matthias Mayer), Funicello created what is essentially a second Manowar. With characteristic modesty, he named the project Ross The Boss and the debut album New Metal Leader.

Similarly, this second album bears a sticker proclaiming it ‘a masterpiece of true heavy metal’. And while it’s no match for Manowar’s early classics – certainly, Fuchs is no Eric Adams – Hailstorm has moments of pure gonzoid genius.

Burn Alive has a headbanging riff to rival Judas Priest’s Living After Midnight, Great Gods Glorious is a galloping instrumental reminiscent of peak-era MSG, and Empire’s Anthem is a successor to Manowar’s Battle Hymns.

Having put the ‘woargh!’ in Manowar, Ross is still The Boss.

Paul Elliott

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2005, Paul Elliott has worked for leading music titles since 1985, including Sounds, Kerrang!, MOJO and Q. He is the author of several books including the first biography of Guns N’ Roses and the autobiography of bodyguard-to-the-stars Danny Francis. He has written liner notes for classic album reissues by artists such as Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy and Kiss, and currently works as content editor for Total Guitar. He lives in Bath - of which David Coverdale recently said: “How very Roman of you!”