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Wishbone Ash - Power Of Eternity CD (album) cover

POWER OF ETERNITY

Wishbone Ash

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5 stars Power of Eternity is the type of album that either grabs you straight away or will grow on you after about three listens. You will quickly develop favourites within the albums and favourite passages within the songs. It features Andy Powell's arguably best vocal work, his voice is crisp, clear and pleasant and melds into the music seamlessly whereas with some other Wishbone Ash works the vocals have sometimes been a bit grating. As always the twin lead guitars are back and better than ever, with Muddy Manninen doing the guitar work with Powell laying down brilliant well constructed melodies.

The first three tracks are lyrically heavy but include a lot of solos and lovely melodies. The Power and In Crisis are especially catchy and will be the first two songs that will keep brining you back to the album. Then when you reach the fourth song in the album, Argus fans will certainly like the harmonies on Dancing with the Shadows which are very reminiscent of songs like Time Was or The King Will Come while still being very fresh and new. Happiness continues in the say way with a guitar groove that will bring you back nearly 40 years.

The twin guitar harmonies have always been the highlight of Wishbone Ash albums and Muddy Manninen has done an excellent job to complement Andy Powell's playing on a very much more intimate level than on Clan Destiny and it's very easy to spot that the flow is a lot easier and the two styles work together a lot better. Nowhere is this more evident than the true masterpiece that is Northern Lights, it's a 3 minute instrumental that is arguably the most beautiful piece that Wishbone Ash have ever recorded. The haunting guitars bring you to a serene and sad landscape that truly displays what this new, brilliant incantation of the band are capable of.

The latter part of the album features more softer ballads but are interlocked with lush guitar melodies and catchy lyrics. The energetic and extremely capable bass and drum riffs from Bob Skeat and Joe Crabtree really stand out on a few tracks in the latter part of the album and you're left with the feeling that you're listening to a complete and experienced band, not a collection of artists acting as session musicians as has been the curse of some Wishbone Ash albums. The album ends on a strong note with Hope Springs Eternal, which has a lush rhythm guitar section bringing it in, and then escalating with arguably the best drum work on the album.

With the Power of Eternity, Wishbone Ash hits a harsh blow to any critics of the bands newest line up, it is the first album to feature Joseph Crabtree on drums but he already fits in so well with the rest of the band, most probably due to extensive touring he has done with the band since joining. The twin guitar melodies created by Powell and Manninen are some of the best I've ever heard from Wishbone Ash, and it's done even better live on both old and new songs. And as always, since joining the band Bob Skeat puts down an excellent rhythm throughout the whole album.

This is certainly one of the best albums Wishbone Ash have ever released, well worth a buy and the five stars I'm giving it, for me it has edged out Ulver for Album of the Year.

Report this review (#154114)
Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars I've been a fan of Wishbone Ash since the early 70s, especially Ash Mk I. Ash Mk II also put out some good work, but subsequent line-ups without Martin Turner left a lot to be desired. Turner's role as songwriter, lead singer, distinctive bass player and producer played a big part in the Wishbone Ash sound. The Ash Mk I reunion in the late 80s produced some interesting albums, but the mid-80s albums without Turner did not really have the Ash sound, leaning towards southern US boogie rock. 1996's Illuminations is probably the best of the Wishbone Ash albums made without Martin Turner. Subsequent albums like Power of Eternity do not have the classic Ash sound. I might give this album a higher rating if it were not billed as Wishbone Ash. For those who want to hear the classic Wishbone Ash sound, check out recent work by Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash.
Report this review (#169868)
Posted Sunday, May 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Driving into Delaware? Take the I 95 over the memorial bridge

Just a year after "Clan destiny", Andy Powell's Wishbone Ash returned with "Power of eternity". While the front line was unchanged, in the powerhouse department long serving drummer Ray Weston had left the band, to be replaced by Joseph Crabtree who has played with Pendragon among others. This line-up remains intact at time of writing, this being the band's latest release.

As with "Clan destiny", the album opens with a mid-paced, rather undistinguished rock song. While the lead guitars on which the song is based have a familiar feel, the vocals of Muddy Manninen remain unfamiliar in a Wishbone Ash context. There's no doubting his vocal talents but his rich, bluesy voice is for me at odds with the band's trademark sound. The most frustrating part of the track though is that it fades out just as a meaty guitar solo is getting going. "Driving a Wedge" is a very ordinary blues rock number which indicates a worrying tendency within the band to settle for the average.

Thankfully "In Crisis" lifts things a bit, although the band's desire to push their US credentials with references to "Driving into Delaware" and various freeway junctions (sic) is rather laboured. At around 6˝ minutes, this up-tempo track is allowed to develop more fully than its peers. "Dancing with the Shadows" is a slower guitar rock ballad with multi tracked and harmonised vocals by Andy Powell. Here, bluesy lead guitar mixes well with a harder more conventional rock guitar sound on the solos. Together, these two longer tracks represent the best part of the album.

"Happiness" has a real pop feel, Manninen providing the vocals on this jaunty, inoffensive number. "Northern Lights" is not the Renaissance song of the same name, but a band composition. Nevertheless, the track is a beautifully relaxed, if all too brief, guitar instrumental. Things remain laid back for "Your Indulgence", a folk tinged song with a pleasant melody. "Growing Up" returns us to a more standard pace, but the song lacks direction or inspiration.

Surprisingly, "Disappearing" slows things down again for a smoky, soft blues. The laid back nature of the song is quite at odds with the general urgency of a Wishbone Ash album, but the track makes for a fine diversion from the norm. The album closes with "Hope Springs Eternal", a slightly Celtic sounding folk rock anthem of the "The King will come" type.

In all, a more diverse album than usual for Wishbone Ash with some real highs and lows. Overall, this is a largely enjoyable but hardly iconic Wishbone Ash album.

Report this review (#291374)
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Just a bit better than Clan Destiny, but they have not found their way back to greatness yet.

Let's see what they did, track-by-track:

The Power: Very good song, with nice melodies both vocally and musically. It's also a multilayered song, with clap hands, back vocals, additional percussion etc. Nice!

Driving A Wedge: Jazz-funk essence in a pretty good song that grooves very well. Nice, again!

In Crisis: Strange song, sounds feminine for some reason, in a way that I would expect it to be a song by a female artist. Although the guitar solo is great and the music not bad, those unusual vocal lines estrange me... It's also too long, 6:35 without particular reason in my opinion.

Dancing With The Shadows: Sensual blues rhythm, with appropriate lyrics too. The most sensual song ever by WA, yet something different by this chameleon of rock music. Since I enjoy songs like this very much, I like it!

Happiness; Pretty simple soft rocker, nothing too special. At the end if fades out to an acoustic guitar part, maybe to connect better with the next one.

Northern Lights: Bittersweet instrumental that could be the soundtrack of a love scene in a movie. For some reason I can't take it seriously, I feel like I wanna dance with an imaginary woman in a parody fashion. :-)

Your Indulgence: Soft love ballad, with sensitive lyrics and mostly acoustic music. It's OK, but others have done it better a LOT of times.

Growing Up: They sound like mediocre U2 in this one, radio-friendly but not above average. The highlight is once again the guitar solo.

Disappearing: Oh, now they play lounge music? This one's music is by Andy Powell's son Aynsley, and it's not that great, but as a different sound it's definitely interesting.

Hope Springs Eternal: Reminds me of a famous U2 song that I can't recall the title, since I'm not a fan. Good song, but... I'm not a fan.

RATING: After the first four songs, with three of them being good enough, I hoped for a better album... But afterwards, every other song sounds average. In the all-time WA ranking, I'll put it above Clan Destiny, and lower than New England. 2,5 stars.

Report this review (#1632475)
Posted Saturday, October 15, 2016 | Review Permalink

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