Coat of Arms -Gatefold- [Analog]
Double vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release. Coat of arms sounds stylistically diverse and technically accomplished, yet the new album is typical of wishbone ash's traditional strengths - a balancing act that is a challenge to powell every time. Wishbone Ash celebrates their 50th anniversary this year. The band released legendary albums like Argus, There's The Rub and Live Dates. The band, still led by original member Andy Powell, was a huge influence for Iron Maiden's bass player Steve Harris. This album is back to the roots and the first one since 2014.
opening track 'We Stand As One' with lyrics that could have been penned by a 12 year old and a whiny guitar sound just irritates and then halfway thru changes tack,it could be be two unfinished tracks grafted together,a real poor choice to open the album
Thankfully the title track is excellent and reminds you of whats good about the band but 'Empty Man' and 'Floreana' drag us back down,the latter a twee syrupy ballad and the former just average,the only saving grace in each track the melodic lead guitar.
Finally at track 5 'Drive' we get a bit of a groove excellent track and its followed by the2nd longest track on the disc 'Its only You I See' which has some fantastic guitar playing although you do think its going take off towards the end but really peters out.
The rest of the album plays out in the same style average tunes with excellent guitar solo's only 'Deja Vue' standing out
Its a hard disc to review..is it laid back or just boring,is it mellow or plain insipid? if you love it great we all love different things but overall its a disappointment (for me),hopefully it might grow on me but i wont hold my breathe..i was expecting more,the tracks may sound better live.
Other talking point would be the line up has now changed with Mark Abrahams replacing Muddy Manninen on lead guitar.