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War Of The Roses
Released: 2016, Stormspell Records
Reviewer: Manos X
Blazon Stone is a peculiar case of a band. Hailing from Sweden they were created back in 2011 by mastermind and multi instrumetnalist Ced (aka Cederik Forsberg). In the beginning the were meant as a tribute band for German legends Running Wild, but wait there is a twist. Blazon Stone’s purpose wasn’t of doing covers for Running Wild’s songs but instead to capture the feeling and atmosphere they had in albums like BLAZON STONE, PORT ROYAL, BLACK HAND INN, DEATH OR GLORY, etc.
Pirate metal concept was adopted and two years after their creation they released their first album RETURN TO PORT ROYAL which was quite impressive and still visits my player regularly. It’s a rare occasion when bands manage not to ridicule themselves and create something really interesting despite the fact they’re filling someones else’s shoes. Next album NO SIGN OF GLORY was released in 2015 but I was unaware of it until a couple of days when getting my hands on their new and fresh offering WAR OF THE ROSES.
The recipe hasn’t changed much. But this time Blazon Stone look slightly forward and have adopted a sounds that’s very close to PILE OF SKULLS or MASQUERADE from…… well yes Running Wild (who else?) Erik Forsberg (probably Ced’s brother?) has been assigned the duties behind the mic and I must say that he is very successful. In fact after listening to this album again and again one can honestly say that Rock ‘n Rolf (mainman for Running Wild) could have never matched Erik’s range and ability. While Blazon Stone’s follow a specific blueprint as style at times Erik’s vocals have that Joe Lynn Turner aura that was totally unexpected but welcome at the same time.
Ced instrumental abilities in bass and guitar are undeniable. The man is clearly a top notch musician that can write great riffs and mean solos. I didn’t mention his drumming skills here ‘cause I have the feeling that what I’m hearing are programmed drums (due to their sound and dynamics) but none the less the result is fitting and adequate. Production is excellent but not ultra polished. Everything sounds like coming from an early ‘90s era of Running Wild. This means there is great balance and no instrument is overlapping with another while is placed in the center.
So everything is cool and WAR OF THE ROSES is an awesome album right? Well the answer is... maybe. I left the most important factor for last. Despite the great intentions and potential that Blazon Stone have unfortunately I was disappointed by the writing skills. This means that I had a hard time finding tunes that stand out. This of course isn’t a negative especially if the album retains a certain good level from start to finish. But to be fair (and I must be) nothing really stands out. While the sonic result brings back the golden days of the German pirates (early ‘80s to mid ‘90s) the songwriting leaves the bitter and unfulfilled taste that albums like “Rogues en Vogue”, “The Brotherhood” and “Victory” had left. Please keep in mind that this is a different band but surprisingly Blazon Stone felled on the same loop as Running Wild did back then. And this means that they became captured by the same style they so willing want to serve. If there’s a tune that I thing clearly stands then this is WAR OF THE ROSES without a doubt which introduced a little bit variety in the vocal lines.
Closing this review I have to say this. If you’re a die hard Running Wild fan (and probably saddened by their latest releases) or a die hard fan of the Teutonic heavy/power metal scene then you MUST grab this album. For the rest then you must definitely try before you buy.
1. Born to Be Wild
2. Mask of Gold
3. Stay in Hell
4. Voici la grande peur
6. Black Dawn of the Crossbones
7. Welcome to the Village
8. By Hook or by Crook
9. Soldier Blue
10. War of the Roses
Ced Bass, Guitars, Drums
Erik Forsberg Vocals
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