While Blazon Stone’s sixth full-length continues down their established path of Running Wild emulation, it’s also the first they’ve released as a full-fledged band. In contrast to past albums that had bandleader Cederick Forsberg recording most of the instruments himself with whoever was available to sing at a given time, Damnation (Stormspell Records) sees him just sticking to the guitars this time around. A completely new lineup has been assembled that includes a new singer, a new drummer, and even Crystal Viper bandmate Marta Gabriel on bass duties.
For a band whose schtick has been carrying the torch for old school Heavy Metal, it’s interesting how Crystal Viper’s eighth album feels like a trip to their own early roots. The band didn’t venture too far from that core sound over the years, but The Cult (Listenable Records) comes with the “Running Wild as fronted by Doro Pesch” spirit that defined early staples like The Curse of Crystal Viper or Metal Nation. I like to think that recruiting Ced Forsberg of Rocka Rollas/Blazon Stone fame for drum duties was the spark for this shift in style.
If ‘Riding The Storm’ from Death or Glory, the album that closed the first chapter of Running Wild’s career as well as being the chronological end of the first batch of Noise Records/BMG’s reissues, saw the band absolutely perfect their main songwriting style, sixth album Blazon Stone saw them kick off a run of unprecedented consistency and quality. By now armed with a recognisable, cohesive and distinct sound, for the next four albums, Rock n’ Rolf dragged Running Wild to a level of Heavy Metal excellence that, though predictable stylistically, was welcomed with open arms, raised horns and strained voices. During this period, Running Wild became masters at their craft, even if they had not yet perfected the art of the photo shoot (seriously… the Labyrinth style costumes and volumized bouffants have not aged well…)Continue reading