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Wishbone Ash - Blue Horizon

Wishbone Ash
Blue Horizon
by Matt Coe at 07 April 2014, 11:29 PM

Not many bands these days still crank out studio albums that had their start in 1969 like this UK act WISHBONE ASH. Those of you who love twin guitar harmonies that would set the Metal world by storm thanks to JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN and ACCEPT among others know the influence this British band had on those early scene makers. Although the prime years in their discography are from 1970-1976 (“Argus” the classic third album that made impressive strides in the Progressive Rock and Hard Rock community) the band continue to push forward, making a diverse collection of material that runs the gamut from bluesy Rock to southern, and occasional reminders of their progressive, Hard Rock 70’s era as well.

“Blue Horizon” is their 24th studio album as well as the third consecutive studio platter in this incarnation. Only Andy Powell remains from the original days, his voice comforting and airy as the strains of “Being One” and the ZZ TOP meets current NAZARETH oriented “Deep Blue” immediately make a positive impression, the grooves stripped down as the guitar work leads the way, steady and thoughtful. The harmonic elements may not necessarily be distortion charged, but I guarantee there’s nothing sweeter than the opening Celtic strains on “Tally Ho!”, a power ballad given a bluesy open-jam atmosphere that will keep crowds swaying when seeing the band live.

As bands mature, I think it is very natural for them to explore their roots – what inspired them, and see if there’s a way to create a meeting of the past to the present. The 7:45 title cut contains a lot of the story-telling qualities that made them so impressive in their early 70’s run, a lot of the vocal harmonies matching the open chords a la PINK FLOYD. By the time the closing Middle Ages/ folk oriented “All There Is to Say” concludes, I’m left pleased realizing that WISHBONE ASH may no longer be a pure hard rock or progressive band, but they still have plenty left to say in the creative tank, as long as you can handle it being much lighter and bluesy in terms of execution.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Take It Back
2. Deep Blues
3. Strange How Things Come Back Around
4. Being One
5. Way Down South
6. Tally Ho!
7. Mary Jane
8. Blue Horizon
9. All There Is To Say
Lineup:
Andy Powell – Vocals / Guitars
Jyrki ‘Muddy’ Manninen – Guitars
Bob Skeat – Bass
Joe Crabtree – Drums
Record Label: Intergroove
     


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