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Wishbone Ash: Coat Of Arms
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Wishbone Ash: Coat Of Arms

Melodic Progressive Rock
4.5/5.0

Wishbone Ash is a band which requires no introduction. Words such as pioneers, mavericks, and legendary come to mind. Led at the start by guitarists Andy Powell and Ted Turner, many consider Wishbone Ash the progenitor of twin guitar rock. Their approach would influence countless bands, from rock to metal to country, over the next 50 years. In those same 50 years, Andy Powell has kept Wishbone Ash alive, despite numerous personnel changes. Now Wishbone Ash arrives with their 25th(!) studio album, Coat Of Arms.

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Wishbone Ash

Coat Of Arms is a delightful foray into Wishbone Ash's guitar-driven lighter melodic progressive rock with Powell's guitar work and smooth vocals at the forefront. Some readers, when thinking of twin guitar work, might think first of the screaming metal solos ala Judas Priest. But Powell is much more subtle and sublime, where every riff, chord, note is precisely chosen and expounded. His guitar skills maneuver easily among genres from rock to blues to jazz, and sometimes in a fusion. Yet, Powell is also a song craftsman, a songwriter who knows that his instrument is part of a whole and so adds to the continuity of the song. At this point, it's probably proper to pause, and say something about second guitarist Mark Abrahams. Needless to infer, Abrahams is likely an exceptional guitarist or he wouldn't be playing in Wishbone Ash. But I'm not sure if or in what songs, he gets to lead with his own guitar chops. I'm guessing he gets his due, but I'm not making an assumptions. Nevertheless, Abrahams puts the second guitar into the trademark Wishbone Ash twin guitar legacy.

As for the songs, across the album this is some rather mellow stuff: sublime and sophisticated melodic progressive rock. You'll hear more gentle and soothing music with We Stand As One, Coat Of Arms, Floreana and the synth symphonic Consider Me Now, all songs filled with spry guitar lines. With songs like Drive, Too Cool For AC, and the rambunctious Back In The Day, Wishbone Ash raises the riffs and bumps up the beat and groove. Later, with Personal Halloween, Powell and crew get especially creative with a funky blues groove. All said, Wishbone Ash's Coat Of Arms is another fine album of their trademark twin-guitar driven melodic progressive rock. Easily recommended.


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The Bottom Line

All said, Wishbone Ash's Coat Of Arms is another fine album of their trademark twin-guitar driven melodic progressive rock. Easily recommended.

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