Just last week Biff Byford from Saxon released a solo album with a cover of a Wishbone Ash song on it, and this week Wishbone Ash themselves give us their latest release “Coat of Arms”. Wishbone Ash is a band that have influenced countless bands, such as Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden etc., and their 70’s albums are genius. The way they perfected the twin guitar leads was outstanding and the style and themes of war and medieval times on their classic album “Argus” was definitely an inspiration for the NWOBHM scene that was to appear in Britain some years later.
Today, only original guitar player and singer Andy Powell is left in the band. The concerts are still great, but how about the new album? To be honest not much of this sticks. There’s absolutely some good guitar parts on the album and I really enjoy the opening track “We Stand as One” and the title track. You can also hear traces of former glory in for example “Empty Man” and “Consider Me Now”. “It’s Only You I See” stands out as something close to when Wishbone Ash was at their best – great riffing, wonderful guitar parts with a slightly folkish touch to them and Powells characteristic vocals on top making it the pride of the album. Unfortunately the remaining parts blend together in a rather pale mishmash without definition.
The last track, “Personal Halloween”, is about as personal as a white shirt in the office and it could definitely have been left out of the album all together. No one needs one more boring mid-paced blues song by elderly white gentlemen to be honest…
Overall there’s good parts here, but it’s more a question of playlist songs than a worthwhile album. So, “It’s Only You I See” on repeat here for a while now – over and out!
Artist: Wishbone Ash
Title: Coat of Arms
Date of release: 2020-02-28
Playing time: 58 minutes
Stand out track(s): “It’s Only You I See”