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NEW ALBUM: Wishbone Ash - Coat of Arms
WISHBONE ASH ~ Coat of Arms
[Image: 220px-Wishbone_Ash_-_Coat_of_Arms.png]

Huh. This is solid straightforward rock – no proggy pretensions – or not many, and not too flashy either despite some stellar guitar work. A 50th Anniversary release but hardly faithful to the original band – too many lineup changes and only Andy Powell remaining as an on original member. There is nothing wrong with the hooks, the writing or the execution and it's an enjoyable listen if you like rock without frills. I’m no expert on heraldry, however, the coat of arms on the cover seems to speak for itself – a literal wishbone rising from the ashes complete  with accompanying phoenixes, a knight’s helmet and sword, reminiscent of their album Argus, twin guitars for which the band was previously known and lauded and which are back on this one, a mermaid with lyre – hmmm – “Lorelei” I guess, the fist which usually denotes power or a fight, and a globe which I take to mean the universal appeal of music. Oh ok – found the designer’s website and there is an explanation -

The back of the coat of arms: two Phoenixes and “wishbone ash” – most important and prominent symbols in this rock band mythology.
The 1st quarter: two crossed guitars. And these are the ones still used by them, lead guitars: 1967 Burgundy Gibson Flying V and gold Gibson Les Paul guitar
The 2nd quarter: Lorelei as in the German folktale or Rhine Maiden as in the subject of one of their songs ( in other words a siren)
The 3rd quarter: a globe as a symbol of internationality, globality and universality ot their songs
The 4th quarter: a fist as a symbol of revolution and fight against the oppression
Above all, the helmet: this is the front version of the helmet from their other CD cover “Argus” from 1972, where you can see a French inquisition solider from a move “The Devils” (1971) directed by Ken Russell.
In addition, In the middle of the shield is a sword. This is a direct reference to their song about peace: Throw Down the Sword however. this is not a specific model of the sword"

Altogether a pleasant while not earthshattering listen, I thought. Nothing wrong technically speaking, just erring on a bit too noodly here and there, and somewhat lacking in luminosity. That said – they don’t sound phony, make relevant socio-political commentary, and are still light years ahead, musically speaking, of some of the new stuff I try out now and then. It probably wouldn’t hurt to listen again.
Personnel Lineup:
Andy Powell – Vocals/Guitars
Bob Skeat – Bass
Joe Crabtree – Drums
Mark Abrahams – Guitars

I liked the ballads “FLoreana” - and “Déjà vu” -, and the Spanish tinged sounds in the second half of “Empty Man” –

The decidedly anthemic opener ... 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson

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