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Running Wild With Other Influences - 90%

dfkman, August 11th, 2017

Another Blazon Stone album, another vocalist. This time Ced's found someone who really does sound like old Rock 'n' Rolf, accent included (I didn't even know it was "Black Dawn of the Crossbones" until I read the tracklist). While Erik is good, trying too hard to sound like Rolf actually hurts the album a little, considering how this album is a different beast from Return to Port Royal. Instead of just trying to replicate Running Wild's golden era ('88-'94), it takes that inspiration to different places musically. If Return to Port Royal was an '80s / '90s album with a shiny modern production coat of paint, War of the Roses is a modern album that looks back to those two decades and tries to do them better, and for the most part is successful.

The core is still old Running Wild, and this album has the riffs to go with it. While this album is much more power metal-y than its primary inspiration, it is still quick and has enjoyable solos from start to end. Ced has also done a pretty good job with the production, although I feel the drums should be louder, or at the very least more noticeable. Overall, the production is better than Return to Port Royal's. It's modern without being too plastic-y, if that makes sense.

What I found the most surprising, as the title of this review suggests, are the other influences present on this album, the most unexpected including Scanner ("Voici La Grande Peur") and Karma era Kamelot ("Black Dawn of the Crossbones"). The only complaint I have is how most songs seems to have two influences: Running Wild + Something Else, with the "Something Else" being different for pretty much every song. I want to see the concept behind "Black Dawn of the Crossbones" expanded upon, but instead it leaves as suddenly as it appeared. No Runelot for me, I guess (I'm so sorry). The only other detractor I can think of are some of the middle pace songs are kind of forgettable, and on the whole the second half is a little worse than the first half, but it's all still fantastic.

Blazon Stone really has become a force to be reckoned with and is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. They are a tribute band done right. Don't just remember the past, but also look to the present and future. War of the Roses does just that.


Born to Be Wild, Voici La Grande Peur, Black Dawn of the Crossbones