RING OF FIRE – Lapse Of Reality

RING OF FIRE - Lapse Of Reality


Frontiers Records
Release Date: September 20, 2004

Vocals: A-
Guitars: A
Bass: B+
Drums: B+
Keys: A-
Recording Quality: B+
Lyrics: B
Originality: B+
Overall Rating: A

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Ring Of Fire is somewhat of a supergroup. Their personnel list is composed of, and led by, Mark Boals (ex-Malmsteen vocalist), Tony MacAlpine (Grammy nominated, neo-classical guitar shredder), Virgil Donati (drums, Planet X), Philip Bynoe (bass, Steve Vai) and Steve Weingart (keyboards, Dave Weckl Band). With such an impressive resume and reputation, one can have nothing but high expectations when first spinning this new release. Thankfully, the band delivers with their own brand of Melodic, Symphonic, Neo-Classical Metal fueled by hook laden choruses.

The title track, “Lapse Of Reality,” kicks off the release in fine fashion. This track contains possibility the greatest hook laden chorus of 2004! Boals’ multi-tracked vocals and a bobbing guitar riff by MacAlpine fuel this almighty chorus. It’s also backed by a tremendous “dinosaur stomp” backbeat by Donati and Bynoe. All aligned, this makes for a very powerful chorus that will have you head banging in a matter of seconds. The rest of the track holds its own as well with a nice keyboard offering by Weingart. Rest assured, you’ll burn a laser-iffic hole in this track. Knowing the potential of this track, they included it twice by adding a longer version at the end of the release. For a taste of this chorus, visit the artists’ Web sites (see the links section at the end of this review).

Every track on this release has fine moments. The most memorable ones include “Change” with a nice arpeggio sounding guitar line, provided by MacAlpine, and another wonderful chorus provided by Boals. “You Were There” is a powerful ballad performed with excellent vocals, piano, and a tasteful MacAlpine solo. “Machine,” with a slightly techno intro, gallops into a chorus line backed by a down tuned sounding guitar riff provided by MacAlpine and Bynoe. “Don’t Know (What You’re Talking About)” features a neo-classical guitar line broken up by a haunting chorus that sounds like it’s being delivered by the listener’s conscience. “One Little Mystery” really shines due to its intricate guitar and chorus lines. The main chorus is delivered by Boals, with help from others, in an asynchronous style reminiscent of Queen. Then there’s “Faithfully,” which is probably the most Symphonic track on the release. It delivers an off-beat blend of Neo-Classical music, offering up doses of U.K. (the band) inspired Symphonic Rock, balanced on another hook ladened chorus.

The only complaint that can be registered for this release is that on some tracks (e.g., “That Kind Of Man,” and most agonizingly on “The Key”), Boals tries to hit some high notes that end up sounding very strained. While these attempts are noble, not including them wouldn’t have diminished the songs in any shape or form. The band should be applauded for making this release sound like a total band effort versus a “Mark Boals Project.” MacAlpine delivers to satisfy all neo-classical guitar freaks, but at the same time always shows great restraint by not over indulging in guitar solos to Malmsteen proportions. Weingart gets even exposure with keyboard lead-ins, fills, and an occasional keyboard solo. Donati delivers a solid, loose, at times jazzy, drum performance. Bynoe knows his role by providing a solid foundation without forcing the bass into a lead guitar role.

If you’re a fan of Melodic Neo-Classical Metal with memorable choruses, then you can’t go wrong with this release. Quite possibly one of the best releases of 2004, especially if you’re a Boals or MacAlpine fan!


Vocals: Mark Boals
Guitars: Tony MacAlpine
Rhythm Guitars: Steve Weingart
Bass: Philip Bynoe
Drums: Virgil Donati
Keys: Steve Weingart
Production: Mark Boals and Ring Of Fire


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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