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A Very Solid Release. - 92%

Nightlock, April 14th, 2006

I’ve always seen this album (Blazon Stone) as Running Wild’s transaction album between two different eras. Death or Glory (featuring a slightly more commercial sound, and slightly older Running Wild elements that I think Majc Moti and Iain Finlay brought to the band) and Pile of Skulls (the vicious speed metal album). So hahaha, if you’ve by any chance heard both of those albums and like both I can safely say you’ll be sure to like the “in between” Blazon Stone. That features elements of both albums without sounding like a “copy” of either. Two other dramatic changes; Majk Moti (one of my all time favorite guitarists) to: Axle Morgan (another one of my all time favorite guitarists) and both have done their best work in Running Wild. The other being: Iain Finlay (a great drummer with a peculiar style) being replaced by A. C. (a more straightforward drummer). I’m not going to say these changes are “good” changes, but a necessary changes. “Necessary” because I think the album would have sounded different if Majk was playing as the second Guitarist and Iain on drums. So we’ll say these changes were good in a sense.

Now the songs *smiles*, the album starts off with Blazon Stone (the title track) one of the best Running Wild songs of all time. It comes in with this slow extremely melodic/atmospherical harmonized guitar melody, I tend to agree with people when it’s said that this is reminiscent of the atmosphere a cathedral generally has, it’s quite strange but yes that’s the atmosphere, very Doom-ish. After about a minute the song slowly progresses and picks up speed until it’s a blazing speed metal number, with catchy as hell riffs, solos and lyrics. As I’m writing this I’ve got the chorus stuck in my head:

"Stand tight we'll fight the fear and pain
United force
Blazon stone, power and hope to the slave
Blazon stone, suppression we send to it's grave
Blazon stone, we spit in the face of death
Blazon stone, a mascot to the tortured
Blazon stone"

Mare words can’t express how good this song is, it’s a “must hear”. Anyway the albums second song “Lonewolf” keeps the pace up. It’s more of a “Bad to the Bone” (RW song off their pervious album Death or Glory) type traditional metal rocker than the speed metal opener. It’s got some really catchy breaks and vocals lines; “A lonewolf on the prowl again, yeah”. It took me a while to like “Slavery” as I do now, but it’s a more melodic dual vocal affair. On to track four, “Fire & Ice”. I believe A.C wrote this one he does have a slightly different song writing style to Rolf (Running Wilds main song writer) it’s still a really good song and fits the album perfectly as the fourth track. That’s another thing about this album the track order is perfect. Onto “Little Big Horn” probably my second favorite song in the album. The atmosphere is a lot “happier” then the previous songs with a vibrant chorus and happy main riff more of a Power Metal song. “Over the Rainbow” is a little interlude/instrumental I see it as a brief break from the songs (if you even need a break) it also gives Jens Becker the chance to go crazy and show of his amazing bass skills. In which we've heard on such tracks as “Conquistadores” and “Highland Glory (The Eternal Fight)” on previous albums. A great little instrumental that truly does prove Jens Becker truly is the best bass player ever. After that finishes your thinking “how could this album get any better” then, After a brief intro of what sounds like someone chasing by a mysterious a horse rider “White Masque” kicks in. Another speed metal song with another catchy as hell chorus and more catchy riffs. This song probably has the coolest lyrics out of any song on the album. I love songs about secret societies and conspiracies etc. “Rolling Wheels” is a very obscure song, the lyrics are very “un-Running Wild-ish” they seem like a German attempt at making a “on the road” rock song I guess Jens doesn’t have the English song writing skills Rolf has. This is only talking about the lyrics though the song is really good, featuring lots of strange tempo changes and a powerful chorus. “Bloody Red Rose” is another great song, with yet again another powerful chorus and elements of “epic-ness”. “Straight To Hell” another Jens Becker “bad English Lyrics” song, this is probably my least favorite song on the album. But that’s only expected and it’s not a “bad” song it’s actually quite enjoyable the other songs are just so godly. I mean the album is bound to have one or two “not so good” songs. To the Next and last song of the album; “Heads or Tales”, Well if you like “Chains and Leather” (song from “Branded and Exiled” album) you're sure to get your kicks out of this little number. It has a very similar huge anthem rock chorus, overall a fun and fairly catchy song. Still lacking something that the rest of the album has, I can’t quite put my finger on it. You could say that this is the albums low point.

The 1999 remaster of the album contains two bonus tracks from the “Little Big Horn” EP “Billy the Kid” (a fast and energetic speed metal track that captures that atmosphere of the historical story perfectly) and the Thin Lizzy cover “Genocide” (an excellent adaptation of the Thin Lizzy classic and it fits Running Wild perfectly. Unlike their cover of the Beatles “Revelation” *shudders* but let us never speak of that again).

Overall this album is a “must have” in the Running Wild collection, I highly recommend it to any speed metal fan.